January 8, 2014
Forbes Insights Report reveals apps strengthen connections with customers and are driving internal efficiencies
Increasingly, consumers expect the ability to retrieve information on-the-go with tablet and mobile devices. To further explore these trends in mobile marketing, we’re releasing today a new report about apps that examines how marketers are integrating them as a key part of the marketing mix. Produced in conjunction with Forbes, the new report The Connected Marketer: How Apps are Engaging Customers, Partners and Employees, surveyed top-level decision makers in large organizations and found:
- Apps are on the rise. Of companies with customer-facing apps, 78%, report increases in their mobile app audiences over the past year.
- Use of customer-facing mobile apps is seen as a post-sale loyalty strategy. 31% of respondents say that customer-facing apps have the greatest impact when maintaining loyalty post-purchase.
- Internal apps are driving efficiencies. More than two-thirds of executives report the number of end-users of their internal apps has grown over the past year; they see apps playing greater roles in facilitating sales, communication and training processes.
- In-app analytics represent opportunity. 44% of respondents attempt to measure metrics within the app such as content views and number of downloads. However, marketers are not yet focusing on user-interface metrics such as analysis of navigation through the app, pathing or length of time spent with the app in large numbers yet –an area that represents opportunity for marketers to gain further insight into their customers.
As marketers seek to create stronger connections with their customers and employees they should:
- Have marketing step up to the task. In a majority of cases, both external and internal apps are developed within the organizations—mainly with the assistance of IT, and internal designers/developers. Because IT plays mainly a supporting role – and given marketers’ focus on the customer – app publishing is a role that marketers are uniquely qualified to step up to.
- Implement unique content to attract users. Apps require more than simply scaling down a website to fit a smaller screen. Sixty-eight percent of all the respondents say they are offering exclusive content that cannot be found elsewhere. A majority of those who have seen the number of mobile app users increase, 60%, attribute that to the fact that they are making more exclusive content available through the apps.
- Analyze metrics to create a compelling experience. According to the report, the ability to design user-friendly interfaces and to keep end-users interested and returning to the app was seen as the biggest challenge for marketing executives. Since only 44% of marketing executives look at metrics from their app, they should use a data-driven approach to gain further insight into their customers and optimize the user experience.
- Get the word out across channels. Use both your own and third-party marketing channels to drive downloads of your app. Sixty-nine percent of companies rely on their company’s website to get the word out to customers about their apps. Another 58% employ email as another means of advertising availability of apps (58%). Other strategies include search engine marketing (36%), Facebook notifications (35%) and app store marketing (35%).
Two Adobe customers are mentioned in the report as case studies of successful companies using app marketing.
For nine years, Raymond James Financial has published Worthwhile, a quarterly aimed at high net worth clients and the most popular of all its client communication pieces. In 2013, the firm decided to use Digital Publishing Suite to supplement the printed quarterly with a digital edition, expanding its reach and allowing financial advisors to custom-brand it for their clients. Clients can email their advisor or go directly to their website from the Worthwhile app. The result has been a deeper engagement with clients and increased customer loyalty. “The digital edition brings financial advisors and clients closer together,” says Cameron Diehl manager of advisor productivity and marketing strategy at Raymond James. “It keeps advisors’ names in front of their contacts who can then email the advisor or go to their website directly from within the WorthWhile app.”
Another example is Sotheby’s International Realty, the global luxury real estate network whose Anthology app has replaced the printed brochures it used to distribute to its nearly 700 sales affiliates around the world, and which were often out of date as soon as they were printed. In contrast, its iPad sales enablement app provides up-to-date information to its affiliates and includes interactive features such as slideshows and videos. Best of all, the ﬁrm has seen direct ROI as a result of the app—in addition to the $1 million a year it saves by using a tablet app instead of print collateral.