Mobile is no longer second screen, it is rapidly overtaking the PC and becoming the first screen. There are companies who have incorporated mobile in their marketing mix or even in the way they do business but there are a lot of companies who are still struggling .Or who are producing apps because they want an app.
It is key to look closely at how your company can become relevant for your customer via mobile and in which stage of the customer life cycle it is key to create touch points with your customer.
It is also key to know what your company wants to accomplish by introducing an app. Do you want to use it as branding, marketing or as a sales tool?
Before we take a deep dive in the mobile customer life cycle you have to know that, by producing an app, you are entering a very competitive market. Over 825.000 have been produced for the Iphone alone. And if they are downloaded, most apps will only be used once or twice.
So if you decide to launch an app make sure it is relevant for your customer. Make their life, more fun, easier or make sure you can service them better.
Creating awareness with mobile can be done in several ways.
Mobile advertising could be the first baby steps in mobile marketing. Mobile screens are the closest to your (potential) customer, and which could make mobile advertising feel intrusive. Research has shown that little people put their trust in adverts on their mobile. On the other hand mobile advertising is still an under explored territory which makes advertising cheap.
Location based advertising is a great option to create awareness. Creating a presence on apps like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Foursquare and similar location based app will improve the awareness among potential customers.
Instead of creating presence on existing platforms or via bought media, it is also possible to create your own app to create awareness. The downside of creating your own app is you have to create awareness for app and creating app can be expensive. Keep in mind, the app has to add a new aspect to the (potential) customers life.
A service based app created or sponsored by your company is a good but more expensive way to create awareness. By informing or servicing (potential) customers on a subject related to your business your company can become relevant to the customers and create awareness this way.
A fun app, in the form of, for instance, a game, can be used to create awareness. But creating a game in an app could be expensive and it could easily become one of those apps, which is sitting in a folder never to be used again.
Once the (potential) customers are aware of your company, they need to know what your company can do for them.
AR and QR (Augmented reality and quick response code) is a good way to create knowledge via mobile. By including AR or QR into your print (in print campaigns, POS or on packaging) you can enhance the amount of detail of the information you can provide and it gives to user the opportunity to share it more easily.
Pre-existing location based apps give your company the ability to provide (potential) costumers information about you company. By adding your companies location and adding a link to your website or to your app people can read about your company.
When your company already created a presence within the mobile channel it is easier to create knowledge among your (potential customers). Through the app (service based, informing, inspiring of fun) it is relatively easy to create knowledge about your customer by linking it to the information you want to provide.
At this stage consumers are considering if they want your product or service and are looking in to how it will fit in to their lives.
An inspirational app will help consumers make their decision. Show them how the product or service will make their lives better, easier or more fun. Black Mana studio’s launched an app which helps people to create a 3D model of their house in which they can redecorate it.
Ikea launched a AR app, which allows consumers to see how the Ikea furniture would look in their house.
Social media is important in this stage. Consumers, especially with big purchases, like to ask their friends for advice. So make sure they can share their inspiration with friends and ask them for opinions.
The moment of truth, the consumer is ready to buy the product or service. Now your need to convince them to buy YOUR product.
If you already inspired them through your app in de consideration stage, they are only one ‘Buy now’ click away from buying your product. By including a mobile store (M-Commerce) feature in your app or link to a mobile store, it will lower the friction in the buying process and make it easier for consumers to buy your product.
If you want an app for this stage, here is some inspiration.
A review app will help consumers make the right choice. It is wise to include the similar products of competitors, but you have to be very convinced of your quality or price. It will allow the consumer to see that your product is the best or the worst.
AR and QR can be used in print and on POS to reduce friction in the buying process. Consumers do not need a PC or store to buy your product.
A great example is Bol.com, they launched an AR App, which allows consumers to scan products in stores and see how much they would cost online. This way Bol.com is using the display of every store without having to pay for them.
Bol.com also enhances site traffic through Layar and QR on their print campaigns. By scanning the pint campaign, customers would get the trailer and a 5 Euro discount.
You are satisfied now, your have sold your product. But was does the customer think? What is he doing with your product? And, is he happy with it?
Although there are several moments to create interaction with your customers, this is a great stage to do so.
Customer service is a great feature to add to your app. Since people have their mobile always nearby it will be easy for them to ask questions and give feedback. Your company can improve your product by providing great, real time, service.
The information the customer care team gathers is invaluable. It gives an insight into your customers thoughts and provides information on how you can improve your product or service.
FAQ and How to Video’s are easy to add. It will decrease the numbers of calls to customer service but will increase the level of satisfaction and thus loyalty. You do have to keep in mind that an app has to be simple, so it might by better to provide this information though using AR or QR. A QR code can be printed on the packaging or a AR function can be added to the original app.
Roughly 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your Profit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle#In_business). These 20% do not only enjoy your product but most of the times they tell other people about your product. So why not give these customers a mobile stage?
Tips and tricks are usually provided by a company but might as well be user generated. Tide introduced an app with user generated tips on how to remove stains.
Social media is essential in this stage. Loyal customers need to be able to share their love with friends and family. Although one always hopes they will create their own content it is wise to create content for them which they can share.
In the end you hope customers will return to your brand. When you have a loyalty scheme in place, it could be integrated in your app, for smaller businesses there are white label options to create a loyalty scheme.
Relevance is essential, as already mentioned in the introduction. Make sure you offer your loyal customers products or services, which are relevant to them. Use the user data you gathered and use location to be truly relevant.
Transparency is not common in loyalty schemes. But consumers are demanding more transparency, make sure you are one step ahead of this demand and give your loyal customer insight in their points and what they can do with them.
Social media will help your loyal customers to share their points with friends, family and colleagues and thus draw more customers into your loyalty scheme.
In conclusion, mobile is the new first screen and will be the best way to interact with your (potential) customers. But make sure you are relevant and do not create an app just to have an app.