Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'd like a cheeseburger, fries, and a mobile strategy, to go!

We’ve heard the drums beating for a while now…

The mobile web is coming…

The mobile web is here…

Why isn’t your site mobile friendly?

The truth is, as much as we all know as marketers and technologists that we need to embrace mobile as a platform, most of us still aren’t quite sure how to do it. And so it sits in our pile of projects, never really getting the attention it needs – and deserves.

And with each passing day, building a mobile web presence continues to further transform from a ‘nice to have’ to a necessity, so if you haven’t already, developing a strategy for how you are going to embrace mobile devices has to be first and foremost on your marketing agenda.


Even if you don’t own a smart phone (and seriously, who doesn't these days!), just about everyone has had a chance to play with an iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPad, etc., and seen the power these devices can deliver.

Whether it’s allowing a user to get directions to one of your stores, allowing a worker to reorder a part while he’s standing next to the machine in the warehouse, or allowing prospective clients to learn about your products while sitting on the train, the possibilities are endless. The key is to identify how your users are using your current website, and how those trends translate to the mobile universe.

Ask yourself this question: “if I was a customer/user/student/member interested in your organization/company, why would I come to your website?”

Think about the context in which the user is coming to the website. What types of tasks do they routinely perform? Information gathering? Online ordering? Accessing private/member’s only content? Thinking about the context of potential visits will help in developing your actual strategy.

In its simplest form, ask yourself “why would someone look at my website on their smart phone or tablet” and you’ll be off and running.

Once you’ve identified the types of interactions that a user will have with your site, start by cataloging and evaluating your current web content to see which types of content it makes sense to expose for mobile viewing. Not every page of your website needs to be ‘mobilized’ – though that certainly is an option.

When your content inventory is complete, you should be able to then build an information architecture and navigation strategy for your mobile site. With a mobile device, so often the menu system really is the site, so making it clear, concise, and easy to navigate is essential.

From there, identify the platform that’s going to help you deliver web content. Tools like Ektron CMS400.NET have a mobile framework built-in to support multi-channel messaging.

You’ll want to make sure whichever solution you go with offers:
  • Support for all mobile devices (phones and tablets, and only God knows what else is coming)
  • Includes automatic device detection (the ability to automatically determine which device a user is using so that it can render the appropriate display/content)
  • The ability to determine whether you want a granular approach (content specific for each individual device) or the ability to setup groups of devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.), that make it easier and more efficient to deploy your first generation mobile site
In short, building a mobile strategy is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, there is such a high level of cool factor (partially because it is taking some time to get adopted by SMB and mid-market entities) that you’ve got an opportunity to be the first among your competitors to start benefiting from a mobile presence.

Think of the difference in your market when a competitor introduced eCommerce first and you watched your sales go to them because of the ease of the transaction and initial coolness of being able to order online? You’ve got a chance to make that same kind of impact with mobile, but you better act fast.

Analysts predict that by 2012, mobile devices will be the most popular internet browsing device, surpassing PCs. The question is, will users be able to browse your website in a mobile-friendly manner? I sure hope so.

Enjoy what you just read? Think this guy couldn’t be more off his rocker? Leave a comment below and help influence future entries.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Power of eSync

Ektron’s eSync synchronization technology is a real differentiator in a marketplace filled with products that have a lot of similar capabilities. Ektron’s eSync provides the ability to manage content and code changes across multiple environments, without having to manually move changes from one instance to the next.

So How’s It Work?
Let’s say that you’re a large, international operation with offices around the globe. You definitely don’t want any users authoring content or testing out new development in production, so you setup a staging site where authors can create all their content and a development site for developers to test out new functionality.

To move changes from one environment to the next with most content management systems, you’ll need to create some kind of manual process using a collection of tools such as FTP/file backups/database backups/etc. and the like. Or, you’ll be restricted to a virtual staging type model, where it may appear that there are several instances, but they’re all really tied to one database (this should be a red flag for IT as this creates a single point of failure!).

With Ektron’s eSync synchronization technology, you can simply schedule the eSync process to run using our intuitive interface, and all of your content and code changes will be automatically moved from one instance to the next. Pretty powerful, huh?

But let’s take this further. Let’s say that you have hosting operations in multiple data centers for redundancy, staging sites on each continent for local authoring, and disaster recovery servers in Canada because really now, what could ever go wrong in Canada? eSync allows you to manage data across all of these environments and can be configured to connect and share content and assets across all of those instances with ease. Check out the two videos linked below and you’ll see what I mean.

eSync for Everyone!
Make no mistake -- eSync was created for the enterprise. Global content and file sharing was a primary motivation for its development, so you should always be thinking of ways you can use it to make those processes more efficient.

For example, if you’re a Fortune 500 company with a corporate website and 40 regional sites, you can use eSync to take news releases from the corporate site and automatically push them down to the regional sites.

If you’re a national association looking to build chapter websites on a shoestring budget, eSync can help deploy these sites quickly and more cost efficiently by sharing functionality developed for one, with all of them.

Ektron eSync really allows you to think outside the box. And for all of you that just spent the last four minutes humming Huey Lewis and The News "Power of Love" (as I did the entire time I was writing this), this is for you:

Ektron eSync for Marketers

Ektron eSync for Developers