iPhone Apps as a new Marketing Tool

My curiosity about iPhone Apps started when one of my friends got herself an iPhone. Among all the people that I knew had the iPhone, she was the only one bragging about how cool these apps were, notably ShazamShazam, an application that recognizes music (artist, title of the song, etc.).

Next thing you know, iPhone Apps is all you hear about. One of my friends back in CO had been acknowledging the potential in this business and has been developing amazing apps (check him out at Rage Digital Inc.).

skate_appsThe iPhone has brought to us, marketer, new venues to promote our products/services, and to offer a completely new experience to our customer. And this is also true for our industry. Vans, for instance, is about to launch its first iPhone App, which is a pool skateboarding game featuring Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan. Other brands such as Oakley and Electric Visual have already started their own apps. Oakley offers surf reports while Electric Visual allows you to keep up with their last news, product updates, etc.

For those still learning about iPhone Apps, I found this article on StartupHustle.com. It will give you some insights on iPhone Apps as marketing tools

“With the launch of the new iPhone App Store, a new platform has been created to reach millions of tech savvy users. With new platforms, comes new marketing channels. While the cost of entry is higher to build an app for the iPhone, that also limits the number of competitors.

You have three options when building an iPhone app:

  1. Build an app that promotes your service (MLB has a paid app for scores and stats)
  2. Build an app that replicates your service (ebay, facebook, paypal and myspace all do this)
  3. Build an independent app (an app that is not tied to a current product or service)

Building an app that promotes your service without actually mimicking it is probably the most difficult. The only purpose is to make users aware of your service, but there has to be a hook to download and use the app. Major League Baseball’s “MLB.com At Bat” ($4.99 in the app store) is a great extension of the brand. While you could look up scores through the web on your iPhone, apps are usually faster and give you the essential information that you are looking for.

The next option is an app that is an extension of your service. Most apps that replicate a service are scaled down versions that lack features but do the essentials. It is easier to navigate Facebook on a normal computer screen, but you can get the main objectives competed through the Facbook app. Twitterrific on the other hand (which is a third party twitter app) almost makes going to the main twitter site pointless (when it is up….eww low blow). Most of these apps are free, like the main sites, and allow you to spend more time using the service since you don’t need a computer to access them.

The third option is create a new app as its own entity, not tied to a current business. This is a new way to launch without doing an extensive site and service. An app is a great way to test a potential startup idea. If the iPhone crowd loves to use it and there is a need on the web, your app may have a bigger market than you realize.

Another aspect of the iPhone app store is the paid vs. free models. With apps being as easy to buy as music in the iTunes store and on your iPhone, not needing to pull out your credit card to buy will increase purchasing. Games have been a huge hit as they are eight of the top ten paid apps as of July 15th (less than a week after the app store was launched).

With any new platform, there will be many lessons learned as to how far someone will use their phone to replace normal computer tasks. While email, IMing, and social network apps are widely adopted, many are not comfortable banking on their phone.”

~ CG

“This is the nature of genius, to be able to grasp the knowable even when noone else recognizes that it is present.”

– Deepak Chopra


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