I like to think that effective brand management is really about empathy – the more you can see things from your customers’ points of view, the better you’ll service them, and the better they’ll feel about you. But we have a tendency to fall in love with our own image, don’t we? We tend to think that what we believe is pretty much the same as what everyone else believes. We tend to think that people care about what we care about. And while that’s a great recipe for a blissfully unaware life, it isn’t a great recipe for great branding.

This is all just to say that I think you need a mobile site.

I know, I know – you just paid to have your site redone. The company that did it told you about all of the new features, the great CMS it’s on, and all of the things you’re going to be able to do with it. And besides, you love it! Wouldn’t it be better to wait until your next redesign to address mobile? Well, 28% of your visitors don’t think so, and in the spirit of empathy, let’s explore how those 28% feel about your website.

Before we figure out how they feel, let’s figure out who they are. They’re mobile, so they’re not at their desk. Maybe they’re on their phone waiting in line, or in their boss’s office showing her your site. You know that three column layout that looks awesome on your PC monitor? Illegible on the phone. It doesn’t collapse, so they are doing lots of zooming in and zooming out to read your copy. What about that huge call-to-action in the top right asking them to compare your offering to your competitor’s? On the phone, it’s not so big and bold anymore. Actually, they can’t really use it because it’s a long dropdown list that goes below their phone screen and they can’t seem to finger scroll down to the item they want. After a while, they give up. And they’re frustrated. And your company went from “I wonder if I can pay this company to help me achieve what I’m looking to achieve” to “Their website is annoying” to “I wonder who’s on Facebook.”

Compounding the problem, a mobile visitor has different needs than your typical user, and most of their needs revolve around the only thing that matters in mobile: speed. If you sell perfectly crusted pizza and you do takeout, your mobile customer needs your phone number, your address, and an easily viewable menu. Instead, you gave them a song that plays in the background (that they can’t hear anyway), an intro slideshow of pictures of your food that they don’t care about, and a PDF menu that, if downloaded, will take them over their data cap. And your phone number is tiny and in the footer. How does this person feel? Livid. And hungry. Don’t own a pizza joint? The rules still apply, just supplant what someone wants from a pizza restaurant with what they want from your business.

So it really is about empathy. The last thing you want to do is annoy and frustrate your customers, but 28% of your customers are frustrated and annoyed, and you didn’t even do anything. All you did was put together a good website that looks great on your desktop. And you love it! But what if 28% of your website’s visitors don’t? Could that impact your business?

It’s 2014. This means two things: (1) I’m way behind on my blog posts and I need to get back on schedule, and (2) you can no longer afford to ignore the mobile onslaught that’s happening. It’s going to change your business in a big way.