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I had to see it to believe it; that’s the kind of gal I am. No, a commercial is rarely enough. The best ads — whether they be in print or on television — make us want to see a product with our own eyes, test it out ourselves. Case in point: the latest commercial from Chase, depicting a couple atop a feathery bed, still donning their wedding finest and opening what we quickly learn are congratulatory cards filled with checks. The couple playfully tease one another about their new union, as they snap pictures of the checks with an iPhone, then deposit them into their bank account with the push of a button. That’s right, the push of a button. Online banking has been replaced by bedroom banking. Or really, anywhere banking. All thanks to Chase’s mobile application, or app for short. This, I thought, is going to revolutionize the way I live. Then, I thought: isn’t that what all good apps should do?
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but I think smart companies keep the “smart” in Smartphone. Mobile applications aren’t just for entertainment, they can help us live better lives, too. Which begs the question: how can marketers get in on the action?
As more consumers turn to their hand-held devices for email, surfing the Internet, shopping and more, it would benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes to consider ways in which they can maximize not just their online presence, but their mobile presence. We’ve talked about ways marketers have touched the lives of their consumers via Internet gaming and social networking, and about how m-commerce is the new e-commerce; just this week I received two emails announcing mobile-friendly versions of Web sites I love (JetBlue, Sephora, I thank you). Now consider this: is there potential for your business to go one step further and create an app of your own? Chase is hardly the first to tune into the possibilities. Aside from “m-banking,” Smartphone users can check movie times and buy tickets via apps from Fandango and IMDB and they can pick up vintage wares on eBay. American Airlines and Whole Foods both recently launched apps, so you can “check in” and get dinner ideas on the go. There are even programs that help singles connect, ’cause if you heart your Smartphone, well your partner better, too.
Although research predicts gaming applications will continue to be the most successful app type of all, it seems that at the core of “The Application Situation” is how these little programs help consumers, either by entertaining us, informing us, or by providing an extension of an existing service. By giving me interesting and relevant apps, brands such as American Express, Major League Baseball, Martha Stewart and Zagat send a message that they understand me and the busy life that I live. They’re also building their brands in important, timely and exciting ways. I know I respond to businesses that combine convenience and information with cutting-edge cool. Wouldn’t you?
It’s true that new mobile applications seem to be a dime a dozen; nary a day passes without talk of the latest and potentially greatest. It makes sense, then, for marketers to engage in the conversation and even join the fun. After all, “app”-ortunities, like opportunities, should never be squandered.