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Should Your B2B Develop a Mobile App?

Should Your B2B Develop a Mobile App?

Earlier this week, I discussed the growing impact mobile web access is having on B2B marketing. As one can imagine, the more smart phones and tablets develop, the more remote web traffic will continue to increase.  With decision makers reading emails, reviewing websites, etc while out of the office, new opportunities and challenges arise.  Marketers who fail to devote resources towards optimizing mobile content and reaching this audience are going to miss out on a prominent source of valuable traffic.

One way that marketers can take advantage of the mobile migration is by developing an app for their business.  This is certainly not a simple undertaking; it will take a good amount of collaboration from marketing, engineering, and leadership to execute and execute well. However, the payoff could be immense.  “According to the International Data Corporation, there will be 183 billion apps downloaded by 2015.”

Some may look at figures such as this and think, “How are we going to break through THAT noise?” Within the B2B space, where some marketers are still hesitant about social marketing, it sounds like an understandable sentiment.  Like social marketing, mobile apps may not be ideal for every B2B under the sun.  However, the potential for reach and mindshare is so great that you would be doing your business a disservice to discount the possibility completely.

Let’s look at a few characteristics a B2B can have that would be conducive to an engaging app that should generate a positive (wait for the magic term…) ROI.  This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. Hopefully, it will be able to help get you and your teams’ creative juices flowing.

You have a prolific amount of content – Does your business have a blog that gets updated more than once a month? Do you have white papers from years back that still have valuable information and ideas? Do you have awesome marketing videos that haven’t met as many eyes as they deserve?  If you answered yes to these questions, an app could be a great means by which to repurpose your content and get it in front of a captive audience.

On a laptop or desktop computer, your content is dealing with a massive and easily accessible, supply of competition.  While mobile devices have the potential to access just as much content, most is not optimized for such settings.  Having your app’s button on the phone of a CTO next time their flight gets delayed could mean that well-targeted blog post or white paper gets read and leads to a key conversion.

You have an impressive trade show presence- If your company is attending trade shows and conferences on a frequent basis, a mobile app can be a great way to maximize your footprint and attract quality booth visits.  HubSpot’s suggestions for what to integrate into an event-focused app include, “exhibit maps, session schedules, speaker bios, and attendee-provided contact information for networking. You can also let people push out messages to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook right from the app.”  (For more on how to utilize Twitter at trade shows, feel free to check out my recent guest blog for IT Marketing World #ShamelessPlug).  Providing exclusive company “swag” or content in exchange for downloading the app can be a great way to boost your audience and generate buzz on the floor.

You have a mobile workforce– If you have a remote team, or even just a few employees who are on the road often, an app can be a great way to keep everyone engaged and on the same page in a way less convoluted than convoluted email chains. Not only can this improve communication, but also it can add a social element to problem delegation and resolution.

Such an app could also be used to ensure customer service issues are resolve as quickly as possible, even if half your team is at a trade show hundreds of miles away.  You don’t want a problem going unaddressed for several days due to a miscommunication or because someone forgot to put up an “out of office” autoreply.

Has your B2B considered, or implemented, a mobile app? If so, what advice would you offer to a company who has yet to explore such an option? Any experience with other business apps with innovative features or interfaces?


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