Remember the first day you started your job? You came to the office a bit nervous and a bit early, you sat down at your desk, and the first thing you did was make your office chair your own. If you were like me you rearranged the height, leaned it slightly back, and enabled the spin function – perfect fit.
In businesses across America, the office chair is a staple. No matter what color, shape, size, type of wheel or material, office chairs all serve the same function; they are a type of chair designed for use at a desk in an office.
Mobile technology is a lot like the office chair. Office chairs support people in various work environments, each with different needs, roles, and abilities. Similarly, mobile technology supports a range of businesses, each with their own unique needs and target markets – some are B2C and some are B2B.
B2C is a term used to refer to companies that operate business-to-consumer, such as Target or The Gap. B2B is a term used to refer to companies that operate business-to-business, such as Oracle or HubSpot…or even our very own, Maestro! Thus far, B2C companies seem to be dominating the mobile app space, but, just like the office chair, mobile technology comes in all forms and can be tweaked to fit different business’ needs.
Why mobile? Just as all offices need office chairs, regardless of the type of work they do, all businesses should be looking into mobile regardless of whom they are selling to. Why?
• On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours a day socializing on their mobile devices • 21 billion apps will be downloaded in 2013 • 37% of all media consumption is done on mobile devices • There are over 6 billion mobile phones worldwide • Mobile internet usage will overtake desktop browsing by 2014 • iPads are outselling Macs
B2C and B2B companies both want a piece of this huge mobile app pie, but for different reasons.
B2C Companies Businesses marketing directly to consumers are interested in getting in touch with buyers on an emotional level. Their customers are spending a smaller amount of money more frequently, so brand identification is highly important. They want you to interact with their brand as much as possible. They might develop a game, offer coupons, or perhaps have a photo contest.
Nike+ Running App Nike has created eight different applications for the iPhone, alone, that help to encourage continuous interaction between customers and their brand. The Nike+ Running app highlights Nike’s shoes, sport watches, clothing, and other gear by providing the customer with tools to use while they run. The app allows customers to track distance, pace, time, route, calories, etc., and listen to music while running. There is even a social component that encourages app users to share their runs and challenge friends. Nike then shows up on countless Facebook news feeds and Twitter threads – why not let your customers market for you?
National Parks by National Geographic National Geographic wants its customers to know that they are willing to lend a helping hand when it comes to traveling the beautiful land they so frequently boast about. So, they created an equally beautiful interactive guide to 25 of America’s most visited national parks. You can grab photo tips, park secrets, and lists of what to see and do! National Geographic did not miss out on an opportunity to share the brand either, allowing app users the ability to earn badges for visiting each park and share them socially with friends.
B2B Companies Businesses that market directly to other businesses are using mobile apps to provide efficiency for their customers. Tools that help make the process easier, faster, and more intuitive.
Med-Dev Co. (company name changed to protect client confidentiality) Companies in all industries are increasingly using tablets to support their on-the-go sales forces, helping them to present information to clients with more impact. Custom sales enablement apps that house well-organized product information, sharp visuals, and the ability to share with the touch of a button help create the best experience. Med-Dev Co. created an application that did just that, deploying to over 300 distributor sales reps. What is so great about this? In addition to their own products, Med-Dev Co. distributors also represent other companies’ products – but I bet you can guess which one they like to sell most…
J.S. Training (company name changed to protect client confidentiality) A great example of using technology in the B2B world is within the training industry. There are several highly successful companies that focus on soft skills training. Traditionally those companies focus on books and Instructor-Lead Training sessions to transfer and cement knowledge. Companies like J.S. Training are turning the industry upside down by providing mobile apps as a companion to the training. Learners have a better chance of remembering the information if they have refreshers along the way and users are more likely to practice the information when it is right at their finger tips – win, win!
No matter who your end audience is, make tweaks, personalize, and develop a mobile application that effectively supports you and your team. Heck, by the end of this year, 2013, there will be more mobile phones than people on this earth! You better believe mobile is securing its place in line with other staples, just like the office chair.
Comscore U.S. Digital Future in Focus – February 2013
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Buyers, 2008