How to create a mobile application for a brand or start-up

Wherever you are, most of people around you look at their mobile phones displays: in a subway, in shops, in cafes. They go online and access social networking sites from mobile devices and actively use mobile apps. The question arises – what are businesses, brands, and startups to do about this as it looks like their audience is steeped in mobile devices. 

Brands and young entrepreneurs who decided that their audience comes from mobile channel wonder if they really need to do anything about this. An agency shows them remarkable cases and tells that even inRussiathere are about 40 million active mobile users. That is, promises significant coverage. But those who are engaged in mobile app marketing would answer in a more serious way: “Why one would need a mobile application?” 

1. Amobile application is required because it relates to sales and business. Users search the information about products from their mobile devices, take pictures of product labels with their mobile devices in order to compare the prices later with online shops prices. And they make purchases directly from their mobile phones. With notable brand online presence in the mobile world its products will be more likely to be purchased.  

2. Here are some marketing app tips: mobile app promotion may serve as a constant feedback tool. A user is face to face with mobile application as opposed to social networking site, so the perception is different. For example, it is much easier to order tickets or flowers using a mobile application. And you are able to collect the information about users’ preferences and establish a contact with them. 

3. The application has an emotional component. Users are supposed to access it more and more in case they like it. 

In such a way, application may become a business tool; it may increase sales volume, improve the quality of service, and please your customers. 

Harris Interactive Company having polled 781 mobile users figured out that the majority (76%) suppose every brand to have its mobile application to simplify the purchase process and communication with a company. 

Certainly, there are some particularities and often unexpected ones for those who are used to working in other marketing areas. The same research has shown that 38% of those who answered to the poll were unsatisfied with most of favorite brands’ apps. The main causes of discontent are: inconvenient, unnecessary, one-off app. 

While working with an app one should remember that details are important. Some minor details may turn out to be a great problem. For example, if you do not come up with idea how to automatically update application you are going to lose users because they will quickly get tired of constantly downloading the new version.   

There are even more app marketing tips: 

  1. Push notifications may be of great help, but they also may spoil everything. You need to set up the applications in such a way so they would change depending on user’s needs and activities history, and would offer exactly what a user was looking for but not spam. 
  1. Local context is one of the key concepts in mobile marketing. Not search context but geo-local in particular. We know where a user is and what time it is now, and we know what he was browsing 2 minutes ago. And so we are able to make that personalized offer so the customer would be really grateful. You just need to know when to stop when working with geo-targeting. 
  1. Integration with social media. Social networking sites are closely related to mobile devices. For example, 80% of Facebook users check their accounts from smartphones and tablets. Facebook knows and already performs mobile app advertising offering users to install applications directly from feeds. We advise to always provide connection between your application and social networking sites. 
  1. Simple commercial engine. Mobile application is a business tool. That is why it is supposed to have a very simple and comprehensible decision with commercial offer. For example, a user is able to order food by means of an app or address a promo-offer that directly stimulates making a purchase. 
  1. The key moment is simplicity. Most of users (73%) suppose that       application must be even easier in use than a website version. 

Here are some good examples of this approach: 

1) Converse Sampler. This is the simplest application with based augmented reality. One chooses a model of sneakers, turns a camera on, and point the phone at feet to see those sneakers on feet. Ingenious simplicity of this solution is that the application offers to buy a pair right after that virtual trying on and receive them the next day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4NzB5Cb6HNk 

This application ideally combines almost everything one may need: really comprehensible interface with just two buttons and possibility of instant payment inside the application. You can entertain yourself and buy a pair of sneakers at the same time.    

Appstore 

2) Band Aid Magic Vision. A second example is a Cannes Gold winning case of a Band Aid brand adhesive bandages manufacturers. There exists such a problem: young children are really hard to be caught. And even if they get hurt and you try to heal the hurt by putting an adhesive bandage they will most likely try to escape or resist. Previously, adhesive bandages with funny pictures were manufactured, but in the era of mobile technologies Band Aid decided to animate those pictures. Moreover, they made the app featuring legendary Muppet Show (do you remember Kermit the Frog?). So you just need to give your smartphone to a child and he or she will instantly forget about all the troubles and will play an exciting game. 

The following is really great about this application: it motivates to buy certain adhesive bandages. And if you have young children then those adhesive bandages are goods of prime necessity. And one more simple and universal solution in terms of technology allows almost every month update the content. You may add new characters, make up new games, or even come up with completely new theme.

So they won Gold atCannes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lm5-KPW0x3U 

3) REI Snow report. 

Here is one more interesting case from America – REI, online shop selling sports and outdoors gear. On the base of audience assessment the shop decided to make mobile app, not a shop client but a fully-featured service for a separate customer category. As a result, they created a quality product showing weather conditions for different ski resorts with forecasts and recommendations on suitable equipment. Certainly, if during analyzing users understood that something important was forgotten they are able to immediately check the address of the nearest REI off-line store, construct a path to it and make a dive into a shop to buy all the things needed.

In this given case it was a good idea to take a different tack and so the brand won. Because the application turned out to be useful not only for the store customers but for those who ski and snowboard in general. In such a way they could become new store customers. 

Appstore

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