How to put mobile apps at the heart of your marketing strategy

In the lead up to his Mobile App Masterclass at Mumbrella 360 tomorrow, Vijay Solanki explores four world class examples of integrating mobile apps into marketing strategy.

Trevor Edwards, Nike’s top marketer and president, said in 2010: ‘We’re not in the business of lining the pockets of media companies, our consumers come to us several times a week’.

Nike are the corporate poster child for mobile at the heart of their marketing strategy. Over the past 10 years, Nike have shifted most of their marketing spend from advertising to digital and specifically into mobile apps.

vijay solanki

Just search the app store and you’ll find Nike+ Running, Nike+ Training Club, Nike Football, Nike+ Fuel, Nike+ Moves to name a few.

The marketing model for Nike is engagement driven and mobile apps have become the platform to deliver this.

nike apps

Exactly, one year ago this Wednesday, Apple gave an update on apps at its Annual Developer Conference. It was a great moment to take stock on the growth of apps. Some headline facts include: (source: Apple 2015)

  • 1. The Apple app store launched in 2008 with 500 apps
  • 2. By June 2015, there were 1.5 million apps
  • 3. The growth to 50m users of apps took only 17 months – faster than Facebook (which took four years) and any traditional media
  • 4. Apple claims to have 5 billion app downloads (although monthly active usage is what really matters)

mobile phone - ThinkstockPhotos-476342712Other data points also show powerful mobile app trends: (source: Flurry 2015)

  • 1. USA mobile usage has had consecutive growth for seven years. By last year, it reached 3 hours and 40 minutes daily – a 43-minute increase in the previous six months
  • 2. What is also significant is that 90% of mobile activity is now app based
  • 3. Mobile browsing has declined to only 10% of the time spent daily
  • 4. Social, messaging and entertainment apps account for 51% of time spent on mobile, so mobile apps are more important than ever. But they are still misunderstood.

To quote Mark Ritson, too many marketers rush towards ‘the shiny shiny’.

The smart organisations have taken the time to nail strategy and look at where a mobile app might fit. The challenge is that mobile apps are not finite products. You don’t just plan and build them.

You start with a proposition and build a MVP (minimal viable product) and then you evolve the app over time based on data, consumer feedback and a roadmap. The mobile app is then updated every few weeks. Take the Philips Hue app – it has been updated more than 20 times in two years.

Philips Hue app x 4 phones

Philips’ Hue app: updated more than 20 times in two years

Often there are twists, turns and pivots on the way. If you plan to build a strong mobile app program or ecosystem, you need to commit to the journey. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

The issue is that whilst everyone wants an app, almost 90% of all mobile apps are discarded or unused after two weeks. Just think of your own behaviour.

You will likely have a core portfolio of apps and then a group that are used seasonally. It becomes harder and harder to get an app into your core portfolio and you need utility, sociability or entertainment to make the secondary of portfolio.

apps mobile phone digital social -ThinkstockPhotos-486378197

What becomes critical for the mobile app plan is to:

  • 1. Build a strong value proposition
  • 2. Map out a consumer journey and identify both opportunities and issues for the app to resolve
  • 3. Pick the most important use cases and start to prototype
  • 4. Use behavioural insight to go deeper into the use cases and ultimately define user experience.

In the Mobile App Masterclass at Mumbrella 360, I’ll go through the behavioural insight in detail. We’ll explore a few examples and then explore four world class mobile apps using a heuristics based model.

We’ll go deep into behavioural economics and UX. You’ll walk away with a greater awareness of what to consider when thinking mobile app as part of your marketing strategy.

Vijay Solanki is the departing chief digital officer at Southern Cross Austereo. He was Shazam’s first marketing director, and headed digital marketing for BlackBerry Europe and built several mobile services for Philips Global Headquarters


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