This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Check it out here. In the mobile revolution, user behaviors and technology change at rapid pace. Every few weeks, people become more proficient with their mobile products. Every 18 to 24 month, they upgrade to a new one. What worked a month ago, no longer works today. What was enough in a given context, no longer is in a different environment. What seemed worth buying, is suddenly offered for free from a competitor. There is no slowing down. To be successful, mobile companies must adapt constantly. They need to try and test relentlessly until they find something that people want. Then, they do more of it. They rely on three key steps to keep up with the pace of innovation: goals, funnel and wild cards.
- Use a business equation to set goals.
- Set up a funnel that feeds your goal.
- Systematically look for wild cards.
- Hooks, which make the top of the funnel wider, as shown in this exhibit. They peak people’s curiosity. Think about the Facebook “like” or the Zillow “zestimate.” Hooks attract customers that would normally not have been interested. They provide a meaningful incentive for people to enter the funnel.
- Shortcuts, which cut a slice at the top or bottom (or both) of the funnel. Shortcuts remove an entire step from a user’s experience. Take Amazon’s personalized recommendations labeled “other books you may like” for instance. These recommendations appear immediately after a purchase. The step of searching for similar books is skipped all together.
- Layers, which open up a whole new layer in the funnel. For instance in the early days, Airbnb sourced a significant amount of its listings from Craigslist. While this wasn’t legally allowed by Craigslist’s terms of service, Airbnb used this layer to grow its inventory meaningfully. Layers are a new channel that allow mobile companies to reach their customers.