December 5, 2012

MoDev East 2012: 3Pillar Panel on Product Modernization & The Importance of Mobile

MoDev East Logo3Pillar Employees at MoDev East and 3Pillar Panel at MoDev EastLast Friday, a number of 3Pillar cohorts and I spent the day over at Gannett headquarters for this year’s edition of the MoDev East conference, where I had the pleasure of hosting a panel on Product Modernization that was comprised of executives from CARFAX, Micropact, Gannett, and Wedding Wire.

Among the topics we covered are why the importance of reaching consumers on smartphones and tablets has grown in the last two years, how each of these four companies has dealt with the different mobile platforms and operating systems in the consumer marketplace, and how mobile is opening up opportunities for entirely new businesses and verticals like the daily deals industry.

Panelists included representatives from three 3Pillar clients – Mark Rolufs of CARFAX, Mike Cerniglia of Micropact, and Jeff Yeh of Wedding Wire – plus Sameer Siddiqui of DealChicken, a deals service run by event host Gannett. While each of these panelists works for companies that operate in very different spaces, one thing they all have in common is an appreciation for the growing importance of serving their software products on mobile devices.

What’s so important about making content available on smartphones and tablets? During the discussion we looked at some real-life metrics that shed some light on the subject. Wedding Wire has seen its mobile traffic grow from 2% in 2010 to 10% in 2011 to 22% in 2012. According to Groupon’s 2nd quarter earnings release, 33% of deal purchases in North America during July 2012 came from mobile devices. DealChicken’s experience has been that mobile conversions are a lower percentage than 33%, but a considerable percentage of their sales are driven through mobile.

Mark Rolufs of CARFAX had an interesting data point that spoke to the business benefits mobile can afford a company, beyond just opening up new revenue streams. The CARFAX apps for iPhone and Android saved the company $200,000 in printing costs in their first year on the market alone. The moral of that story? The business value of apps isn’t strictly in the money they will make you. It can also be in the money they will save you.

An informal poll at the start of the presentation may have done more to illustrate the current and future impact of mobile more so than any of these statistics, however. When we asked the whole room for a show of hands of how many people plug their smartphones in next to their bed at night, just about every hand in the room went up.

Interested in hearing or reading more? You can watch the panel in its entirety below or view the presentation that was shared by Dan, Mark, Mike, Jeff, and Sameer on Slideshare.