In 2012, smart phone users will officially be the majority of cell phone users, at least in the U.S., and other mobile devices like the Apple iPad and the iPad mini are becoming more and more popular. According to researches, users spend on average over one hour per day engaging actively with their mobile device. This is reason enough for businesses to take the opportunity to use mobile devices for their own purposes. But which way to take for a successful mobile strategy?
In the following, I would like to examine some points businesses have to consider when they are addressing a mobile audience.
In order to facilitate the examination, I take the case of the Burg Theater, the oldest cinema in Germany, located in my hometown Burg. Currently, I’m highly involved in this project, which is based completely on volunteers, who are dedicating their free time to keep an extraordinary cinema going. In 2010, the cinema was to be closed when friends of mine decided to found a registered society to save the Burg Theater. Since then the building is in the process of being renovated with donations from private persons and local businesses.
Following the plane analogy used by Chris Silva, the Burg Theater is still “on the ground” with its mobile strategy, because we need to work on a strategy right now. Firstly, we have to decide what type of impact we want to have with our mobile strategy in order to answer the question which type serves best our needs: a mobile website or an app?
Customers should be able to access the cinema program and the show times easily via their mobile device. Then, they should get additional information on the movies (short description, trailer) and finally, it should be facile to make a reservation for the most popular seating place in the Burg Theater, the bar. A kind of lounge with comfortable red arm chairs, where one is served with drinks and small snacks. The customer should also be alerted by news of the cinema.
In the end, the number of online reservations should increase, as well as the number of overall visitors.
In our mobile strategy, we target regular customers of the Burg Theater who want to be effortlessly informed about the program, the show times and news, on a regular basis through their mobile device.
With our strategy, we basically want both end goals: Enrich and Engage. On the one hand, we want to drive the number of reservations and visitors. On the other hand, we want to improve user interaction and give information about our “product”, to build brand affinity for the Burg Theater.
For a business based on volunteering, budget is a crucial factor. An app would require a lot of time and financial resources whereas a mobile website can reach a larger audience easier and more economically, regardless of the device and the operating system.
Creating and updating a mobile website is less complicated and time-consuming and with technologies like HTML5 and CSS3 there’s less and less difference between an app and a mobile website. Moreover, SEO can be more efficiently used with mobile websites.
A mobile website would be a good first step for the Burg Theater to enter the mobile world. The costs are low but the business outcomes can be similar successful compared to an app. If the mobile website proves itself, we can consider creating an app as a next step for our mobile strategy.