Does Your Brand Need a Mobile App? Yes.

1.  Mobile strategy enhances customer loyalty

Your brand has a terrific website, perhaps mobile optimized. That’s great, but here’s why you need your own branded app.

The old  realestate rule still rings true.  It’s all about location, location, location.  But in a mobilized world, location means location-aware boundaries. When a consumer enters, exits or lingers within your boundaries, you reach out and engage with offers and promotions that are timely, location specific and in-context. Only possible with installed apps, this key part of your Mobile strategy enhances customer loyalty, and re-defines brand interaction. It seems like only yesterday that brands were scrambling to get Twitter profiles and Facebook Pages.  Now, those things seem ancient as brands are realizing that mobile is the future (a future that’s already here).

2.  Consumer behavioral shift from desktop to mobile.

As if location wasn’t reason enough to include a branded app in your mobile marketing mix, consider the consumer trends -  see the image below the article.
People are voting with their feet…err thumbs!  Your customers expect you to have a first class app available on every platform (Android/iPhone/Windows Mobile/Blackberry) that will allow them to interact with your brand as well as make purchases.   The mall space has blown open and shopping has become intimate, mobile and always open for business.

3.  User experience

No matter what anyone tells you, a well designed native app, running on the consumers own device, always provides a better user experience than any mobile enabled website.  In order to stay competitive in this tough new neighborhood you must  have a glossy User Experience and a compelling app custom made for your brand.  Oh yeah, and a native app will run even if cell phone service fails. Imperative in an “always on, always connected” world.

In the fight for consumer attention, the brand with incredible custom apps, the most consumer installs and intelligent use of location geofencing will dominate brands who have neglected their mobile strategy.  Prime physical retail space and a flashy retail experience is no longer good enough. The game has changed.

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4.   Practical bits.

In the last year mobile analytics claims 91 of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app (up from 51 just 18 months ago). Brands in every industry are launching branded mobile apps, and executives are demanding that brands get on board the mobile app train because it’s the cool thing to do. It doesn’t matter if a mobile strategy has been developed for a brand. Everyone else is doing it so few brands are confident enough to ignore the mobile movement.

So on the surface idea sounds great, right? We can use the big brand name to get people to install our application, and then we can market to them via the palm of their hand whenever we want. If you’re a big brand,  no doubt you will get a ton of downloads. But downloads don’t measure success. Most brands treat their mobile applications as an advertisement. No one wants to download an ad.

Building a mobile strategy is more than just having your own application. It means working with third-party mobile apps, mobile ad networks, and using offline marketing to drive further use in mobile. Here are four things to remember as you consider a mobile strategy — and some reasons why you should expand your mobile strategy past just your mobile app.

You don’t launch a television station so you can market your brand on television. Imagine your brand invented new product.. You want to make sure that everyone knows about your new Toilet Paper Square Roll. Do you launch Toilet Paper TV? No! You find television networks and more specifically programs that can reach your relevant consumers. Why? Because even if you did launch your own TV network, it doesn’t mean people are going to watch it. Don’t build an app just to get downloads; build something people will actually use.
Building a mediocre app is just as bad as selling a mediocre product. The power of mobile is that you can interact with a consumer at any moment. However, would you want someone buying your new cereal if it tasted bad? No! They would never buy it again. So why would you want them to download a mediocre mobile app? It’s like airing a bad TV commercial; it will not end in the desired result.
It’s ok to give up a little bit of control. Control is tempting. Creating your own app lets you control the message, and you don’t have to worry about a third-party partner creating a bad experience for your customers. And yes, there are big brands that have made some amazing mobile applications. But just because you are big and have a brand name doesn’t mean that you need to control the customer experience.  There are successful third-party mobile apps that can reach your users better than you can. Embrace them.

Our advice is this: Have your own app, but your entire mobile marketing strategy should not stop at building one. But if you are going to invest in your own app, make it something that you would want to use. No one wants to download an ad. Take a deep breath and look at the broader picture. It’s ok to give up some control. Third-party apps are going to engage your consumers whether or not you are involved. Why not be a part of it?

 

 


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