Twenty-three, that’s right, I’ve thrown away twenty-three pieces of direct marketing leaflets that came through my postbox this week. My junk e-mail folder sees even more action every day. That’s why I signed up to the Telephone Preference Service, as that at least eliminates marketing phone calls. I’m a modern consumer, I’m happy, I’m used to being bombarded with messages and ignoring them.

How does this affect the marketer trying to sell me their wares? Lots of wasted effort, potentially annoying potential customers and hoping some of the messages will convert into sales. But even if people do read their carefully crafted messages the chances of them buying anything are slim.

The average person in the UK picks up their smartphone at 07.31am. In the list of things people use a smartphone for, making a phone call is number 6 (down from 5 last year). What people do use everyday on their iPhone and Samsung Galaxy mobile devices is apps. Marketers have grabbed onto this opportunity making apps a massive money making business. But where will they take us and how much will we depend on them?

The reason apps are the talk of the marketing community is partly due to the high level of associated data that becomes available. Apps set-up in the right way will allow analytics including the number of downloads, usage, behavior etc. Social media apps have become a marketers dream. With Twitter focusing more on analytics and Snapchat launching their discovery platform, tapping into ‘dark social’, marketers have access to consumer activity and stats like never before.

The Internet of Things has revolutionised the apps industry and the impact they have on our day to day lives, making it more important than ever to be ahead of the game. Consumers are expecting more functionality, more simplicity and more access. Within the next few years we will be in a position to say ‘where there’s a problem, there’s an app’.

So what should you consider before creating an app for a client?

1. Launching an app requires careful consideration.

Do you want to deliver a communication app, an information app or a transactional app? In reality a combination is often the best approach. Where will your customers be when they use your app? It is worth testing different concepts. Then work with an experienced app developer - a web designer is not what you are looking for.

2. Functionality of the app for users is paramount.

People must want to use your app on a regular basis and come to depend on it. The more daily users your app has, the bigger your marketing audience is. A good experienced app company will help you stimulate your app downloads. Providing incentives that get users to share the app on social media can generate great results.

3. If you want an app to market your business, service or product...

...stop and take a step back and hit the pause button. This is the time to get your planning right: what do you want to achieve? What actions or behaviours are you trying to induce from your users? This is no different to most marketing activity, be clear and get it right at this stage and success usually follows.

4. Don’t over complicate your app either.

It’s best to launch a v1.0 quickly and upgrade and develop it as you go, in conjunction with your supplying partner rather than to delay and try to include everything straight away. Also remember that you can have more than one app, targeted for different groups or purposes.

One thing is for sure; your customers might leave their keys at home, but they rarely forget to take their phone with them (and even if they leave their keys at home, sure enough there will be an app to tell them very soon!) Do you want your app to be with your customers every day? This is marketing in 2015.


By Kevin Harrington, Results Through Digital

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