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Recently, some marketing folks were interviewed in a magazine on why mobile apps did not get the thumbs up as a marketing tool. Some of the opinions of these folks include: (1) many apps are “me too”, (2) many apps are ads and sales-centric, (3) managers are measuring successes on downloads and monetization.

Here’s what’s interesting about mobile and web apps.

The thing about a mobile app is that every company seems to want to get into it. That’s absolutely true. Remember in the 1990s when the Internet became commercial and companies could register their own .COM domains? It quickly became a frenzy of domain registrations, websites, etc. Then when Flash came along, every company dumped the good old HTML code and went full force into dizzying animated websites. The same phenomenon is happening to the mobile app space today.

However, just because everyone’s having an app does not mean we can’t have one of our own. The real trick is to understand what it does for us.

First, the app can be a simple content tool that your customers and stakeholders can read on the road, in a pocket device. That’s where the RSS feed and your tweets become “live” through the mobile app. It is the simplest tool to engage your stakeholders, and they can share your content and build “word of mouth” if they feel like it. Therefore, the app should NOT be an advertising medium to hawk your wares, but to become a content-rich tool to engage your stakeholders in another way.

Second, the mobile app should not simply be measured as successful based on the number of downloads, or having ad banners ad nauseum. Make the app content-rich (which is probably the easiest), or entertaining (in a game format, but need more time and investment), and people will want to download it, use it, and keep it.

The mobile app is no longer restricted to a single popular platform these days. In fact, you can even use a nicely written HTML5 code and target just about any smartphone today, without the need for a native app. You could of course, but you don’t have to. So the options are much wider for you, and the costs of design and implementation are coming down. What are you waiting for?

Copyright(c) 2011 Seamus Phan. All rights reserved.