Business boosting apps


December 5, 2013

Many of us have used our mobile devices for downloading free or cost-based applications, or apps. There are apps for everything from buying Starbucks coffee to checking into a flight from your kitchen table. It’s estimated mobile marketing will contribute more than $140 billion to the U.S. economy this year, and it’s estimated to rise to more than $400 billion by 2015. That’s a huge market increase that can’t be ignored by any business sector.

Digital business channels are still subject to positive returns, according to my company’s digital business consultant. That means for every dollar you spend in this growing marketing sector, there are a greater number of dollars being returned to your business compared to traditional marketing strategies. That’s a bold statement in a sluggish economy, but the sector growth speaks for itself.

You can’t expect to build a mobile app and have it just hang out there on the Web. You need to build various digital channels to promote your app. After doing some homework, you also might decide an app isn’t the way to go and focus on building a mobile website to complement your business’ core site.

That said, investment in apps is increasing for two main reasons: One, they’re far more robust and stable than mobile websites; and two, they run faster and are easier to promote on app sites. Think about it: When was the last time you went to a community site to look up a mobile website? My guess would be seldom or never, so that should answer your question about which strategy might work better for your business.

Think about how much time you spend in an average week using a mobile app. Age is a factor in that, but it doesn’t always indicate how much time a user will spend on various apps. My father is 75 and uses mobile apps for almost everything he does. In fact, he uses more mobile apps in a day than I do — this from a guy, who, five years ago, didn’t even turn on his old mobile phone. This tells me that if our industry wants to connect with all clients, we need to design apps based around convenience.

One app I predict being successful for our industry is a portal app that permits clients to check on their service schedules, pay their invoices, and learn about any problems that might occur at their home or business. I foresee our industry’s irregular client interaction as a strategic fault. We need to put ourselves in front of our clients and make using our company’s online platforms an interesting and easy experience. I see a fun and effective client interaction app as a huge step in the right direction for any progressive company.

No matter how you design your app, understand it’s not a passing phase. Billions of apps are downloaded annually, and all indicators point to that business sector’s robust growth. You can’t afford to wait any longer, or your clients will switch to a company that shows more initiative and ingenuity. As soon as you’re able, discuss, with your digital business consultant, how mobile apps will help promote your business and earn more money. pmp

You can reach Stanbridge, a PMP and longtime technology columnist, at


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