Mobile applications have become an interesting and lucrative industry as of late. In 2012, mobile apps are slated to generate $15.9 billion in end-user spending according to Gartner Research. This number isn’t surprising because many consumers are beginning to count on mobile applications to enhance their daily lives. As a small business owner you have a decision with your 2011 marketing budget, to incorporate the mobile medium or ignore it. If your business deems fit, it may be in your best interest to explore the opportunities that lie in mobile applications.
The first major decision you should make with your mobile app is, how it will benefit the user? All successful apps make it easier to do something or provide a unique value proposition. Hire a design team to determine what opportunities lie within your company to create a mobile interface. Price is also a major determinant of your apps success.
Paid or Free?
The ultimate goal of any mobile application is to offer the consumer value and increase company sales. Mobile apps are likely to be very effective at building a loyal community around a brand; it just needs some “buzz.” In order to create that buzz many companies are leveraging their business to offer free apps to users. According to Paul Reddick, CEO of Handmark, “In some cases, free dominates simply because it is so much easier than dealing with complicated purchasing mechanisms—not because of the quality or value of the underlying app.”
What App to Make
According to Gartner Research, some of the top consumer applications in 2012 will be:
Location based service (LBS) applications can deliver unique services to your consumer. Gartner expects the total user base of location-based services to reach 1.4 billion by 2014. Whether you are building a database of drinking fountains in a city, or simply a location based social networking app, LBS’s will ensure adoption and growth in the mobile market.
Be aware many consumers’ barriers to entry with location-based services are privacy. According to eMarketer, “most respondents—including men and women of all ages—were worried about a variety of privacy issues, including identity theft, accidental location-sharing when they did not mean to opt in, other security problems, stalking and harassment. But across the board, women were significantly more worried than men. Fully 77% of female respondents were concerned about stalking, for example, compared with 60% of men.”
It is no surprise smartphones are now being deemed social media “hubs.” Places for people to go for entertainment and to check up on their friends. If you are able to build an app targeting a specific niche, or utilizes data warehousing of information known as the “social network” you may just strike gold. According to Gartner, mobile social networking is the fastest growing consumer mobile app category. It is unlikely to change in 2012 as businesses are pushing some of their operation social, you should think about establishing a solid base in the mobile-social landscape.
While this isn’t necessarily an app opportunity, mobile video is still a viable mobile marketing opportunity. Networks now have larger bandwidth capabilities so smartphones are able to handle HD and 3D technology. Knowing this, your company could launch a variety of videos targeted to the mobile community, to increase brand awareness. Gartner believes, “that carriers and content providers would be able to drive mobile video usage in the coming years. Mobile carriers should partner with YouTube and other popular video providers, so that users can replicate their Internet behavior on their mobile phones.”
Mobile apps can really help you and your consumers interact on a more intimate level, however, as a business owner you must know what to make and how to market your app. There are over 100,000 mobile apps available on the market and standing out amongst the crowd takes a bit of creativity and bit of luck. You’ve came this far, mobile marketing is not going to pass, so jump on the bandwagon before the it becomes industry standard.
Guest Author – Matt Krautstrunk is an expert writer on postal meters based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as business phone systems at Resource Nation.