The Future of Advertising

In the March issue of Harvard Business Review, Sunil Gupta writes about the impact smartphones and mobile devices are having on advertising.  In short, screen size minimizes the users experience related to ads with text and icons to small to be functional.  “Instead of buying tiny banner advertisements, markets should create apps that add value to consumers’ lives and enhance long-term engagement with their brands”, says Gupta.  Here are five strategies to help marketers succeed in helping people understand how and why users choose apps.

1.  Add convenience.  Apps work well to strengthen relationships.  Gupta states that apps aren’t very effective for acquiring new customers.  I disagree.  The “share” feature on most apps that allows users to refer an app to friends and associates across channels is one way to expand exposure of a brand, product, service or company.  Apps are also another digital footprint that helps promote a brand to consumers, search engines and other online communities.

2.  Offer unique value.  Here’s where apps separate themselves from other forms of communication, namely ads and email.  The user rich environment that can be created gives a unique customer experience to the user.  When designed correctly to super serve your customer base, a custom app stands out and is preferred over browsers or email.  What unique benefits does your company provide for your existing and potential new customers?  Create a value proposition for people to download your app and they’ll opt in and pull down your content because it makes their life better.

3.  Social value.  The world is hyper-connected in small and large online communities.   Facebook, LinkIn, Pinterest, Yelp, and hundreds of other social media channels are now hosting smartphone and mobile device traffic that contains information about your company.  Get connected and make it easy for your custom smartphone app users to connect with others.

4.  Offer incentives.  While not every business will want or need a customer loyalty and incentive program, the opportunity to reward your customers for patronizing your business or for opting in to download your valuable content is becoming more apparent.  It’s easy and encourages sharing and referrals.

5.  Entertain.  Today most smartphone users are using social media apps like facebook, google and dozens of tools that help people connect and gather information quickly.  More than 40% of people’s time with apps is spent playing games.

Sunil Gupta closes this article with the most powerful statement.  “So apps are not only the most effective way to reach mobile consumers; they are also more cost-efficient than many traditional ad campaigns.  When we started mobizmedia, LLC, we knew that the ability for a company to connect with their customers in a customized, branded and user friendly environment will surpass the ability of any other traditional media.  Now is the time to start building your custom mobile app audience of repeat customers.  Read more about this subject here.  Harvard Business Review – For Mobile Devices, Think Apps, Not Ads.