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Five Ways to Develop a Successful Marketing App

The launch of innovative technology continues this week at SXSW in Austin. This ongoing explosion of new tech creations is one that marketers should examine—not just for inspiration—but for applicable lessons to create more modern, effective campaigns. In particular, which trends marketers should consider when designing an app or social campaigns for their brands. DMN recently featured one of these innovative apps from Texas daily newspaper, Austin American-Statesman.

Recently back from SXSW, CEO and founder of Obviously Social, Mae Karwowski, weighed in on the topic. “Apps are a great way to relate to customers,” Karwowski says. “But the majority of brands aren’t doing it right. Apps should add value to the customer experience.” The social marketer gives us five top trends marketers should consider when designing apps and social media campaigns.

1. Provide instant gratification. News stories, friend updates, recent likes—all provide instant satisfaction, Karwowski says. And that immediate fulfillment can be a powerful tool for marketers. “It’s psychological,” she explains. “For marketers who can provide an app that taps into the mental aspect, that’s huge.” Karwowski adds that instant gratification in a marketing campaign keeps customers close and connected.

2. Give the customer an identity. Customers are often looking to brands to help shape their identities and marketers should be there to do just that. A growing number of consumers embrace brands as part of their personalities. Karwowski says features like quizzes can provide insight for a customer and make a connection to the brand. For example, which type of flower or drink represents you best? Then connect the results to your product or service. “This is key for marketers,” she says. “Customers feel you’ve given them insight into themselves.”

3. Embrace anonymity. This may sound counterintuitive, but Karwowski says one major trend among app and social media users is the idea of remaining anonymous to brands. So how can marketers ride the wave of such a discrete trend? Karwowski says that allowing the user to participate while remaining anonymous can still leave customers engaging with your message and help make a memorable impact. “It’s tricky. The app needs to add entertainment, give info, or provide interaction with others using the app.” She cites the popular application Whisper and social news site Reddit as examples. Both, Karwowski explains, allow customers to shift from public facing to anonymity. She says these types of apps solve the customers’ concern of being overexposed.

4. Share content in a way that’s new and fun. Don’t simply include an app in your campaign and neglect to make updates, Karwowski warns. “The last thing you want is for your customers to stop using your app because they feel it’s getting old and boring.” Marketers, she says, should be constantly updating and reinventing an app or social campaign. Take inventory of what’s working and what’s not.

5. Talk to a few people at a time. For traditional marketers, mass audiences are king. But Karwowski suggests a more intimate approach in reaching out to customers. “Marketers need to learn to become [app] users themselves and not simply disseminate a message. But instead, reach the user who is committed to the brand.” She says that may mean chats that are one-on-one, one-to-two, perhaps one-to-a-few, versus traditional mass communication. “Marketers should realize it may not be the fastest, but it can be more impactful.”

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