For the most part, apps that live on your mobile devices satisfy personal, social and recreational needs. These are generally monetization models, notably paid-for and in-game purchasing distractions like Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, transport position tracking services like Uber and Lyft, and interfaces for downloading and streaming music like iTunes and Spotify. We’ve come to depend on those colorful icons to thrill us, help us organize our daily activities, track our exercise, and of course, check the weather. In fact, mobile app revenue has more than doubled in the last four years* and while it’s finally leveled off with maturity, many of us interact with a handful of apps daily. Therefore, the question begs: if apps have successfully dug into our personal routines, can we adopt and adapt them to connect industrial companies with their clients? If so, can they be designed not just for ordering purposes but also for more practical functions?
Recently, SMS has been in conversations with a client who wanted to know if it was a cost-effective, technological possibility to build an app for their customers that would help them calculate the correct line of products for a specific application. In use, a customer would input information to satisfy a select number of variables to receive an optimum solution on the spot without the need for Wifi connectivity – essential for when field operations are out of reach of strong signals. In short, a calculator, but one with a very specific purpose that could be remotely updated to reflect the most current product specifications.
We loved the idea, having touched on the use of mobile apps in the past with our industrial clients, and have been waiting for the right time to further explore the possibilities. We knew that our in-depth knowledge of our customers’ markets would play an important role in building an affordable app tool that would deliver just the right user experience and interface parameters. Apps aren’t cheap relatively speaking (simple designs can reach new website numbers and higher), but they can more than pay for themselves in customer service and satisfaction if done correctly. Even more exciting is their ability to deliver push notifications, which allow companies to notify customers of new information without requiring the app to be open. It’s a fairly unobtrusive way to stay in front of your customers if used judiciously.
Apps have other B-2-B benefits, as well. They drive traffic to websites (or can, depending on their design), improving SEO. They have a higher percentage chance of customer interactivity due to their fingertip nature; it’s much easier to use them than it is to launch a browser and pull up a bookmark or input a URL. They’re usually engineered for highly specific purposes so organizing communication channels for content is more easily streamlined (how many marketing projects are currently on hold at your company due to broadly defined content and shifting concept designs?). Apps do what all B-2-B companies hope to do: simplify processes with elegant solutions. They’re a perfect fit.
As marketers, we’re always looking to the future to ensure that we’re offering the most cost-effective and enduring answers to our customers’ questions. We’ve always done the best we could in terms of creating marketing tools in formats that will remain relevant and stretch budget decisions. With phone and tablet technology continually evolving yet holding fast in their roles as important interactive tools, apps not only appear to be here to stay but could still be in their infancy in terms of potential marketing power for industrial marketers.
– S. Norton
For more information on developing apps that will improve customer relationships with your products, feel free to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Or, simply fill out our short contact form.