Before deciding which of the operating systems suits your company best, or in which way an app should be developed, the examination and elaboration of basic concepts and possible targeting is relevant.

Then, depending on the strategy and idea, the most appropriate technical solutions can be identified.

Apps are typically related to marketing themes and all kind of areas in a company, since they can support internal processes, improve customer relationships, reduce costs through self-service, but especially portray brands and sell directly. Apps are not only an advertising medium, but are as universal as the Internet itself.

The basic procedure in your app strategy can be based on four pillars:

  1. Optimization of the stationary web presence towards mobile and app-capable phones, which is quite complex due to the fact there are some 4,500 different devices available;
  2. Guidance to the mobile site with mobile marketing;
  3. Development of at least one app with a differentiating value of benefit;
  4. Use of mobile and app-enabled end devices as a business tool.

Always ask yourself the question where and how all your internal and external audiences are connected with your company/brand and in particular, which mobile situations. The app usage is always behaviourally- or situationally-oriented, which makes the service more important than information or advertising communication. The app must be something valuable and present a kind of support in the (daily) personal or professional lives of the audience.

Thus, it's absolutely not about advertising, but the challenge to enrich the respective situation or the brand-related behavior with more appropriate values. This may be related to the timeliness of the situation, which means the supply of available information on the spot, or a combination of the behavior with the social network of the user, or in combination with the location and time of the user - or all together, paired with appropriate business processes. App Marketing will therefore develop more towards specific business models that complement the purely physical products to products with integrated marketing and communications services.

Cost of an app

Regardless of the platform, three broad cost dimensions can be identified, which can be used for the classification of idea and functionality. If the idea for another platform gets implemented, the budget should be increased by at least another two-thirds. Further it should be calculated in an appropriate media budget for publicizing the app which should be at least as much as the cost of the development itself. The third cost factor to consider is on-going maintenance and expansion, which accumulate costs that are comparable with the development cost per year.

The following magnitude orders, in the development of an app, need to be multiplied at least by three to have any chance of success in the App Economy.

Success Factors

Make sure that the app has a specific benefit, a relevant service or entertainment, or both: does it bring joy and make people laugh, or give access to extraordinary content? Does the app have an impressive usability? Is the content automatically updated and does it grow over time? Can the content enrich social web activities or interact with them? Does the app solve a problem or meet the needs of a specific niche audience? Is the idea new, innovative or evaluating an existing one, does it bring out the best of the hardware and software? Does the app provide something that your website still doesn't?

Longer term you should have more in mind to create, namely a platform, not a campaign. Provide regularly updates and new features and respond to comments and requests of the users. Furthermore, make sure to develop locally relevant content: market-specific in the national language, suitable to the culture and end devices available in the market. If the app is available in the local language, the increase in the number of downloads is usually 18% to 22%.

Give agencies and developers sufficient time and budgets for well thought-through concepts, planning, implementation and testing. Incorporate your app strategy into the overall marketing strategy of your company and introduce your app across all channels - externally and internally.

Finally, never stop developing new ideas. Take advantage of new trends and try new things out!

A step into the App Economy is necessary and will never be completed as it is a continuing progress. Right after launching your app will come the optimization and the development of new apps - just as the fast paced online marketing has been and always will be in the future.

By Daniela La Marca