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3 Big Reasons Not to Feel [Too] Guilty For Not Going Mobile [Yet]

Time For A Change

We have to admit it – this blog sometimes gets a little, shall we say, impatient, because many market researchers seem to be tiptoeing instead of sprinting into the smartphone era.

We’ve been the leading pioneer and evangelist for all-mobile research since 2011, and we have to confess that we thought the whole MR world would have converted by now from online to mobile surveys.

But recent reports from the front lines in other industries remind us that it’s never easy for industries to change course. In each case, an industry not only has all the evidence it needs, but has in fact  accepted the reality that smartphones’ rapid, revolutionary and by all indications lasting ascendancy has brought its business to a tipping point. But human nature makes it hard to make a big change, even when our heads tell us we must – and each of these industries has been slow to act on what it knows.

Now it’s dawning on all business sectors that the time for deliberating over how to confront the mobile age is running out. Better adopt a good mobile plan and act, because the world is moving too fast for laggards to catch up.

With that in mind, here are current snapshots of three hugely important, bedrock industries that face the same imperative that confronts market research: the need to transform in order to succeed the smartphone era.

Legacy News Media

Publishers such as the New York Times and Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, have known for a decade or more that print subscriptions and advertising were trending down, with no reason to expect a reversal. “Digital first” became a watchword – but only now are they acting upon that realization with the utmost urgency. Tribune recently changed its name to tronc, which stands for “Tribune online content” – signaling that it’s now dead serious about putting the digital horse before the print cart. The New York Times is going through a major restructuring, including significant staff cuts, as it pushes hard to “build a more digitally focused newsroom and to reach [a] stated goal of doubling digital revenue by the year 2020,” as company leaders put it to the staff in a memo. For “digital,” use “mobile,” because that’s where most digital news traffic comes from.

Banking

Business Insider reports on findings from its recent survey of Millennials about their banking preferences. The findings spell trouble for that cornerstone of American commerce and culture, the bank branch, because Millennials hold the future of banking in their hands – literally. The study of 1,500 Millennials who have bank accounts found that, for them, “the shift toward mobile banking apps is particularly pronounced…they are walking into their banks’ traditional bricks-and-mortar branches less than ever before.”

The report, titled “The Digital Disruption of Retail Banking,” predicts that bank branches will become obsolete and that “banks that don’t act fast are going to lose relationships with customers” as they turn to outside digital banking services.

“The smartphone will become the foundational banking channel. As the primary computing device, the smartphone has the potential to know much more about banks’ customers….The smartphone goes everywhere the user goes, has the ability to collect user data, and is already used for making purchases. Therefore, the banks that will endure will be those that offer banking services optimized for smartphones.”

Thanks, BI, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Marketing

MediaPost’s MobileInsider blog cites a study by Adobe showing that 28% of e-commerce revenues this year come from mobile transactions – a near-doubling in just two years. Despite this obvious accretion of a mobile snowball into a mobile avalanche, MediaPost’s Gavin O’Malley reports, “just one in five companies around the globe have a defined mobile strategy that goes back at least 12 months….That’s despite the fact that 63% of brands believe the quality of their mobile experience is more important than that on desktop….[and] despite the fact that the number of brands that see themselves as `mobile first’ has increased 200% since 2014!”

What’s happening with marketing sounds a lot like what’s happening with its crucial partner, market research.

Market Research

To repeat: Yes, we do get impatient at times (well, a lot, actually) that the inevitable transition from increasingly outdated and ineffective online surveys to all-mobile research isn’t moving as quickly as we’d expected when we began pioneering all-mobile in 2011. But we don’t want late adopters of mobile research to feel bad, because as these examples from news media, banking and marketing show, you are hardly alone. But, as these other industries are realizing, the deadline for action is coming on fast. The consequences of not acting are severe, but the opportunities for those who can and do act are substantial.

We’ll give the last word on this to the late, great David Bowie. Click and enjoy one of his signature songs, Changes.”