Mobile-Centric Is Customer-Centric (So Why Isn’t Your Customer Data Platform?)

June 22, 2017

When technologies are young, it’s common to dismiss them as niche, even when they aren’t. Remember that day that you realized streaming music services, social media, and ride-hailing apps were being used by everyone we knew, even our parents?

The same thing often happens in B2B markets.

Many enterprise software buyers and sellers still consider mobile solutions niche. They think of mobile like some James Bond car that’s been outfitted by Q-Branch to submerge underwater or ski over a frozen lake — good for a few highly specialized circumstances, but not your average Joe.

In reality, though, a customer data platform that’s not mobile-first is more like one of those cars you see cut in half at the auto show. It may be driveable, but you wouldn’t want to try it on the interstate. Something very important is missing.

As Comscore noted in The 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report, activity on smartphones and tablets now accounts for two-thirds of all time spent with digital media, with smartphone apps alone capturing roughly half. Forrester estimates that mobile influences more than a third of all retail sales today, and that the mobile payment market will reach $17 billion in transaction volume by 2019. It’s no joke.

And yet, the vast majority of options marketers are using or now considering as the central connectivity layer for their entire marketing and analytics stack aren’t focused on mobile and connected TV app data.

Sure, it’s on their roadmap. Or, they may have an API that could collect mobile data, but it doesn’t actually offer the schema necessary to support app-centric notions, like geo-spatial and push tokens. Nor do they have a light-weight, battle-tested SDK that’s able to collect mobile signals in real-time without slowing down or crashing the app. (If in doubt, you can use a tool like Mighty Signal, which monitors SDK installations, to check if a particular vendor’s SDK is actually installed in-app.)

If you want to label a mobile-first customer data platform like mParticle’s as a “mobile” provider go ahead, but know this: you don’t need to be Special Agent 007 to need mobile embedded at the heart of your data strategy. Mobile-first data strategies are being adopted by the likes of Walmart, Lily Pulitzer, David’s Bridal and a host of other top retailers, publishers, hospitality and entertainment brands right now.

It’s the companies that aren’t focused on mobile that are the niche providers.