When looking at the practices for developing apps, a big mistake many brands make, whethermarketing to businesses or consumers, is that they treat their app as advertising.
But let’s flip that convention. What if you treated your advertising as an app?
What if you approached the development of your marketing/advertising campaigns as you would in developing an app?
Look at the similarities between developing and deploying a campaign versus an app, both of which are designed to drive usage among their respective audiences who derive value through some form of utility that ultimately enables them to reach a certain outcome by accomplishing specific tasks.
For a campaign, those “tasks” are myriad, including downloading and accessing (video, white papers, product demos and lite/free versions), consuming (reading, watching, trying), distributing (tweeting and retweeting, sharing links, posting photos), creating (reviewing, ranking, blogging, commenting and posting) and so on.
Aren’t those actions the same ones that any marketer would be thrilled to have prompted by their campaign? All of such actions ultimately lead to the primary objective: purchase.
What’s the purpose of framing a campaign like an app? It requires us to think of the campaign not as a series of associated but independent activities (such as a banner ad, radio spot, email, website) but as a tightly integrated singular yet multichannel initiative that serves a specific purpose for both the “user” of the app (the target) and the “publisher” of the app (the brand) whose goal is to generate outcomes that lead to purchase or trial.
Given that most, if not all, inbound marketing tactics rely heavily on the creation of compelling content, thinking of brands as publishers isn’t a stretch.
And if you consider the aspects of what makes an effective app and an effective marketing program, the similarities are plentiful. You might be surprised how close in construct a PRD (product requirement document) is to a creative brief. Of course, both require a thorough and clear understanding of the user/target. But that’s tablestakes. An effective campaign (as does an effective app) needs all these elements:
- -Good UI – Does it have a good user interface considering the audience? Does the campaign have a well-constructed engagement model?
- -Intuitive – Are all the elements easily understood? Is it clear what’s being communicated and what the calls to action are?
- -Aesthetically pleasing – Is it well designed? Does it look good?
- -Utility and functional value – Is there real value being delivered? Is it useful and does it serve a purpose to the user/audience as they move from awareness to purchase and beyond?
- -Stability and adequate testing – Will it produce the results you’re expecting in all the channels you’re deploying?
- -Multi-platform – Does the campaign work well on mobile devices, in social media, on the Web/online, direct, etc.?
It’s safe to say that the 30 percent of apps that go unused a day after downloading don’t have the key attributes listed above. They’re either deleted or left for dead on the dashboard. It’s not hard to imagine the countless amount of poorly designed campaigns we’ve all experienced sharing the same fate and having no measurable impact and delivering no return to their “authors.”
Therefore, instead of trying to develop apps that are really vehicles for your message, which is a surefire way to suppress usage, think of constructing your message delivery in the form of an app, which, if done correctly, should provide real value to users and to your organization and possibly transform your competition into a bunch of angry birds.
by Roland Deal
Senior Vice President – gyro San Francisco
Follow Roland on Twitter @RolandDeal.
Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network