There is no benefit in developing an app for its own sake – yet we can’t count the number of times we’ve heard the statement “we just want an App”.
As with every piece of marketing, you need to start by asking some key questions – ideally even before the decision to make an app is taken – or, at the very least, at the start of the development process.
This might seem an obvious thing to say, but the App market today is a bit like the website market of 12 years ago.
Then, everyone wanted a website and every business saw websites as a massive opportunity. At the height of the dot.com boom, loads of money was thrown at companies that didn’t have a real business plan – but were built around the idea that they were ‘on the web’ with an amazing offer. It seemed that having a website concept was enough – you just needed to throw enough money at it for it to work.
It didn’t – and the same lesson applies now. An App is an ideal solution for some businesses and some issues – but it’s not a catch-all solution for everyone. You might think that an app is a passport to success – but if you don’t think it through, you could just be wasting money and possibly annoying customers, too.
That’s because too many companies are jumping on the bandwagon – the market is being flooded with Apps that may have high production values, but lack any real substance. Apps where the connection to the brand, the product range and fundamentally to the audience – is questionable at best.
Today, everyone is being asked to download apps – and resistance is already growing. So, begin with three crucial questions – Who, How and Why? Each of these should be treated as a development gate – if you can’t answer it adequately, then maybe you shouldn’t go ahead.
- Who – Who do you intend to reach? Try to avoid generalisations such as “everyone” – this is rarely, if ever, appropriate. Apps are best targeted at a specific pool of users. So who are they – what motivates them, what do they hope to get from your app? This is especially important if the target audience has a relationship with you already – as existing customers, you really don’t want to let them down.
- How – How do you want them to interact with the app? And how will you deliver it to them – on which devices and platforms? (Android, Apple or others?). The functionality of an App designed to be used on the move and across a range of devices can be vastly different to one with a more limited use e.g. by visitors to a single event or exhibition.
- Why – There are two complementary aspects here. Why will our target audience use the app and why do we want them to use it at all? Setting motivational objectives for the audience and business objectives for yourselves are crucial to success.
And finally, remember another lesson from history. We used to say “you can have the best website in the world, but its no good if no-one ever reads it”. Well, the same applies to Apps. Its no good just creating one – you have to promote it too.
If you want to find out more, feel free to get in touch.