Mobile strategy is one of the biggest priority discussions in company boardrooms all across the country. As we continue to evaluate the seismic shift in the world around us, the “mobile mind shift” is clearly occurring and the radio industry is without a doubt heavily involved.
Ted Schadler and his associates Josh Bernoff and Julie Ask from Forrester Research have written a must-read book called The Mobile Mind Shift which lays out case studies and strategies from all types of industries so you can capture your audience in their “mobile moments.”
I recently spoke with Ted Schadler.
RI: What’s your official title with Forrester? I know you’re a long-standing researcher there?
Schadler: Yes. I am a vice president and principal analyst. At Forrester that means that I really dive into specific areas of how technology changes the world. I serve clients with my research and do all kinds of fun things relating to a specific area. In this case, it is mobile. I have been at Forrester for 17 years now — a long time.
RI: A little bit of a rock and roll background before that?
Schadler: I have a speckled history. I did a lot of software development. Before that, I dropped out of graduate school and played rock and roll for about five years. I love radio because back in those days, that is all there was, radio to get your message out. This was back in the 80s. It was a great time. Five years, full time. That’s all we did was play rock and roll, down in Baltimore, Maryland, a band called Crash Davenport.
RI: I think The Mobile Mind Shift is a tremendous book and that you and your co-authors, Josh Brenhoff and Julie Ask, have been very generous in terms of what you’ve laid out regarding the Forrester thought process. I think it applies to any industry, particularly radio, which we will get into. But, as a setting, what is the “mobile mind shift”?
Schadler: It is important here to see beyond the experience you have in this mobile moment in time, to go back in time in history a little bit, and do a little bit of the history, because if you go back to when the Internet really kicked in, in the late 90s, it took a while for the impact to really be felt in the world. It happened, actually, to consumers first, with Netscape and Amazon. Similarly with mobile, we had mobile devices forever. But, in 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone, it was really a moment in time when things changed, I think, forever. All of a sudden, you had the Internet in your pocket. You had a computer in your pocket. Software developers, remember that is my background as well, understood that they could build unique, interesting applications on these devices. They started doing it by jail-breaking them, before there was even an App Store. Now we have more than a million apps in the App Store, and we’ve got the impact of mobile that we all experienced in our lives that is starting to have a very significant effect on where we go for help, where we go for service, where we go for entertainment or communication. We go to our mobile device. So, the mobile mind shift is this shift in expectation that I can get what I want, wherever I am, in my moment of need, when I need it most. That’s the mobile mind shift — this change of what people expect in everybody — in brands, in companies, from the government, from each other. That is the mobile mind shift.
RI: I love the guy that you mention there and quote, Cody Rose, who is listed as a restaurant-preneur. I love his comment, which is, “We look for annoying things in everyday life that can fixed with a mobile app and then we jump on it.”
Schadler: Cody gave me that quote when he was working at the company. They were doing restaurant listings, restaurant bookings. He is now actually at Square, which is a mobile payments company. I think Cody really nailed it by saying that the opportunity here is to find those moments in a day when you ought to be able to do something, but you can’t. So you turn to your mobile device and you are a little frustrated that you can’t do it. As an entrepreneur, that is an opportunity to jump in and deliver a service, build an application, and offer something that really solves that problem and helps them get out of that pickle they are in. You think about maps or you think about a banking application, it changes the way that you live because somebody has figured out exactly what you need in that moment.
RI: There’s also the quote that you give from Intel’s Andy Grove, “At a time when there is a lot of chaos and change around us, only the paranoid survive.” That sort of says it too.
Schadler: It does. This is a thing that is important for an established company or an established service to really understand: that there is disruption here. Entrepreneurs are jumping into these moments. They are seizing what we call mobile moments of engagement or service or opportunity. A tractional company, that may be using, in the case of radio, broadcast and maybe Internet, or if you are in banking and you have an ATM and a branch and online banking, all of a sudden as an established company you have to rethink your engagement model. How do people want to consume your service in those moments of need? It is disruptive when an entrepreneur comes in and as an established company you are not responding with an equivalent offer. This is very, very challenging for companies because mobile is fundamentally different from Web. It is not small Web. It is much more about service and the Web is more about self-service. This is a really hard change for many companies to figure out. Yet, I think that quote kind of nails that as well.
RI: You really talk about a lot of processes to help people through it. It isn’t just case studies. I think the case studies are fantastic that are here, but you really walk through an internal and external process on how to find the best way to capture those mobile moments.
Schadler: Yes, that is very important. We have found this consistently in every area we have looked at. One of the nice things about this book, I think you and others will agree, is that this idea of a mobile moment and really understanding who, what device they are using, what their motivation is, to pull that smartphone or that tablet out, what they are trying to do, where they are in their day or their workday or their life day or their journey with you, that idea of a mobile moment is a catalyzing language to say what you are trying to accomplish. But the How do you accomplish that? is the tough part. You mentioned processes, we identify this very consistent process and we call it the idea cycle. It really is driven by idea teams. Idea is an acronym. You Identify the mobile moment, when somebody really needs you. You Design your mobile service, your mobile engagement. What are you doing to deliver into that moment? Now, after I and D, that’s the hard part. You have to Engineer or reengineer your systems, your processes, or what we call, at Forrester, the business technology. All of that supporting stuff, in order to deliver into that moment. That is the E. Then the A is Analyze. If you don’t know what is going on, you are flying blind. You don’t know if you are being successful in that moment. You are not sure whether someone is paying attention or cares to engage you. Or maybe it gets started and falls off. You need to know why. So every example we have found has this consistent pattern. Identify the moment. Design the mobile engagement, Engineer the platforms, processes, people and applications, Analyze, and then do it again. It is not a do-once. It is not a project. It is a product. You have to keep investing in it. So you start small, but you rapidly iterate about every three months and improve it. That is the process that we think is a revolutionary approach to understanding the customer, designing the service, engineering the offering, and then analyzing the results, and then doing it again. That is the core idea, the central idea in this book.
RI: The case studies that you identify are from every industry, every walk of life, really. Since the book has been written, have there been any other case studies that you have stumbled upon that fascinate you in terms of people engineering the mobile moment?
Schadler: Well, they come up every day, of course. Hilton Hotels, for example, just announced they are going to spend $550 million re-engineering their business for mobile moments. You think about a hotel experience, you book a reservation, but then you need to find your way to the hotel and you want to check in, and you want to get into your room, and you are going to want to order room service. Afterwards, you are going to get your receipt. Those are all mobile moments. A company like Hilton figured it out. They weren’t first. In fact, Intercontinental Hotels Group was much earlier, and Westin is there now, you can open your door with a mobile phone kind of thing, but now Hilton is jumping on this and spending a huge amount of money. In really every industry, we are seeing these mobile moments. In publishing, for example, there is a lot of atomization of content and personalization of content. ABC News, you can follow a story now from your mobile device, using a technology from a company called Urban Airshift that does push notifications. On your app you say, “I want to follow this story.” Then as new information comes in, you get a message on your phone that there is new information on that story. You can’t do that on Web. You can’t do that on broadcast. But you can do that on a mobile device. That is ABC News really rethinking its engagement model and how it is going to deliver relevant and useful, interesting, entertaining, or informing content out to somebody. Yes, we are seeing many, many examples from many industries here.
RI: As far as radio, do you have an opinion on the job that the radio industry does to maximize its mobile moments to its audience and its clients?
Schadler: I think radio has got a lot of disrupters out there, of course. Going back in time, I used to look back at satellite for example, but when you think about the impact of the Internet on broadcast media in general, on radio specifically, there is very much this drive towards personalization, to get what I want. Of course, that is reflected in Pandora and Spotify and whatnot. What mobile does, of course, is radio is designed for being out and about. Yeah, it is great at home, but when you are in your car or waiting for your bus, you’ve got the chance to really consume this media in a new way. So, the radio industry generally has, I think, stumbled, because I think the broadcast sort of mindset of it, is to develop these deeply personal experiences. You look at iHeartRadio and that app has got Clear Channel and it has wide adoption and it is used, but it has really not changed the model of engagement. It is still broadcast mostly radio coming through on a mobile device. That’s interesting. But it hasn’t necessarily taken advantage of the personalization and the opportunity to engage somebody in that mobile moment. I don’t get a push notification if my favorite song is about to show up, so let’s get on and wait for it to come. That would be nice to know. I don’t get that. I would say, kind of baby steps, but not really thinking disruptively about the impact of mobile and mobile moments on radio.
RI: Then, as far as the client base side too, our relationship with clients, any thoughts on how that is being captured? In terms of our commercial client base, because we have one audience to serve, which is obviously our listening audience, but mobile and maximizing mobile dollars is obviously a tremendous opportunity.
Schadler: If I think about the commercial side of radio, there is an opportunity to dive into this analyze piece of the idea cycle. If you can get data on what somebody is doing in that moment, and that something is maybe listening to the radio or receiving an ad, or engaging with the application in some way, maybe they are following through on something, there is an offer or whatnot, that analyzed piece of it I think is extremely valuable to anybody — to an advertiser, to a broadcaster. When you think about mobile moments, it is about that personal delivery of that experience to that person and what can you do to take advantage of that. I think it is early going. Certainly, the advertising world has moved to mobile and understands; look at Facebook’s revenue, for example, and over 60 percent, last quarter, of their ad revenue was mobile. It is starting to change in terms of advertising, but I think there is more to be done and there is a lot more to do because of this analyze component of mobile moments.
RI: In the case studies that you have observed, are there any that you think are relevant to the radio industry on how somebody has shifted their thinking to capture mobile moments?
Schadler: Yes. I just mentioned the ABC News that came after. I think that is an example. What I would say is that consumer engagement case studies, and I am thinking now of Sephora with a loyalty program, for example, or Walgreens with a transaction program — these are, I think, simple examples. There is a flash purchase example, which is still sold out that was relevant to radio. When you think about these other consumer experiences that are very much about the here and now in daily life, that’s a place where the radio industry generally can absorb some of those lessons and start applying them. It is really about establishing a deeper connection into that person. Not just thinking broadcast but thinking interactivity. So, those are some examples that I think have illustrations and some value to the radio industry in general.
RI: Lastly, one area I want to touch upon is something that you call the mobile center for excellence, which is really part of another process you just described that I think radio can adapt internally. Please talk about that.
Schadler: Sure. If you are a large organization and you are really trying to reinvent your processes or your service that you deliver to somebody, it is hard to do that in a fragmented way. You get little pieces of the company, maybe it is marketing from a different product or something different from selling and you get this fragmented experience. That is not a good idea. You have to bring all of the mobile moments of engagement together in order to deliver a consistent and valuable customer experience. A mobile center of excellence is a way to bring skills together, awareness together, maybe data about what a customer wants. By bringing that under one umbrella, usually it is loosely affiliated, it is not usually a separate group that is funded and stood up, but it is more of an informal governing source or management structure where people exchange ideas, and then when there are tough decisions to be made, there is a process for doing that. There is a senior executive very often or the heads of products or head of marketing, or sometimes the CIO who manages this cross-functional steering group, and we see this in lots of companies. We see it in American Airlines, for example. We see it at ING Bank in the Netherlands. We see it in these kinds of companies. But really, in any organization, when you’ve got so much happening in mobile, you’ve got to bring it together under one umbrella in order to really make sense of it, get the most value out of it, establish the right partnerships, develop the rights skills, and build the right applications.