Building an App? Keep Your Marketers in Mind

Look at the fantastic group of Type-A brainiacs you gathered around that table to brainstorm the next great Web-based, mobile or tablet application. You have a list of goals, functionality and UI/UX ideas. However, I bet that nowhere on the list is anything about how advertisers will use the tool.

But I bet you DID think about how brands will use the tool – didn’t ya?

SURE! Of course you considered the big household consumer names that will certainly have a banner year if they get on board with you. But sadly, the Unilevers, Louis Vuittons and Barclays of the world aren't holding their breath waiting to exploit your app.

However, we are.

“We” are the agencies and creative consultants hired to help big brands catch the next wave.

Crowd Surfing

Interactive and social media strategists spend countless hours searching for new tools. Sometimes we immerse ourselves in the search and stay heads-down all morning without even going downstairs for a fresh latte.

[Editor’s note: Most of your top-notch interactive strategists rent office space over a coffee shop.]

Moreover, we look at new tools in terms of how we will use them to deliver a message. And it's not just social media tools specifically. In fact, the more widely adopted and publicly accepted a tool is, the more likely we are to use it as an advertising vehicle.

Instagram: Here's a wonderful mobile/social photo application. And now brands (and their respective agencies) use it to deliver content about their products and services. They create contests, conduct conversations and aggregate connections using a tool once considered a “toy camera” app. This app will have a larger user base than Foursquare this year. And it's not even on Android yet.

Pintrest: Brands that don't see the value in constructing multiple Pintrests boards are blind to its potential. These are the same companies that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get your eyes to an e-commerce page where all their products reside. Hmmm, sounds just like a Pinterest board!

Empire Avenue: Here's an online social media game played with thousands of users. And brands are weaved in as participating players. Not only are they welcome, they have respect as players. Users don’t disregard the brands as entities that simply bought their way into the fold. This holds miles of digital street cred, because users trust those who they know and like. A good community manager working in-game with a passionate fan base could give you endless brand impressions without the endless expenditure.

So, developers, you need to think, "Where is the marketing loophole?" As strategists, we will look at your app and wonder:

• What kind of audience uses this tool?

• Will this application’s community of users eagerly accept my brand?

• How can a brand naturally engage users within this tool’s community?

And if we don’t get back to you right away, you can probably find us downstairs.

Posted on February 1, 2012 and filed under Applications, Business, Design.