Book Review: The Mobile Mind Shift

I was recently provided with a review copy of a book called The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business to Win in the Mobile Moment by Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff and Julie Ask of Forrester Research. I have to tell you, I found the book to be a fascinating look at how mobile has changed customer expectations dramatically, and how companies that want to service their customers successfully can take advantage of “mobile moments” to create improved customer experiences.

As direct sellers, we have a huge opportunity in the mobile space, and some companies are already taking advantage of this. Yet we still have a long way to go, and The Mobile Mind Shift gives a blueprint for how to design mobile applications that take into account customer (and in our case, consultant) experiences, and then design applications that anticipate needs and solve them in the moment. It’s a completely different approach than one we would take when designing our websites. Rather, this approach requires us to map out the day of our customer/consultant, and when they might be helped by something we have to offer.

As one example in the book illustrates, American Airlines mapped out what travelers do in the days and hours leading up to and after a flight, and how emotional customers might be at each of these points. They then asked, what can we do to help them on a mobile device? American then designed its mobile application using a systematic process that helped to meet these needs.

From a direct sales perspective, companies might want to observe and map out the day to day activities of a direct seller as they interact with the business. What information do they need when? How can we make the business easier by providing the right information and experiences at the right time? Armed with this information, direct sellers can make better decisions about mobile applications that they might want to design.

I was fortunate enough to interview The Mobile Mind Shift author Josh Bernoff, who I had the opportunity to present with a few years ago at an Amway conference. Here is what he shared with me:

{Jen} The book is a fascinating look at how to create mobile applications based on customer experiences and expectations. While there are a number of great case studies that you share in the book, can you tell me which one was your favorite?

{Josh} We talked to so many talented people with great applications. Dwayne Chambers at Krispy Kreme was really interesting — such a simple idea, but powerful when they implemented it. And they’re no longer doing any media, just social, mobile, and digital.

{Jen} Another emphasis in the book is the importance of collecting analytics based on customer interactions with your mobile app, and including data collection as part of design. What type of data do you think is most important to consider when developing a mobile app, and what are the biggest mistakes that you think companies make when considering analytics?

{Josh} Most people collect data on the behavior of the app, and that’s always useful. But if you want to keep doing app development, you’d better collect data that shows something useful to the business, such as room nights booked or customer engagement or something like that. I think the biggest mistake is to think of analytics as something static. Much like the app itself, you have to think of what you measure as something that’s always improving.

{Jen} I write for the direct selling industry specifically (you and I met when we both spoke at an Amway conference!), covering companies that sell through independent consultants directly to end consumers. Based on what you’ve seen in mobile applications, what types of applications do you think the industry should consider?

{Josh} The Trane application — an installer app that increased the close rate for air conditioning installers from 35% to 65% — is a great example here. Tablet apps in the hands of salespeople can supercharge the experience. You can show people what you have in a very visual way, and help them make choices — and close the deal right on the tablet. I would estimate that in your industry, this is going to reach 50% of the direct sellers within a year or two.

{Jen} The book mainly covers mobile development from the perspective of enterprise-level organization. Do you think smaller businesses without enterprise-sized budgets can participate in the shift, and if so, what do you recommend that they do?

Most small businesses may not be able to afford building sophisticated apps (although some may find it worthwhile). Even if they do, driving awareness is difficult. But don’t let that stop you. Your site has to be mobile-ready, and you can keep working on improving that continuously. And you can look at other mobile features like text alerts. Finally, it may be worth advertising within an app that people in your space are using.


Many thanks to Forrester and Groundswell Press for the opportunity to review this book. If your company is considering mobile application development, I HIGHLY recommend that you read The Mobile Mind Shift first for a thorough, systematic approach that will help you make the wisest investment possible in applications that will help your company excel and succeed.

You can get the book on in both Print and Kindle versions.

2 Responses to Book Review: The Mobile Mind Shift
  1. Lisa
    August 20, 2014 | 9:26 am

    Hi Jennifer
    Thanks for the book review! Sounds like a great read. I love the American Airlines example. They really dug deep into customer behavior in various situations to design a mobile app that meets the needs and solves problems.
    Mobile apps are changing the way we do things in every day life!
    You made a great point about have a mobile ready site! I think most people view the online world via their mobile phone and not computers too much.
    Thanks again!
    Lisa recently posted..Think Twice before You Quit Blogging

  2. Ryan Arp
    June 26, 2014 | 1:25 pm

    Hi Jennifer, great review and article. I also recommend a book called “Hooked” by Nir Eyal, which is a good look into the habitual and addictive tendencies that some apps create (some good and some bad). If nothing else it’ll help readers understand just why they can’t quit looking at facebook (variable rewards) and how we’re really not that far off from rats…joking, kind of :).

    Mobile provides a good platform for companies when used the right way to develop deep relationships with their users. Instead of thinking in terms of “everyone has an app so we need one, too”, more companies should start thinking of mobile as a strategy for customer (or consultant) retention, engagement, and empowerment.

    I know for me my iPhone is almost always the first and last interaction I have in my day as I’m sure it is for almost everyone…which is why it makes it such an exciting industry to be a part of.

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