FROM TC: At last week's exemplary Tessitura Learning & Community Conference, 1300 attendees from the arts field heard from keynote speaker Luke Wroblewski, an internationally-recognized digital leader, on the topic "Mobile First." As he writes on his website:

"For years, most Web teams have designed for the desktop. Mobile, if it even happened, was a port off the desktop version, designed and built before anyone even considered the mobile experience. But things have changed so dramatically over the past few years that starting with the desktop may be an increasingly backwards way of thinking about a Web product. [There are] three key reasons to consider mobile first: mobile is seeing explosive growth; mobile forces you to focus; and mobile extends your capabilities."

On his website, you can browse through his slide presentation, or watch a video of an earlier version of his talk (approx. 1 hour). The rapidly-growing importance of mobile technology in reaching audiences is a topic that "Luke W" and others are writing about regularly, including these recent blog posts:


Commentary: Mobile has changed when and where people read email

Luke Wroblewski on his website, 7/1/13

If there was ever a case study that showcased just how quickly mobile impacted online behavior, it's email. In just a few years mobile has overtaken desktop and webmail clients and changed when and where people read their email.

  • More than 20% of emails sent during first [half] of 2011 were opened on mobile devices.
  • In February 2012, mobile overtook webmail client usage.
  • As of March 2013 more email was read on mobile than on a desktop or via webmail.
  • 79% use their smartphone for reading email, a higher percentage than those who used it for making calls.
  • 43% of mobile email users check email four or more times per day.
  • 77% of participants reported that they check their email "everywhere" or "obsessively."

Commentary: Because of mobile, marketers need to fundamentally rethink things

Chuck Martin, Harvard Business Review, 6/11/13

Mobile is turning "path to purchase" on its head. One of the most time-honored marketing concepts -- that a customer takes a predictable journey toward a sales transaction -- has long provided the framework for marketers to communicate with customers. The path is often depicted as a "sales funnel" (with a large initial audience having awareness, funneling down to successively smaller groups having familiarity, consideration, purchase, and loyalty). Now, because of smartphones and tablets, marketers need to fundamentally rethink things. Shopping is becoming an iterative rather than a serial process. Consumers no longer go shopping, they always are shopping. To adapt, marketers must begin by recognizing that, in this new world of mobile commerce, the traditional sales funnel is dead. It's being replaced by something more like a shopping life cycle, in which marketers have the opportunity to influence mobile consumer behavior and purchase decisions at various key moments. By recognizing the mobile shopping life cycle as it emerges, brands and marketers will be in position to adapt along with its evolution, and to master the new art of mobile influence.


Related: Using mobile to market to moms, 7/19/13

It's no mystery why marketers aim at moms: There are lots of them, and they spend lots of money. eMarketer estimates the population of US moms with kids under age 18 in the household was 35.7 million last year. BSM Media pegged US mom buying power at an annual $2.25 trillion as of June 2013. The catch is that moms are too busy to sift through the tons of information available online. For real moms, pressed for time, smartphones help them streamline their shopping. Under these circumstances, marketers might fare best with simple messaging that puts little demand on moms' phone time. A March 2013 Alliance Data survey of mom smart mobile device users found 52% of respondents said they "like to receive SMS/text messages from certain retailers"; 44% said they "like to receive emails from certain stores, and I usually check that email on my mobile device."


Commentary: Are the arts ready to connect with people via mobile?

Dany Louise, The Guardian's Culture Professionals Network blog, 7/8/13

The Contemporary Visual Arts Network persuaded Google's Cultural Institute to host the last of its series of knowledge-sharing events at Google's London headquarters last week. [During a] presentation on Google's free analytical tools for website optimisation. Luisella Mazza explained that "for lots of people in the world, their first experience of the internet will not be via a desktop but via a mobile phone or tablet. Mobile search queries grew 500% in the past two years, [and] so the question for arts organisations is: are you ready to connect with these people?" The speed with which your website loads is crucial, but what is the optimum response time? "Faster than your nearest competitor!" says Luisella. "But for e-commerce sites, two seconds is too long. Don't keep your customers waiting." You can test your own, and your competitors' sites here, and test how mobile-friendly your website is here. Luisella's general rule is: "Send the least amount of data possible. Compress images."


Commentary: A missed opportunity on funding mobile access to the arts

Joseph Pagano, Immediatag blog, 6/28/13

On June 20, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a new $15 million, three-year [project] to replace traditional [museum] audio guides with "state-of-the art mobile guides that take advantage of cutting-edge technologies like GPS and 3D imaging." $15 million buys a lot of great mobile experience. It also moves mobile to the center of any discussion about how cultural institutions can use technology. Suddenly mobile is not only legit. It also feels inevitable. Yet [I am] a little disappointed. For starters, the $15 million is to be divided between five institutions: the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The New York Botanical Garden, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. I struggle to see how dividing such a large sum among so few institutions is going to "increase access to the arts." I have nothing against [these] institutions. But I'm more disappointed by the opportunity cost -- the cost of not taking an alternative approach with a real chance of producing that tipping point we're waiting for. Here are three alternatives I really wish Bloomberg had considered:

  1. Make them earn it. Rather than just give these five institutions a heady sum of money, give them far less (for example, $500,000) and require some level of reproducibility. For example, build a mobile web experience instead of an app (which is beyond the reach of most cultural institutions); use an open-source content management system; and set up a "mobile museum university" to teach and promote best practices.
  2. Give the money to IMA Lab. IMA Lab is already working on TAP, an open source content management system for mobile museum tours. With that much scratch, IMA Lab could turn TAP into a true commercial-grade option available to other institutions for free.
  3. Give the money to the little guys. I appreciate that grassroots philanthropy is more expensive and difficult to manage, but it's not impossible. In fact, Bloomberg has already done this with [its] Arts Advancement Initiative, a $32 million initiative to help 250 small- and mid-sized organizations develop more sustainable operational practices. This initiative just closed recently. Surely some of the participating museums succeeded in meeting the initiative's goals, thereby increasing their ability to absorb funding for mobile museum projects. Why not reward them (and their visitors) for their hard work?
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