‘Because a Friend Told Me …’ Hold on, WHY Does Your Company Want a Mobile App????
Does my company need a mobile app?
Technology changes fast and with it comes the buzzwords. It’s incredibly difficult to decide where you should focus your company in today’s environment. Today, I am awash with clients who all want a mobile app built.
The question that I ask most of them and rarely get a good answer to is: “Why do you want to build a mobile app?” Far too often the answer is: “Because a friend told me that I need one.”
In reality, mobile applications are no different than applications of other types, and we should use much of the same criteria in establishing the need for one.
Much like a website, a mobile app is useless unless you have users who download and use it. So the first criteria I have for creating a mobile app is:
Do you have a strong enough online presence with a big enough following to justify the expense of building a mobile application?
I know it seems trivial, but putting an app out on the online marketplace without having a target audience to market it to is akin to building a big fancy website without taking measures to drive traffic to it.
The second major question that has to be answered is:
Who is the target audience for this mobile app?
You have to decide whether your company’s intent is to: Use the app as a means of acquiring new customers, service existing customers, or merely extending the corporation’s brand further out into the marketplace.
A third question that must be answered is:
What is the purpose of this app?
Many of the most successful apps out there do not seek to monetize the client but simply provide useful tools and information with references to the author’s business. So the author needs to define ahead of time what the goal of the application is. This will go a long way in establishing the scope of the project.
Perhaps the most important question is:
What is the budget for the application?
This is generally a sobering question. Many people haven’t realized that this is a software development project not unlike most other software development projects. There are a whole team of experts who need to be assembled to successfully complete your mobile app project. Every screen, function and piece of text needs to be laid out before coding is begun.
My advice to most of my clients is to first build a following online by improving their online presence. If this is done well, it will provide valuable input into what would be required functions for your company’s mobile app.
Mobile applications are all the rage, but they should be just one part of an integrated online approach.
Jerry Peterson is the president of RightSide Inc., which provides Internet, video and mobile marketing services for small and mid-sized businesses. Contact Peterson at (630) 590-9521 or e-mail him at email@example.com.