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  • Writer's pictureBob Salmasi

What's your app strategy?

In a world where 95% of the population has a mobile phone as a brand surely you have to ask yourself what's your app strategy? I mean do you even have one? Do you need one?

Well, yes - you do. When the majority of the population has a device in their pocket that they look at several times a day, then surely the prize is to not only have an app, but to develop an app that (a) serves a purpose and (b) is enveloped into a communication plan that keeps you engaged with your consumers.

Now I'm not an app "geek" but I have built a few in my time and whilst the prize for marketeers, for me at least, has to be how do they get a piece of this "marketing real-estate" the task is not not that easy.

For a start, most of the population have between 0-10 or 10-20 apps on their phone. But if you look at the apps they carry and use the top 10 are social media apps. Which in a way is good, but for a brand it is a challenge. It's a challenge because you either have to displace one of these apps or give them a really good reason (in the words of Spinal Tap - sorry couldn't resist it) "go to 11".

Also, from my very basic research, approximately 9/10 apps that people download are deleted the same day. So if you develop an app that encourages people to download it, chances are that after all that hard work - you're gonna get deleted!

That said, the prize is worth the investment - in my simple world people download apps for two main reasons (1) the app is functionally benefical in some way e.g. train times (2) brand relevance - you have a strong interest in that brand or at the very least you want to be associated with it.

For me an app is a direct line to a brand and as such represents a loyalty programme. A digital interface, much like TV only so much better with the same audience potential - Got you thinking? Perhaps you should be spending a little more money on your app (not apps - you only need one) and a hell of a lot more on your engagement strategy.

What apps arent for - firing off weekly content low, benefit low emails. Too many make the mistake of firing off too many pieces of communication with no real apparent relevance or content - it just becomes wallpaper. But that's nothing new, brands have been making that mistake with their loyalty programmes for decades.

If you have a device that gets your consumers attention immediately and in real time - use it strategically not as a scattergun. Also, whilst it will make a difference to your bottom line and increase sales - don't see it as a direct selling tool - relevance and content packaged with the right brand propositions and incentives will take care of that.

Lastly, find a functional service that also engages the consumer, some easier method of communicating with you, or checking your bill or finding out about new products / content. Apps aren't just there so you can have a one way communication with consumers, make it a two way vehicle.

Because once you have a relevant app, with a functional and emotional reason for having one of those prized positions on your consumers phones you will have the prize in your hands. A direct loyalty engagement platform that if planned and used correctly will build closer relationships with potentially bigger audience sizes that haven't been seen on TV channels since the 80's.

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