CustomerReachApps, apps, apps – it’s all about apps these days, across phones, tablets, and desktops. It seems that regardless of the size of company, small and large alike, every company has an app. Take a look at the apps that you have installed on your devices and ask yourself how and why you use each app. Then, look at how, by using the app, you interact products, brands, and/or companies. This app motivation exploration exercise will give you a glimpse into why apps have become so popular, and more importantly, why apps have become such an important part of modern day business.

Before the age of the mobile device, and subsequently apps, in order to have a presence and reach customers, companies invested in websites. Though companies still invest in websites, most are realizing that the typical person spends more time on their devices outside of working hours than on a personal computer. As a consequence, in order to maintain the same level of interaction and engagement with customers as was previously with websites, companies must harness the power of apps as the channel to the customer.

Other than the amount of time spent using devices, apps offer a more compelling experience for their users, as typically, apps, whom are native to their device platforms, can do things that websites can’t:

  • Apps are always available - Having to depend on customers having data plans for their devices or their proximity to cellular or WiFi networks imposes a constraint on the ability for you to interact with the customer. Apps, being installed on the device, can continue customer engagements with you regardless of whether they are online or offline.
  • Apps have a presence – An app, once installed on a device, has a presence on the device. Shortcuts, icons, and in the case of Windows 8 and Windows Phone, Live Tiles keep the app, and subsequently your product and company, top of mind to the user. There are also methods, built into most of the device platforms in the market today, to interact with the user, even though he or she did not initiate the interaction. In the case of Windows 8 and Windows Phone, updating the app’s Live Tile and providing new and updated data gets the user’s attention and draws him or her back to the app. Similarly, push notifications (from the Cloud) display messages on the screen or instruct the app to do something when there is something new for the user, again, getting the user’s attention and drawing him or her back to the app.
  • Apps encourage long-term relationships – The idea of an app is to be engaging, to give a reason to continue interacting with it. Websites are typically for company information or selling. Apps are, or can be, more than that. They are an experience with a key focus on unlocking a means by which the user can establish a long-term relationship with the app (and subsequently your product and company) and keep coming back to it. Some companies create apps to mimic their websites. Others create games that enable indirect interaction with products and the company. There are many different opportunities to encourage the long-term relationships – you are in the best position to determine what would work best for your company and products.

In the end, in today’s world, a world centered around customer engagement, there’s an opportunity for every business to reach customers with an app. The question you have to ask yourself is how you and your company will take advantage of the opportunity and how will you differentiate to keep customers coming back.

To learn more, join Ruth Morton and I on the next AlignIT Manager Tech Talk, as we explore the further, diving deeper into the motivations behind enabling business through apps. Your company’s app opportunity may or may not be obvious, but it is there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 | 12:00 PM ET
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About the AlignIT Manager Tech Talk series

Jonathan and RuthThe AlignIT Manager Talk is a monthly live streamed video series hosted by Ruth Morton (LinkedIn) and Jonathan Rozenblit (LinkedIn). Each Tech Talk episode airs on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 12:00pm to 12:30pm EST. The show focuses on a range of topics for both infrastructure and development managers and is interactive, taking questions via a live chat and providing answers on air.

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