The mobile revolution: the relevance to your business

The mobile revolution: the relevance to your business

by Michael Hammond

We all know that mobile technology is here to stay, which is why I think more companies should be using it to get an edge

When you think of revolution you might think of our own Revolutionary War when we freed ourselves from the tyrannical rule of a king. Sure, that’s a revolution, but not the kind that I want to talk about today. Right now I want to warn that if mortgage participants don’t join what I’ll call the mobile revolution, they risk being left in the dust and being rendered obsolete in a very fluid market. And make no mistake, the mobile revolution is happening.

In a research report called “The Mobile Revolution & B2B” by Christina Kerley, she says, “Whether or not “going mobile” is yet on the B2B priority list, the mobile revolution is expanding at an unprecedented, almost unbelievable, pace all around B2B organizations. A revolution, by definition, changes the current order in a relatively short period. With 5 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide—eclipsing the combined penetration of PCs, landlines and TVs— 5 billion apps downloaded in 2010 alone, and $5 billion in sales in the three quarters following iPad’s launch, mobile not only qualifies as revolutionary, but also firmly stakes claim to being the most sweeping set of media of our time… or any time.

“We are in the early innings of a massive phenomenon” explains famed Technology Analyst Mary Meeker. And Google VP of the Americas, Dennis Woodside, forecasts, “This new, huge technology market will transform almost every industry.”

We’re seeing this today. Mobile is making a huge difference today and that sway is only going to increase as time goes by. I know that the mortgage industry is slow to adopt “new” technology, but the boom in mobile is too huge to ignore. If you think about it, it took the GSEs to mandate a more data-driven process for lenders to really embrace the true benefits of MISMO. Now lenders find themselves scrambling in some cases to get onboard with this data phenomenon. In actuality, the technology is not new and probably should have been adopted earlier.

So, you might ask, “Michael, if it took so long for the industry to adopt MISMO, what gives you hope that the industry will move any faster when it comes to mobile?” My answer to that question would be: Times, they are a changing. Back in 2000 the market was flush with business so lenders didn’t have to worry about things like process efficiency, customer satisfaction and transparency. Those days are gone. Originations are on the decline and according to all estimates, will decline even further next year. The bottom line is that lenders and vendors need to take advantage of every possible edge. And embracing mobile can certainly provide an edge.

Kerley points out, “In the mobile revolution, what is most important—yet not widely understood— isn’t that we’re changing our technology, but that this technology is changing us. The mobile revolution is defined not by a mass conversion in communications devices but the sea change that mobile media is driving across the needs, expectations, and thresholds of today’s consumer and business audiences.

“The marching orders for B2B are clear: Align your marketing with the profound, permanent shifts that mobile is driving across your core audiences… or risk your company’s relevance in a business world forever changed by anytime, anywhere, always-on media.

You might be shaking your head right now saying something like, “Yeah Michael, I know mobile is here to stay, but how do I actually benefit from using this technology? What’s the ROI?” I would argue that by not embracing this technology and actually being a player in the mobile revolution, you’re leaving ROI on the table and in this market I don’t think anyone can pass up the opportunity to get their fair share of ROI.

“In an age when technology has made it easier for professionals to streamline many business tasks, perhaps the most striking irony is that professionals are now tasked with far more to accomplish, within far shorter timetables. Although business professionals are a smart and savvy audience, what they seek above all else is more simplicity (they deal with enough complexity in their daily work lives).

“Therefore, the critical success factors of “Better, Faster, Easier” must serve as the B2B mobile mantra. For B2B audiences, “better, faster, easier” always wins the day. Marketers who develop mobile strategies that make their audiences’ work-related activities better, faster, and easier will win mobile hearts, minds, and market share.

“Regus, the world’s largest provider of workplace solutions, provides a solid example of creating a better, faster, and easier experience for its mobile audiences. Through the development of a mobile app, Regus enables its business audiences—whether traveling in Savannah, Sydney, Singapore, or any city in 85+ countries— to quickly and easily purchase temporary office space and meeting rooms.

“After downloading the Regus app, users simply scan the area in front of them through their smartphone cameras while the app simultaneously populates their viewing areas with office options that are in close proximity. This easy-to-use feature lets users tap on the graphics to receive more information on respective office spaces, or to contact Regus directly via email or click-to-call.

“Through location-based and augmented-reality technologies inherent to its app, Regus is leveraging features that are all too often brushed off by B2Bs as being appropriate only for consumer audiences. Yet, as Regus has found—with more than 19,000 downloads in less than 6 months, across over 85 countries, with a 65%+ rate of engagement—business audiences avidly use and benefit from such cutting-edge technologies. That’s right, B2B, given the right mobile strategy, you too can create killer apps.”

So, how do you design a killer app? You look at what you do best and showcase it through a mobile device. You look to find new value propositions for your company and look for new ways to engage your customers.

How do you engage customers using mobile technology? You think outside of the box. ClearPoint, a global authority in interactive health education, had an annual conference for pharmaceutical and biotech trainers, and desperately wanted to stand out. Sound familiar? Here’s what they did:

ClearPoint knew that it needed to engage event-goers with content that was highly relevant to their industry, and it needed to do so via a technology platform integral to the company’s mLearning mobile offerings.

ClearPoint cut through the clutter by giving attendees a 10-question quiz that helped demystify Healthcare Reform—a complex subject perfectly suited to the industry most affected by it. But it wasn’t just the subject matter that was highly germane, so too was the platform on which it was delivered. The quiz was developed for the iPad, a new category of mobile device that, at the time of the conference in June 2010, had been available to the market for only a couple of months.

ClearPoint’s mobile-marketing program achieved its goals of engagement on two fronts. First, event-goers interacted with, and were introduced to, ClearPoint’s mobile capabilities on an entirely new mLearning platform. Second, the mobile quizzes enabled ClearPoint’s professionals to engage with prospects via a strategy focused on knowledge transfer.

We can all think of a few buzzwords flying around in our space that might need demystifying and catch the attention of conference goers. My point is, the mobile revolution is happening, so why not use it to your advantage? Can you afford not to get on board?

Published In Tomorrow’s Mortgage Executive, Business Strategies, September 2011