Direct Marketing Article
Does Your Business Really Need An App for
By David M. Mastovich
Smart phones now account for 27% of the mobile phone market led by nearly 50
million iPhone or Android users worldwide. Those seemingly smart consumers
want to be able to communicate, buy and enjoy, whatever they want, whenever
they want. As a result, more than 400,000 mobile applications or apps have
been developed in the last three years.
So does your business need a mobile app right now?
The most used mobile apps are for playing games, catching up on news, sports
and weather, social networking and listening to music. But there are a
number of successful business apps too.
When it comes to food, apps are a natural fit. In its first three months,
the Domino's Pizza app generated more than $2 million in orders. The app
made it easy and fast to order and engaged customers with opportunities to
win prizes. Restaurants can feature menus and allow users to make
reservations. Other apps help people find restaurants and some even show
photos of dishes people have uploaded.
Nike Training Club is targeted at women and designed to be a full-body
training app with workouts and drills focusing on strength, cardio and core
training. Local fitness centers post the workout of the day to motivate
members. Health and fitness club "finder apps" help travelers locate a gym
and get a workout in while on the road.
Entertainment, music, books, magazines, and even birthday, anniversary and
holiday gift shopping are increasingly done via mobile. It's estimated that
the value of digital and physical goods people will buy with their mobile
phones will reach $200 billion globally by 2012. Amazon's app compares
prices from local retailers for over a million products sold on Amazon.com.
These examples and other success stories show how apps can help companies
achieve the following:
1. Brand-Many of the "first-to-app" companies were those with famous brands
like Nike, Coke and Domino's. Apple pretty much created the app space. As a
result, there's a cutting edge or coolness factor associated with having an
app. If your company creates an app and markets it via multiple channels,
the opportunity exists to enhance your brand.
2. Please-Consumers want convenience. You can make or keep customers happy
by making their lives easier. If they can learn about and buy from your
company quickly and easily, you can please them. When you provide them with
valuable, timely information, you keep them happy and your company (and app)
becomes a part of their routine.
3. Connect-Think in terms of those Health & Fitness apps. The user has an
ongoing, positive connection with the company. You have an opportunity to
achieve regular marketing touches in a non-marketing manner through feel
4. T. O.- No, not the football player/reality show guy. Track & Optimize.
When customers use your app, you have information to track and trend. Plus,
your mobile app helps with Search Engine Marketing in that your company name
is online one more time.
But before you jump on the mobile app bandwagon, you still need to consider
Today's smart phones have capabilities nearly to the level of desktops and
support both regular websites and mobile versions. As a result, you might be
able to achieve your goals in a more cost effective way by creating a mobile
version of your website.
Some companies require more capabilities for mobile than their regular
website offers. In those instances, a mobile app and the cost associated
with it make sense. But for many others, simply developing the mobile
version of the website will suffice or be even better than the app. For
example, Wikipedia's mobile site is tailored to fit the size of the screen
it is viewed on and seems more user friendly than the app.
If you have weighed the benefits vs. the overhead costs of developing the
app and decided it is time to move forward, remember to make it about
them-your current and potential customers:
• Begin by identifying the "who" as in who is the target market for the app
and why they would use or need it.
• Provide fresh, updated content that adds value for users. The more time
sensitive, the better. Announce specials and provide new information.
• Remember it is about convenience for them. Make their lives easier and
become part of their routine as much as possible. Build an app for each
mobile phone platform so it is available for anyone that wants to use it.
• Make sure the app does something and isn't just a mobile website.
Otherwise, why make the bigger investment?
• Get the word out about the app. Tell current and potential customers about
it and give them a compelling reason to use it. Utilize multiple mediums
like e-mail, text, Twitter, your website and others to reach them.
Your business may or may not need a mobile app today. But you definitely
need to analyze the opportunity and enhance your mobile presence now and in
About the Author:
David M. Mastovich, MBA is President of MASSolutions, Inc. With a core
philosophy of integrated marketing, MASSolutions focuses on improving the
bottom line for clients through creative selling, messaging and PR
solutions. In his recent book, "Get Where You Want To Go: How to Achieve
Personal and Professional Growth Through Marketing, Selling and Story
Telling," Mastovich offers strategies to improve sales and generate new
customers; management and leadership approaches; and creative marketing, PR
and communications ideas. For more information, please visit