You made a strategic (and smart) decision to build an app and add it to your marketing mix. It’s not easy to align resources, people, and tech to accomplish this, so you deserve a hearty pat on the back for your leadership swagger.
But now, the other big thing keeping you up at night is fear that your app’s main competitor will be… your own website.
You’re worried that your foray into mobile will be marked by the cannibalization of your other marketing channels. Will the growth of your app come at the cost of your email, online, or brick-and-mortar success?
Not if you play your cards right. Not if you understand your app’s place in your marketing ecosystem.
You don't need to be afraid of your website losing power - the best apps work with other components of your ecosystem, not against. The best apps don’t exist in a silo, cordoned off from a company’s other marketing initiatives. On the contrary, they fill gaps, innovatively address problems, and seamlessly connect to your other channels.
Isolated, your app is merely another promotional tool. Integrated, your app can boost your entire business. Here’s how CMOs, VPs, and other marketing heads can build a cohesive mobile strategy.
Assigning ownership of your app is a tricky thing. Which department do you hold responsible for bringing your app to life? The product team or the marketing team?
The answer is both, right from the start.
Alone, a team of developers and designers will deliver an app that’s full of slick features, responsive to screen size, with a beautiful user interface. With marketing’s early involvement, you can also be sure that app features match people’s needs and goals, there is a solid launch plan in place, and thought has been given to how you will earn, engage, nurture, and retain users.
Don’t blindside your customers with an app that looks and feels foreign to your other marketing channels. But don’t duplicate your website for smartphones, or squeeze your emails into a push/in-app message, either. Take advantage of mobile’s unique strengths (like high-quality cameras, touch screens, etc.) and add some innovative app-specific functionality.
For example, although Amazon’s app includes the ecommerce giant’s most used and most loved web features, it also allows shoppers to find items by simply scanning them (something shoppers can’t do on its website).
Continuity between devices and channels is becoming increasingly important. Brands need to provide customers with a consistent experience as they move from your store to your website, and from your website to your app.
Did someone add an item to their shopping cart on your website? Make that item visible in their mobile shopping cart too. Did someone sign up for a rewards card in your store? Use this new information about their demographics and in-store buying patterns to better personalize your app marketing. Has someone ignored your last 10 emails? Try using enticing push alerts to re-engage them with your brand.
The point is: your app should absorb behavioral and profile data about your users from many different channels (in addition to monitoring people’s in-app behavior and attributes). You can only deliver the most relevant, timely, and targeted experience if you understand what your users are doing inside your app, and who they are in the real world.
A well-integrated app will amplify, not diminish, the success of your other marketing endeavors. How? Because it will be able to usher customers to the most appropriate place based on what they’re trying to do, and make your traditional channels more interactive.
When someone reads an article in-app, your app should provide a frictionless way to share that article on social media and nudge them to follow your brand on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Similarly, if someone wants to see or try on your products, your app should surface the nearest store’s address.
For example, Target’s app helps increase traffic to its physical locations. By providing aisle maps and speedier checkouts, Target’s app makes in-store shopping more efficient.
Finally, keep in mind that your app is not just a vehicle for growing sales and increasing leads; it can help you retain customers and deliver post-purchase support too.
Think about the scenarios in which loyal customers would turn to your app. How can your app provide customer service? How can it collect feedback? How can it simplify common customer processes?
The answers to these questions will vary based on your business, but some examples of solving for your customers including adding a click-to-call button that connects people to reps, and one-touch reordering. In a nutshell, make things easier and faster for your customers.
Take a look at Zipcar’s app. It introduces newbies to the company’s service and improves the lives of its current members by transforming into a digital key that can unlock cars.
An old proverb goes, “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Your app is an extension of your brand. It would be a huge missed opportunity if you released it into the wild without integrating it with the rest of your marketing family.
An app that exists in isolation will either fade into obscurity or play tug-of-war for customers, dollars, and time with your other channels. To help you avoid these pitfalls and turn your app into a vital part of your organization, we’ve compiled 21 tips and examples into an eBook. Click below to learn how to connect your app with your website, email, print collateral, social media, and more.
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