Top down or bottom up? Frankly, this question isn’t asked routinely enough during the strategic planning phase of global marketing initiatives. Marketers want to drive the optimal user experience for their customers, but also balance that optimization with an efficient approach to strategy and design.
While recently attending a CMO and Mobile Marketing Exchange, an executive from Nestle Nutrition presented a well-thought-out “top down” approach: define the utility, user experience, and branding with a global template, then engage local subsidiary marketing teams to contextualize the mobile experience for their specific customers. Whether a global corporate, brand, or product site, this is often the ‘best practice’ employed. The goal is to maintain user experience and brand consistency, while amortizing the investment in that design.
However, when it comes to mobile marketing, top down can lead to a ‘flop down’! There is a tremendous variance in how consumers utilize mobile platforms within the context of their lives. In the U.S., it’s been fairly well documented that people are becoming ‘digital omnivores,’ moving across phone, desktop, and tablet for different reasons at different times of the day. Anyone who has traveled abroad, especially in APAC countries, understands that the digital omnivore moniker doesn’t apply broadly. In fact, a recent study by the Pew Research Center found that in many countries, traditional mobile phones – not smartphones – remain the primary digital device. Even within countries, the variance of mobile usage between target groups can be significant.
Based on this research, global marketers would be well served to think counter-intuitively, and consider leveraging a “bottoms up” approach to mobile marketing strategy and design that takes into account the variations and nuances of their various mobile target markets. Given the fact that the majority of non-native apps have a shelf life of less than 30 days, designing a ‘one-size-fits-all-markets’ mobile initiative seems penny-wise and pound foolish. So, cheers and bottoms up!
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