It’s easy to think about the app landscape as largely consumer facing. And that’s because for the most part, apps started out this way. Applications are meant to help the end user complete a task, and so in its infantile stages, this easily translated into simple productivity apps or games.
Fast forward to 2016 and we are in a brave new world where mobile is now considered first-screen and mobile app usage has increased by 111% since 2013. And with the recent launch of the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel, that number will continue to grow.
One area that is sure to see an uptick in development is B2B apps. Why? Because mobile is now an essential part of modern day business. Gone are the Mad Men days where you left your work at the office. Thanks to technology, we can now complete tasks from virtually anywhere as long as we have a mobile device and a signal.
Forget to send that email while at work? No problem, that’s what the Gmail app is for. Need to get ahold of a co-worker about a deadline? Slack them. Trying to access the latest draft of your Mobile Marketing eBook from the train? Thank you, Google Drive. Mobile grants us the ability to be productive anywhere, at anytime. And thanks to the aforementioned apps, our expectation is that we can carry out virtually any work-related task via mobile.
Because our work habits have shifted, it should be no surprise that B2B companies have started to invest heavily in mobile. A Think With Google study found that 75% of users prefer a mobile friendly site. But despite this fact, it’s surprising to me how many businesses still refuse to create a mobile-friendly version of their site. Mobile friendly doesn’t just mean responsive for mobile, but rather a simplified, task-oriented version of your site that someone can easily consume on the go.
More importantly? If two-thirds of your audience is accessing your information via a mobile device, it’s foolish not to consider investing in a mobile app. Not only is it a much better user experience, but it grants you the ability to tap into valuable insights about your users to build stronger relationships with them and strengthen your product offerings. Furthermore, because of the very nature of many B2B products, having an application is the only way for users to tap into key functionality.
Take DropBox, for example. While in theory, you can upload, sync, and share files via a mobile site, the lag time alone would be killer, never mind the sizeable amount of data you’d burn through in the process. Plus? None of the documents would be easily accessible via your phone.
B2B companies realize this, which is why a recent study by Smart Insights showed that 65% of B2B companies have mobile apps or believe it is a crucial part of their overall strategy.
Another crucial part of the modern day marketer’s strategy? Individualization. It’s no longer beneficial to know your users, it’s a requirement. We expect our experience with brands to be catered to us. We want to access information with just a few swipes of our finger and to seamlessly bounce between our laptop and mobile phone without missing a beat.
If you look at some of the hottest B2B companies in the world right now, they all have incredibly powerful apps (Slack, Expensify, DocuSign) and it’s because they’ve learned what the rest of the B2B world soon will: a website optimized for mobile can’t create the individualized experience B2B companies need to thrive.
While a majority of B2B companies understand the importance of having an app, checking the box isn’t nearly enough. Successful B2B apps must follow the same best practices as B2C; they must be highly personalized and provide value to the user. In other words? They must know their users.
A word of advice to B2B companies looking to invest in a mobile app: If you want to succeed in the app world, make sure your mobile budget accounts for investing in the right tools to allow you know your users, and create the individualized experience they’ve grown to expect.
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