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Mobile Apps: The Future of Marketing?

Laura MacPherson November 9, 2017

When was the last time you left the house without your smartphone? When was the last time you left the room without your smartphone?

Americans today are on the go, and they’re taking the Internet with them. According to Pew Research Center, 77% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, and around half own a tablet. One in ten American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they own a smartphone, but do not have traditional home broadband service. Reliance on mobile devices has never been higher.

Social, Mobile Apps, and Mobile Web Rule

Marketers have taken notice. Companies are focusing on the user experience of everything from their websites to their digital ads. Marketers know that neither consumers nor business buyers have time to waste on marketing that doesn’t connect with them or that isn’t easy to consume.

In partnership with Marketo, the Economist released a report earlier this year looking at the trajectory that digital marketing is taking, and where marketing is likely to be headed into 2020.

The channels that came out on top in the research are the ones that lend themselves to personalizing the customer experience. The report predicts that social media will lead the pack in 2020, with mobile apps and mobile web ranking third and fourth. 

Why is This the Case?

Customer experience drives brand equity. Happy customers share their positive experiences on social media and via word-of-mouth. Even non-customers can have a huge impact on a company when they mention the brand online.

CMOs in industries from fintech to apparel are looking to customer experience as a way to rise ahead of competitors. Marketers are betting that a customized, convenient, enjoyable customer experience will result in customer loyalty. The same Economist report revealed that raising customer loyalty and better brand perception are the two top benefits (both 53%) they expect from a more positive customer experience.

How Mobile Apps Can Elevate the Customer Experience

The benefits of social media to companies are pretty straightforward. But exactly how can mobile apps deliver value? Here are four primary ways.

1. Apps Raise Visibility

An app is visible whenever an individual pulls out his or her smartphone or tablet. If your app (even just the icon) is being viewed regularly, you’re earning mindshare. And not just mindshare — if your app prompts someone to go shopping, you’re going to increase revenue as well.

2. Apps Engage Consumers Before They Become Customers

When you focus your app on experience and engagement, making it fun to use, you’ll attract consumers who relate to your brand but haven’t yet become customers. Once these individuals begin using your app, the barriers to purchase diminish dramatically.

3. Apps Make Buying Easy

If you sell online, an app can significantly increase orders. As we mentioned, a reminder about your company is already sitting on your customers’ smartphones. Just by opening the app, an individual can quickly and easily browse, add items to the cart, and check out — without having to open up a browser app, search, and navigate a website on his or her phone. The easier the buying process is, the more likely that people will complete their purchases. When you add innovative loyalty programs, you provide an even greater incentive.

4. Apps Give Customers Quick Contact Options

Customers expect to be able to get questions answered and resolve problems quickly, and they frequently rely on apps to accomplish this. When customers have outstanding interactions via your app, chances are that they’ll talk about it.

Not Just for Big Business

Smaller companies have a unique opportunity to wow customers with mobile apps, because most small- to mid-sized businesses haven’t yet created a mobile app strategy. Nearly all larger companies are using apps in their marketing to some degree, and it’s a strategy that will continue to become more popular. If SMBs lead their industries in marketing via mobile apps, they can enjoy a competitive advantage.

Want to chat about how your company can take advantage of what a mobile app could offer? Let’s talk!

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