Organizing your company to win in mobile

Nearly every company I’ve spoken with is experiencing some form of a crisis of confidence when it comes to their investment in mobile — from retail to media apps. Don’t be fooled by the plethora of apps you see in the App Store. Brands are struggling with mobile.

One reason is that they’re not organized well enough to address mobile. For many companies operating in the mobile space, something still feels a bit… off. And despite the early momentum, there’s plenty of evidence today that there’s low app adoption and consumer satisfaction — in fact, according to our company’s data, 24 percent of people have no problem dropping your app after just one use.

But with more and more time spent on mobile and in apps, how can this be?

You’ve likely heard talk about a phenomenon known as the “mobile engagement crisis” — where brands are failing to innovate quickly enough to meet customers’ expectations. We’re in it, people, and for brands, the struggle is real.

Here lies the problem

It’s not the viability of mobile you should be worried about, but rather the execution and implementation of mobile as a strategy. The lack of standards and toolkits for all stages of maturity is a major part of the problem.

This crisis manifests differently from company to company, but its acuteness is often revealed by analyzing the organizational structure surrounding mobile.

The rise of the cross-functional mobile team

I’ve started noticing a pattern emerging in enterprise organizations around the creation of cross-functional mobile teams to help drive growth in mobile. These teams are the mobile evolution of the “growth” team, designed to be full-stack players capable of developing and marketing a product.

According to an analysis of our entire customer base, companies with cross-functional mobile teams outperformed those without such groups when it comes to monthly active users (MAUs). In fact, only the brands with cross-functional mobile teams showed a positive year-over-year growth in MAUs for their apps. Pretty impressive that what’s going on under the roof of a company can have such an impact.

In fact, most of the time, the mere existence of a cross-functional mobile team is a good indicator that a company has achieved a certain level of mobile maturity. It’s not about the actual team itself, but rather the behaviors and principles that the cross-functional structure enables that reveals maturity and drives performance — such as shared KPIs, easy access to development teams and focused alignment on user engagement strategies.

What’s next for mobile in your organization?

Tackling mobile has proven challenging for even the best consumer companies. Some of the top things that should be considered are how mobile fits into the overall customer journey across all channels and how user data is combined and shared across the organization.

Brands looking to increase confidence in their mobile strategy should start by looking at their organizational structure and think through whether it’s driving both the desired behaviors and results. That’s just step one.

Companies should also reflect on the types of conversations and debates happening internally around mobile and use them as an indicator for just how far along they are. Are you debating the value of mobile overall to the business? Have you moved on to considering the best way to engage customers and how to organize around that? Or are you at a more advanced stage, seeking to optimize that engagement and looking for additional levers you can pull to add fuel to the fire?

Before blaming it all on millennials, avocado toast, or even different departments, think deeply about how your organizational structure is affecting your desired mobile outcomes. Building confidence takes time, but take comfort in knowing that there are places you can start to move the needle before completely hitting reset.