5 tips for a successful mobile customer experience

A post by Sarah GEOFFROY, MSc student in Digital Marketing @KEDGE Business School.

This isn’t a scoop, the last ten years have been marked by the rise of the smartphone and the product has developed a digital environment in itself. Yet today, brands do not always know how to optimize their presence on this medium. Between application or responsive website, it is not always easy to choose. The consumer has also changed and now it’s the customer experience that predominates, especially as according to Médiamétrie eStat study in 2014, 38.7 % of the audience of the web in France comes from smartphones and tablets.

But how to create a successful mobile experience for consumers?

Here are 5 routes to explore:

1) Focus on simplicity

One of the greatest interests to use a mobile or tablet is its simplicity. The principle itself is a mobile application to make life easier for users. So, put yourself in their shoes! Stylish design and going to the essential are very important points. The information must be clear and concise. This way, the user isn’t deceived and can quickly use the application.

2) Propose relevant features

Needless to drown the user in an excessive amount of choice. Better leverage features perfectly suited to mobile use. A mobile application has to offer just enough features to meet both the requirements of simplicity and efficiency but also to remind the website. This will allow users of the site not be lost when they use the application.

3) Customize the content

The trend is towards customization in all areas and the mobile experience is no exception. The proximity that users have with their mobile should allow them access to a unique experience through personalization of content. Nevertheless, careful not to go overboard, we must balance the level of customization.

4) Limit the weight of the application

Today there are a multitude of applications. Mobile storage capacity is limited and some users may reluctant to download applications due to their weight. An application that requires little space will be more easily installed and, what is more, will return that image of simplicity to the consumer.

5) Put the fun inGEOFFROY 2

Using your mobile is an act in itself rather nice, you can take it everywhere with you, relax on the couch while consulting it etc… Therefore, if a mobile application is not functional or boring in content, it will not be used. We must look after the design: do not bet everything on a completely refined style. A few colors, pretty simple, neat images, short videos and easy to watch brighten the user experience.

And now it’s your turn!

Sarah GEOFFROY

You can get in touch with Sarah on Twitter and LinkedIn

Getting through the PhD and its emotional roller coaster

I gave a speech about “Getting through the PhD” about a month ago at the University of Glasgow. It was intense to stand there, talking to PhD students in their first year and give them advice….more like slices of life and experience.

In this blog, I have written about my various struggles and tips to get through the writing up stage, as well as the data analysis, or the editing process. Here, I want to focus on one slide of my presentation about the psychological stages of the PhD, and how much of a roller-coaster this whole journey can be…just like this:

phd thesis psychology stages mental doctorate

It was really crazy to see how much the students, even in their first few month of the PhD, could relate to this. Because this is a fact: you go through ups and downs emotionally and mentally all the time during the PhD.

Now, this is certainly not characteristic of PhD life alone, but I think the confusion and isolation you might be in really reinforce these fluctuating states of mind. In the end, there are a couple of things that really helped me get through the rough patches, and among them the true support of my supervisors. I did learn to work  independently and make my own decisions, but I always kept this almost blind faith in them and in their advice.

And you, do you experience these stages, whether you are into a PhD or another long or though project? How do you cope with the difficulties?

 

#2 presentation tip for marketing students: stop preparing.

I was telling you last week about my #1 tip to my marketing students when they present in class, which is to believe in what they are talking about. Here goes tip number 2.

Know when to STOP preparing your presentation. 

This might sound a bit/completely paradoxical but, in my experience, it has definitely helped reach better results. Its is also not as categorical as it sounds. Let me explain.

What often blocks students giving a presentation is that they feel that they are slipping away from its carefully rehearsed version. They start forgetting the words they wanted to use, then whole sentences, and ultimately forget their script. They panic or talk nonsense to cover the blanks in their minds.

In my opinion, this is exactly what happens when you OVER prepare your presentation. I think that the best way to prepare is  to:

  1. actually work on the content
  2. make your power point/prezi/keynote
  3. practice your presentation just once, to see whether you match your time constraint, especially if you are working in a group. On that basis, you know whether and by how much to cut or enhance it.
  4. LEAVE IT THERE

That’s it.

quote-William-Osler-the-best-preparation-for-tomorrow-is-to-28988

To sum up: don’t try and practice the presentation 20 times, or write a script that you absolutely must stick to. It’s fine to have a speech structure in mind, some quotes or jokes you want to say, a momentum you want to create, or side notes of things to say if you have time. But by all means don’t practice your presentation ad nauseam. By doing so, you loose your passion in the content (see #1 tip) & put useless pressure on yourself to stick to it.

Words of warning: this does not work for strictly-timed pitches of less than 5 minutes, and also only works if you have worked hard on the content of the presentation. If so, you should know it inside out, so why freak out about presenting it? Just enjoy the ride!

Further readings:

If you cannot help over prepare, here is some self-help.

#1 presentation tip for marketing students: just believe.

When students present their work in class, they easily fall into one of the following: a) utter panic mode, b) super sonic speed mode or c) note-reading mode. None of these is appealing to a teacher, and we all know that the way you deliver a speach can dramatically improve the perception of your audience.

In this post I will share my number one tip for students to really stand out in a presentation and impress their marketing tutors or professors, beyond the content.

The saying “fake it until you make it” basically means that until you’ve actually achieved whichever goal you aim to achieve, just pretend you’re already there. The same goes when you are being assessed, and thus in the anticipation of your much dreaded presentation grade, so: fake it until you are graded! 

Presenting in front of a classroom and your teacher is not easy. Presenting like a winner, to me, is first and foremost believing in what you are saying. This seems easy, but for marketing students, it means that they need to really embody the product, strategy, organisation or brand they are talking about. They need to be captivated by it, to believe in its strength and potential….whether they are in a self-selected team or not, or working on a self-selected topic or not. First and foremost, this means having fun: if you are in panic, or totally bored and just wanting to be done with it, it will never work.

“Delivering your presentation like a winner is all about believing in what you are saying”

5160

With equal levels of content quality, a passionate student or group is highly likely to have a stronger impact on their professor, and better scores as a result…at least in my classes.

If a marketing learner does not learn to captivate and convince, who will?

What do you think? Are you sometimes struggling when presenting? What would be your number one tip if you are on the audience side?

PS: This was my #1 tip for marketing students to enhance their presentations…more to come!

Tips for the PhD write-up a.k.a “brain-milking” process

I’ve been posting a little more about marketing recently, so here is a piece about research, drawing on the wonderful period of a thesis called “write-up”.

Academic writing is a bit peculiar. Especially when writing a bigger piece, like a thesis, you have accumulated so many ideas, notes, drafts and thoughts over the years that writing all that up in a coherent whole literally feels like milking your brain of its substance.

Writing up was actually a fairly enjoyable stage of the PhD for me, I liked the storytelling process. However, I also struggled at times. I would like to share it with you some tips I gathered in the process.

Dr. Karl Warner finished his PhD at the Adam Smith Business School in 2014 and he gave us brilliant advice on how to get the beast written (Karl was awarded the Prize for PhD Excellence at our university, I think he writes alright!):

  1. Create momentum: when ideas are flowing, keep going! Karl suggests to make sure to write every day, but not more than 3 to 5 hours at a time.
  2. Try to write about 1000 words a day. It can be more, it can be less. I found that keeping count really helps. To keep myself accountable I would also tweet my daily word count:
  3. Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 14.22.58Be critical. This is core to academic writing, never forget about it. Separate the good milk from the bad milk.
  4. Get into your ivory tower. Find your spot, where you are confortable and undisturbed.

I have implemented Karl’s advice and although it requires discipline, I can say they worked for me. Actually, I had two ivory towers rather than one: my office during day-time and my room at night.

Here a couple of extra tips from my own experience.

  1. Take breaks. Yes, creating momentum is important, but well-timed breaks allow you to come back to work with a fresh mind and pair of eyes.
  2. Focus. You just cannot write EVERYTHING that comes to your mind. Stick to the purpose of your piece, or you might confuse yourself and others.
  3. Seek help/feedback. Probably the most important point. You can decide to attend writing seminars (more useful than you might think!) or simply seek informal feedback on your work from peers and friends.

I hope this post illuminated the journey of PhD students and other academics looking for writing tips. Just start milking, your glass will soon be full.

You can follow-up on this post by:

  • Reading my first post on writing-up my thesis, when I was in the midst of it
  • Viewing Karl’s profile and Twitter – he’s into International Business and Entrepreneurship and now lecturing at Edinburg Napier University.

5 PhD sanity tips

As I am entering what should (and will!) be my last year of PhD, I seem to be unconsciously reflecting on what I have learned during the past 3 years. So, here is my top 5 thoughts and pieces of advice if you are thinking of doing a PhD or recently started.

You will kill your darlings

As you embark on the PhD journey, you are full of ideas, and tend to take on board interesting suggestions that other academics make or that just spring to mind. This might lead you to spend time researching exciting stuff, but that sadly derive too much from your intended PhD goal. Killing your darlings is hard, but you can always set a project aside and come back to it post-PhD.

This might not end up in the final version: Just write!

In the early stages, I’ve been told many time by my supervisors that what I had written was good, but would most likely not end up as such in my final piece. At the time, my reaction to such comments would be “What?! But, this is so good, and took me so long to produce…why would I not use it in the end?” And then I realised that the PhD is an iterative process, where a lot of the early writing you produce should be considered as learning material.

Supervisor 1: “Do A”. Supervisor 2: “Do B”

When you have a supervisory team of two or more academics, following their advice can get very tricky, especially when they start disagreeing. Two things I learned about this are 1) You might think they disagree, but they are  in fact saying the same thing differently. Listen and decode carefully, and ask questions if you are unsure 2) In the end, the PhD is your work and you need to make your own decisions. Just make sure you have a solid rationale for your choices.

Manage your activities

I enjoy tutoring and doing some research assistantship on top of my own research project. Fair enough, this choice is partly guided by financial constraints, but also part of a career plan. I don’t want to end up with a PhD and no other relevant academic experience on my CV. This is a purely personal choice of course, but it also helps me keep my sanity: if I worked full time on my PhD and only on that, I think I’d go mad! In any case, make sure that your work pace, routine and activities suit you.

and a last, less serious, piece of advice….DON’T have a baby!

This is one thing that my academic mentor told me when I was thinking of doing a PhD, right after my Master. It kind of made me raise an eyebrow at the time, but it stuck with me. Of course, this is to be taken with a pinch of salt: I know people that have had a baby, and even babies during their PhD and that managed perfectly fine. Just be aware of what it entails. It might mean that you will have to take a study break, or slow down your pace as your focus shifts.

As for me, I am indeed having a baby this year: THE PhD!

I hope this post was useful; feel free to share your top PhD tips as well

If you are a finishing rather than an early PhD researcher, have a look at this file published by the University of Newcastle in Australia 😉