The next time that you go to the nightstand or into that drawer that you swore wouldn’t become a collection of junk, pull out that BlackBerry that is gathering dust.

Remember the experience. You may not have known the full extent then, but it was life-changing. Like never before, you were connected. And empowered. And inescapable from your boss.

Yes, it came with the good and the bad. And speaking of the bad, think about the web experience. Buffering entered our vocabulary and, if you were like me (and I’m betting that you were), the expletives came faster than the load times. We expected more.

In 2007, our expectations were met when Apple introduced the iPhone. We could surf, engage with apps, watch videos, take pictures, and post instantly to websites like Facebook and Twitter.

That advancement, and others that followed, literally changed our lives. And only increased our expectations.


  • Twenty-one percent of U.S. consumers have the expectation of anything, anywhere, anytime, Forrester says. Another 29 percent are transitioning there.
  • Seventy percent of consumers delete an email immediately if it doesn’t render properly on their mobile device, per Blue Hornet.
  • Four in 10 Americans abandon a mobile shopping site that won’t load in three seconds or less (Fast Company). In fact, Amazon determined that a page load slowdown of only one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year.

My mother-in-law, who is 86 years old, often startles my wife and me with her tech knowledge, curiosity, and questions, like, “If I start a game of Angry Birds on my iPhone, why can’t I just pick up the game at the same point on my iPad?”

Good question. This brings me to 2016.

From Coca-Cola to Expedia to Lowe’s, we are hearing that “mobile is everybody’s job” now within organizations. What is the expected output of that collaboration? Is personalization finally going to realize its potential in 2016?

And how will we get there?

“If you go back a year or two ago, there was a mobile team,” Expedia SVP and Chief Marketing Officer David Doctorow recently told me. “There is no such thing in 2016 as a mobile team. Mobile is the whole team. That mindshift has to happen and it needs to be accompanied with real behavior changes, real goals changes, real process changes.

“Mobile measurement and cross-device measurement is no longer a nice to have in 2016. If we don’t get this right, it is a serious problem. 2016 is the year that it must be cracked. It is easy to say, but to get it right, is going to be a lot of different things. It’s going to be about data and collecting the right data. It’s going to be about using analytics to determine connections across that data. It’s going to be testing things. All of these things together are going to lead us to make smarter, better capital allocation decisions.”

I’m bullish on tools such as Genie. Smart marketers like Doctorow who I interviewed for my new The Art of Mobile Persuasion book are committed to taking meaningful steps in 2016 to meet and exceed expectations through enhanced customer targeting and engagement. And they are willing to put money where their mouths are. Forrester says that 91 percent of marketers are prioritizing personalization efforts over the next year.

Why? Because, according to the same source, 66 percent of consumers reported that personalized offers and content has had an impact on their decision to purchase a product or service. Even more important and exciting for retailers is the fact that 86 percent of customers told Forrester that they are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.

Will everything be perfect by this time next year? Will vegetarians no longer get meatball sandwich offers? That’s highly unlikely but okay. I haven’t seen one survey or conducted one focus group where consumers expected, and even demanded, perfection.

Even my mother-in-law will cut a retailer or brand a break if the business speaks more personally to her and makes her life easier.

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