Across multiple platforms there are over a million applications in app stores today. This makes it increasingly difficult to break through the noise to ensure your digital brand experience, whether it be a website, mobile website or app, isn’t lost in the saturated market. While most realize this, I am amazed how often we still hear companies requesting app development without a fully assessed digital strategy. App development isn’t about simply having a presence and assuming an audience will automatically be interested, it is growing more complex each day and requires a great deal more than a slick looking product.
Each day I see two big mistakes companies make with their digital strategy, or lack of. The first, a failure to adequately understand their targeted demographic and what they want or need from an app experience. Building an app takes the same care and planning needed to launch a new product line, expand a marketing initiative or capture a new customer base. Do your research, talk to customers, analyze the current market and then assess if an app is necessary.
The second mistake is the lack of marketing or promotional support around an app to drive awareness of it. With over 820,000 iOS apps alone, the chances of yours rising to the top without a marketing strategy are about the same as striking it rich with that Lottery ticket in your pocket.
It’s important that you (or your developer) take the time to ask key questions before you write a single line of code or begin moving pixels around. There are 10 critical questions you should ask before considering an app for your brand:
1. Why do you need this app?
2. What are all of the digital options you have – is an app the best option?
3. Who are your competitors and what are they doing successfully and/or unsuccessfully?
4. What is the goal of your app? What are you trying to achieve with it?
5. How will you measure success? Brand awareness? Customer loyalty? Added revenues?
6. Are your targeted customers active users of the platform or device you want this app available on? It’s important to note that different demographics gravitate to different device types, there’s no “one device fits all.”
7. Are you prepared to customize your offering based on the device platform?
8. Do you have a marketing strategy for your app to amplify its discoverability?
9. How will you manage updates and customer feedback? Will you utilize it?
10. Do you have the team, resources and commitment to optimize the app and maintain the dialogue with your customers once it goes live and beyond?
Digital strategy cannot live in isolation from the existing activities or history of your brand. The goal and message of the digital strategy must be on brand or at least on your brand aspirations. You can no longer develop and launch an app just because everyone else is doing it. It needs to serve a purpose, fulfill a need and return results. This will only become more evident as your efforts compel your audience to move from a bystander to involved and engaged advocates.
By, Steve Jackson, Smashing Ideas CEO