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Posted by Marlon on October 24, 2013

As we all know, content marketing, customer engagement and internet browsing is quickly ‘going mobile.’  There is no second guessing the impact of mobile media as smartphone and tablet ready content is quickly replacing traditional, copy heavy pages found on outdated websites.

Unfortunately, this has a lot of executives and marketing directors jumping the gun and wanting an app for their own business or next campaign pitch, even though they may not know what they want the app to ‘do.’  This isn’t necessarily wrong, however it is crucial to understand how an app or mobile-targeted content can benefit your business before diving headfirst into your marketing budget to develop one.

As you review your overall mobile marketing strategy, it is important to remember that it’s more than just building an application. An app can be a great engagement medium, but it isn’t necessarily the right solution for every business type and consumer need. You need to evaluate these issues, listen to what your customers want, and as Michael Becker and John Arnold write in Mobile Marketing for Dummies, ask yourself these key questions:

  • Is my audience or target market using mobile devices? According to 2012 – 2013 stats, up to 50%% of Canadians own a smartphone. While that is rather high and will only increase, that’s still 50% of consumers that can’t use an app. If you’re looking to reach the masses with your message, you need to evaluate how many of your customers are actually using mobile devices.
  • Do you really need a mobile app or mobile website? If you don’t have the real need or budget to build an app but want to make an impact on mobile devices, you can look at developing a mobile or ‘responsive’ version of your existing website which will display information in a more optimized format for display on smartphones and tablets. This allows your customers to easily access the information on your website in a more engaging format without spending too much time and money to develop a ‘native’ application.
  • What phones/devices do your customers typically use? Given that all mobile devices adhere to different platforms and operating systems, it is handy to know what platforms the majority of your customers are on. For example, corporate clients may be using Blackberry or Android predominantly, whereas lifestyle brands may see their customer base using Apple products more so than other platforms. By understanding which platform your customers ‘live’ on, you can eliminate the need to port your app to multiple platforms, saving you time, money and unnecessary headaches.

“Even if you think you have a great idea for an application, that’s such a small part of the equation,” says Professor Rahul Mangharam, the chair of Electric & Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science, which has a Masters and Undergraduate program focused on developing businesses and applications. “Whether it’s a student or company, it’s easy to forget about what you’re really trying to achieve with the app because you become so focused on the actual look and feel. The best applications don’t just look good, they actually solve a problem or simplify life for the mobile consumer.”

In simpler terms, what utility or use will your app have to your customer? Studies indicate the overall ‘success rate’ of an app can be measured by how often users engage with it, with most users indicating that the overall usefulness of the app is a factor that keeps them coming back.

Contact BTI today to learn more about developing an app or mobile friendly website that is best suited to your brand and business objectives!