The challenge of communicating new experiences

Last week, I wrote a post for Blonde here… arguing that clients need to put a budget aside for continuous insight work. It’s been interesting working on these large research projects because even with our best thinking and endless cups of coffee, we don’t always know what we don’t know at the start of these projects… It therefore becomes necessary to have a contingency plan in place so there’s an opportunity to do something about this. It’s no fun completing a research piece with a ton of insights that you have to wait a year to implement.

Continuing the theme of “not knowing what you don’t know”, takes me to the area of mobile apps and services…

Converting consumers (particularly those who are… erm…. more “mature”) to Mobile, reminds me of the conversation I had with my folks years ago – in encouraging them to take up broadband. “But we hardly use it, they argued…” and yet five years on, they now do online banking, shopping, travel booking, social networking (albeit not much), Skype and check email usually on a daily basis. Sometimes you just can’t comment on an experience that is too far removed from your current reality.

Most people without a smartphone don’t understand the benefit of mobile apps. “Why would I want to surf the Web on a mobile phone?” they argue, “the screen’s so tiny.” As yet, mobile companies and mobile marketers have failed to address this lack of understanding successfully, because of course we’re not trying to replicate the Web browser experience from a laptop or desktop… Mobile apps excel when they take the most popular apps and functions from the Web and condense them into mobile shortcuts, so it becomes quicker to perform a request on a mobile platform than it does with a computer on a broadband connection.

In an ideal world, there would be would be enough trust in our local mobile community to invest in a project where we collectively contribute to and comment on an audience insight project. Since there still seem to be mobile specialists who’ve yet to make a lot of money out of this space, it seems bizarre to me that there isn’t more effort made to collectively address the ignorance and develop mobile solutions. In a challenging economic climate, I can’t help wondering that we’d progress more quickly if we worked together on solutions and yet the competition for work just seems to generate more secrecy… not to mention the danger of confiding in commercial thinkers.