Own The Direct Relationship With Your Customer

Fast Company recently published an interesting article about app marketing opportunities written by Aaron Shapiro, CEO of the digital marketing firm Huge. Shapiro outlines the biggest mistakes that companies make with app marketing and then gets into the strategies that he says work. Shapiro seconds what we at Tide Creative know to be true – that app marketing can allow for a unique direct relationship with the consumer. But for the app to be a successful brand builder it’s got to have useful functionality. Shapiro suggests the “app bubble” is engulfing us, with the iTunes App Store receiving 26,000 applications every month from January to July 2012. That’s an astoundingly large pool, and Shapiro says many companies are wasting time and money developing apps that won’t do their brands any real favors. “Most marketers are making the same mistakes in mobile that they’ve made on the Web for years,” he writes, “expecting consumers to dedicate time and attention to their brand messaging without providing any valuable service or fulfilling any consumer need.”

The key to making your app a brand builder is to consider it not as an awareness tool but as a new product. Tying your app to social media or another advertising campaign will help push the product beyond your core fan base. Shapiro cites Coca Cola’s “Chok” campaign in Hong Kong as a good example of this – whenever a certain television ad for Coca-Cola was aired on TV, mobile users could open the related app and point it at the screen to collect virtual bottle caps that would put them in the running for prizes. “The app added actual physical interactivity, gamification mechanics, and a novel form of entertainment that was much more engaging than regular old TV advertising,” Shapiro writes.

At Tide Creative, we also make use of Shapiro’s other strategy -- mobile as service enhancement. Our products allow guests to upload photos of events to their social media sites, book vendors and conduct other planning, and interact with the venue director directly.

However you make your app valuable, remember that you own this vehicle for communicating with the client or ambassador. You own it by facilitating unique ways for your clients to interact with your brand and share it with friends.