Written by Emma HumbeyEmma oversees Sonin’s marketing activity, where she is responsible for the marketing strategy, brand awareness and digital communications. With a deep understanding of the media and technology industry, Emma has helped reposition several companies to reach their target market and drive business growth in today’s digital era. Today she focuses on the role of mobile and apps in marketing, customer experience and workforce mobility.

Mobile Apps in Marketing Strategies 2018

As marketers, we know the importance of mobile in our marketing efforts. But as technology continues to evolve and we welcome the next generation of users, what will change in 2018? How will apps in marketing change?

Back in the day, yes, I’m going there, when I first started working in marketing it was all about developing the ultimate website. It was early days for paid advertising and we were starting to experiment with banners. Social media was growing fast, video was set to explode and mobile was new on the scene. But today it’s a very different picture. In less than ten years the marketing landscape has been completely flipped on its head. And, although websites remain essential in 2018, mobile proudly takes centre stage.

It’s been three decades since the first website was published and it’s hard to imagine a world without websites today. But it took a long time for businesses to see the value of the web. And in a way history is repeating itself with mobile, albeit at a much faster pace. Only today in 2018, 10 years after the launch of the App Store, are we seeing the full value of apps.

Entering the Mobile App Market

We’ve witnessed many businesses enter the app landscape. And we’ve seen big wins from the likes of Amazon, NatWest, Dominoes and Starbucks. All of these have launched apps which are not only easy to use but genuinely improve our everyday experiences. However, we’ve also seen many failures from companies who launched apps before really understanding them. Ikea’s first app didn’t allow you to buy anything. EE’s app barely lets you do anything and has received over 14k one-star reviews on Google Play. And LinkedIn… well, if you used the old app I’m sure you’ll understand.

Apps are complex platforms. The way we interact with our phones is different to any other device or platform we’ve ever used before. Apps are easy to access and can be entirely personalised. They enable us to achieve tasks quickly and efficiently from wherever we are whenever we want to. Unlike a desktop, where we tend to browse, mobile use is much more task orientated. (Unless we’re talking about social media of course, where we scroll endlessly to fill the time!)

In 2018, Mobile Is Its Own Channel

As we enter 2018, mobile is very much its own channel. Not an add-on that replicates the desktop. We know that doesn’t work. And we know it’s why many companies have failed to achieve success with their apps. A successful app needs to provide the user with something that they can’t get from a website or through any other platform. Mobile devices have put the power back into the hands of the consumer. And it’s this shift in business-consumer interaction that has brought so many compelling marketing opportunities. Which makes it an incredibly exciting time for us right now.

We love our mobiles and, although I hate to admit it, they have become an essential tool for managing our lives. As much as I try to detach myself from mine there’s always a reason to pick it phone up. To send an email, order dinner, check my bank balance, find train times, buy something or simply speak with friends and family. (The list is endless!) But it’s this attachment to our phones which allows marketers like us to create truly personal experiences. Engaging with audiences in ways not possible through any other platform.

And I think 2018 will see more marketers realise this potential and act on it. There’s no denying that mobile is already core to business success, but we’re in the middle of a shift in focus where businesses take mobile more seriously. And treat it as a truly individual platform.

Mobile Apps in Marketing and the Customer Journey

But it’s not just marketers’ minds that are shifting, users ‘wants and needs’ are also shifting. Just like you and I, they want more personalised experiences. They expect to engage with businesses through their mobile devices at varying stages within the customer journey. We’re welcoming the next generation of users. Users that expect nothing less than an amazing and seamless experience.

Technology such as AI, chatbots and virtual reality will soon be expected by consumers. 2018 will be the year where businesses go from simply having an app or a mobile presence to creating a smarter and more intelligent app that truly enhances their users’ experience. And it’s this next generation of apps, both native and progressive, that will become a key part of the customer journey. A key part of your customer’s journey.

But what I find most exciting about this movement, is the opportunities it brings. The opportunities it presents us as marketers and the opportunities I will have as a consumer. The technology we have access to today has made the largest impact on our lives. And this is only going to increase throughout the next few years. It’s an incredibly exciting time and one we can’t afford to get left behind.

Want to know more about using apps in marketing strategy?

Emma recently held a webinar on Why mobile should sit at the heart of customer experience. Where she discusses how to integrate mobile into your marketing strategy.

Want to learn more about marketing strategy? Get in touch via our contact page.