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January 20th, 2012

The top 10 tips of building a mobile marketing app

Early this year, Greg Stuart the CEO of MMA Global has said “I believe mobile is the biggest and best marketing channel that has ever been.”

Marketers are embracing mobile, but still many are insecure about how to go about “going mobile”.

Here are the Top 10 Tips for creating a mobile marketing app:

(For simplicity we’ve used mobile app as a general term in this article to represent both mobile app or mobile website)

1. What do you want to achieve

Mobile phones are used everywhere and all the time in your customers daily lives and can therefore support almost any aspects of a holistic marketing strategy. To develop truly successful mobile marketing campaigns you need to define what you need and combine this with insights of what your customers want.

Here are some examples of what you might want to achieve:

  • Mobile app as part of a branding strategy to help position the make
  • A tool to raise awareness of an upcoming release or the launch of a new brand
  • Create a new sales channel to reach customers and drive sales
  • Mobile app as an extension for an existing service
  • Drive footfall to a brick and mortar store
  • Engage customers at the POS and enhance the in-store shopping experience

An example of an insight associated with this could be that people that buy running shoes want to keep track of how far and for how long they run. You can guess where this may take you…

2. Get the whole picture

Mobile is a powerful channel, but it is not a standalone. To leverage from its full potential it has to be integrated into the general marketing strategy.

  • Interlink between channels. Let channels “play” with each other, the more interaction, the more engaged the customer
  • Cross-promote throughout all channels. Use NFC, QR Codes or links to connect mobile with OOH Media, Print or TV and vice versa. Create and benefit from synergies

3. Be relevant

Get to know your target group and create an app that is relevant for them. Follow the user’s journey and detect potential touchpoints. What needs do they have, where can an app fit in?

Most successful mobile marketing apps are usually those that either kill time or save time. Think about how you can make life easier for your customers or how to entertain them.

4. Be yourself

Don’t chase the latest buzz just to be cool. The most innovative app does not help achieve any goals if it is completely detached from your brand and what it stands for.

Have a look at your values, your positioning and your message and work out something around it. Create a logical connection between the app and its functionalities, rather than just “brand” the new Angry Birds.

Generally, be wise about branding. A little logo on the side would probably not even be noticed, a big one would be annoying.

5. Pick the right platforms

Not everyone has an iPhone or an Android. Not even everyone has a smartphone. Users of different mobile platforms skew distinctive. Sketch out the target group for your brand and match it with the user profiles for different platforms. Read about mobile user profiles here.

Keep in mind that the target group for your mobile app might just be a subset of your entire audience. If you have a disperse audience, a mobile site is mandatory.

6. Usability

Mobile is not online. Keep in mind mobile’s innate characteristics like a smaller screen and longer loading times. The interaction between windows is more complicated than on a PC.

The touch and feel of navigating with a touchscreen is significantly different to using a mouse. Transactions have to be simple, yet secure, since security is a big issue for mobile users.

Since the launch of the iPhone 4S, navigation through voice- recognition should be taken into account.

7. Ubiquity

Mobile goes everywhere with you. Many people even sleep with their phone. It is the only device that is constantly with the user, indoors and outdoors.

Mobile can bridge the individual with everything around them. Take advantage of the “anytime, anywhere” potential. Encourage users to interact with the environment through the mobile phone, give them something to explore. The more senses are activated; the more intense is the brand experience.

Its ubiquity is what makes mobiles the most powerful marketing channel there is. Touchpoints can be created when they are most relevant. For example, Geo- location lets you approach a user as they walk by a store or reward them for entering or checking-in.

8. Uniquely Personal

The mobile phone is the most private device we use. It holds a wealth of private information including friends, social networks and even our location. Marketers are lucky to be let into this private sphere of any user. However, this leap of trust should be treated with great responsibility.

Do not just assume the user wants to be open with you. Ask permission to provide a service or communication. More than anything, location is a sensible information. If you choose to use location features, always take the opt-in route and make opting out easy. Users are willing to share information, but on their terms. Reward, but don’t blackmail them.

9. Mocial

Mobile is inherently social. Most of the times a mobile phone is picked up it is to interact with other people. The fusion of mobile and social media, short “mocial”, is therefore no surprise

Most users are logged into Facebook while using any other function on their phone. Use this in your favour and create fast logins through social networks. Enable and encourage sharing whenever it makes sense. And already think about sharing when setting up the scope for your app. Make sure to include sharable content and let your fans do the publicity for you.

10. Don’t hide the app

Apps don’t market themselves. If no one knows that you have an app, no one will download it. Start promoting the app on other channels. Deep integrate it into the overall Marketing Plan and give incentives for downloading the app.


Mobile is a powerful marketing channel and we are still far from tapping its full potential. We have seen some great and creative campaigns over the past few years and are avid to see what follows as technology evolves. So, let’s go out and create!



Tags: App development mobile apps mobile marketing

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