There’s an App for That! Does Your Business Need a Mobile App?

Do you need a mobile app


Posted: September 3, 2015 | Mobile Marketing

According to Statista, there are approximately 1.2 million apps in the Apple App store and 1.3 million apps in the Android App store. So it’s no longer news that there is an app for everything, but it might make you wonder, “Do I need an app?” A question that’s often followed by the conundrum of what app to build, followed quickly by how to build an app and then “what’s my role in building an app?” Don’t let those questions or puzzlement be a deal-breaker or a barrier for you as a mobile marketer. In this blog, I’ll walk you through evaluating how you can (and if you should) use an app to support your business and how to get the project moving along.

Why Build a Mobile App?

There are a ton of reasons, but let’s start at the top: mobile apps can support your business goal, whether it’s to extend your product, drive engagement, or support commerce. They provide an opportunity to drive deep engagement with your customers on the device that they use most (who else feels lost without their phone? I know it’s not just me…).

Introducing a mobile app into your marketing plan is a critical and strategic move. It’s vital that you integrate its creation into your marketing strategy and that you’re involved in some of the technical aspects of the mobile app creation and implementation. As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that the app includes multiple engagement touch-points that create a personal and relevant experience for your customers.

Set Your Stakeholder Team

So how do you get started? App marketing starts with creating a strategy that addresses and supports your mobile and organizational goals. The first step is evaluating whether a mobile app is right for your business, but to do that, you need to assemble a cross-functional team of stakeholders to determine whether an app will deliver the right type of value.

First, you need to assemble your app team. This is often a large committee of involved stakeholders for key decisions, but you may also want to split into sub-groups focused on individual tasks.

For example, maybe your engineering and user interface teams act as a sub-committee to project manage the development of your app, while marketing and sales works together to create an effective launch plan for your app. As you think about whom to include in your committee, here is a list of stakeholder groups you should consider:

  • Executive Leadership (CMO, CEO): Supports the initiative with vision and buy-in.
  • Marketing: Supports the initiative with go-to-market planning, app marketing strategy, and customer insights.
  • Sales: If you have a sales team, make sure they support the initiative with customer knowledge and requests.
  • User Interface and User Experience Experts: Support the initiative by providing app flow guidance and design expertise.
  • Product: Supports the initiative by sharing data-based customer insights and market data. They may project manage the app build.
  • Engineering: Supports the initiative by either building the app or helping source good developers to build your app. They may project manage the app build.

Determine Your App Goals

After you’ve defined your team, the next step is to reach a consensus and define your app’s goals. Defining the goals is important because it will shape how you make key decisions. To start, you and your team need to understand why you want someone to use your app. What is the purpose? The majority of apps boil down to trying to achieve one of these three goals:

  1.  Acquisition: Your app provides useful functionality in exchange for the user providing contact information. These types of apps are typically promoted in the app store and via paid channels to drive downloads and subsequent sign-up.
  2.  Engagement: The activities and associated actions in your app drive the user to engage with the app and your brand. These types of apps build relationships and loyalty.
  3.  Conversion: The activities and actions in these apps may have components of engagement, but ultimately, they drive conversion.

Get Started!

Once you have determined the primary goal of your app, you and your stakeholder committee have important questions to evaluate and decide. These questions will shape how you go about the production, development, and promotion of your app. These key questions include:

  • What type of app best fits your organization?
  • How should you price your app?
  • Will you design your app in-house or through an app design firm?
  • What is your app development timeline?
  • How will you take your app to market?
  • How will you handle continued feedback and development of your app?

I hope this gives you a good start in how to get started in evaluating if a mobile app is right for your business. Interested in learning more about creating your mobile app roadmap? Check out “A Mobile App Primer” for more info on how to get started. Have you created a mobile app? I’d love to hear about your process and how it was similar or different in the comments below.

A Mobile App Primer

Ellen Gomes is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Marketo. She’s a news junkie and loves to stay up to date on the latest marketing trends and connect with new people over social media. In her free time she frequents food blogs and caters to her very spoiled orange cat. Ellen earned an B.A. in History at U.C. Santa Cruz and an M.B.A. at San Jose State.

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There's an #app for that. #Mobile marketers, do you know if you need an app?

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