This is a post about the Kelsey Group’s DMS ’09 conference which happened two weeks ago in Orlando.
In a presentation titled “Idearc Mobile Growing Revenue”, Peter Schwab, Director of Mobile Product Development at Idearc Media (Superpages), offered 10 things developers should focus on when building a great mobile local application.
10- Focus on growing your user base (build a great product which offers a simple utility plus a “Wow” factor)
9- Embrace location ( location makes mobile its own medium)
8- Give users a voice (through reviews/ratings and real-time input)
7- Remove barriers (build features and pursue channels that get you closer to the user. “On Deck” model still makes money but has too many barriers. Focus on app stores.)
6- Embrace the hardware (camera, compass, video, voice)
5- Explore alternative distribution channels (take your content where the users are today. He gave the example of Sp411 on Twitter. )
4- Measure everything (measure for mobile, not online)
3- Drive non-Yellow Pages revenues (CPM ads, coupons, sponsorships)
2- Are you a “painkiller” or a “vitamin”? (become an ally of your user, users respond to deals. For example, Idearc ranks superguarantee merchants on top of the search results on mobile)
1- Experiment and grow as mobile grows (no silver bullet yet, don’t be afraid to move beyond Yellow Pages. Land lines are dying and mobile is becoming the primary Internet access. Social brings a new engagement model)
As an interesting note, when asked “how much does it cost to build a mobile application?”, Schwab replied “if you’re spending more than $25,000 to build an iPhone application, you’re over-paying”
What it means: reading between the lines, Schwab teaches us two important lessons: 1) adapt to the mobile experience (i.e. don’t simply put your web site on mobile). Hardware is different, usage is different, business models are different; 2) the “perfect” mobile local application has not been invented yet. Iterate quickly, try things and go social.