A Publication of WTVP

Go ahead, admit it… You wonder if you’re techno-trendy. You’ve even typed your name into Google to see what the search results yielded. (Seriously, there is a word for that—look up “egosurfing.”)

Using the chart below, benchmark against not only your age group, but also the amount of time your age group spends using mobile applications. (Yes, I mean an “app,” you trendsetter you.)

While using the graph to self-reflect is entertaining, the more critical question is this: “Has your employer created an app, and if so, are they engaging the right audience with it?” When you consider the data through a business filter, the numbers take on new meaning, with bottom-line impact.

Perhaps an app’s greatest strength is its cross-functionality. It’s abundantly clear that the people who work with and for you, as well as those who purchase from you, are all checking their smartphones frequently. Surveys suggest the average smartphone user checks their device a whopping 150 times a day.

You like the sound of “my logo on their phone,” but that language is so 1990s. Go with “my avatar on their mobile device,” and your brand just became a billboard on a prime digital piece of real estate.

A Consumer Electronics Association study indicates that just 13 to 15 percent of consumers are early adopters, while more than 60 percent are content to wait a while before upgrading to newer technologies. But with one third of global internet traffic coming from mobile devices and 102 billion (yes, billion) apps downloaded in 2013, the wait is over.

App technology is affordable, and used properly, it undergirds and fortifies your brand, strengthening brand loyalty. It can extend the reach of your business, drive customer engagement, increase customer retention and extend the customer life cycle. In a world full of competitors, your contacts need to touch your avatar with unmatched speed and immediacy, rather than going to Google. (Did you think I’d say the phone book??)

Pushing information to your groups via an app, rather than hoping/praying they pull it, can make all the difference.

For example, your family’s school, church or employer has a time-sensitive message regarding an event or promotion. Send a mass email and will all the intended recipients get it? (Good luck.) Will they read it if they do get it? (How does your email inbox look right now?) Will they act upon it in time? Does your brand suffer if they don’t?

Canceling an event due to weather or surprising your customers at 2pm with a buy-one-get-one promotion for the rest of the day makes their lives easier and builds loyalty. And they didn’t have to sift through a Facebook feed to get it.

Even texting, especially in groups, can carry a cost to the user. People may not recognize the number, and your avatar is non-existent. If the app message included your company’s jingle as an audio sound, you just made it a multi-sensory experience. Why not say it in video? I’m sure Starbucks is working on making your phone emit a coffee smell, too.

I’m not suggesting the app replace email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Instagram, Dropbox… Do you see my point? Rise above the clutter.

Beyond notifications, a basic app should include:

Three out of four searches on a mobile device lead directly to a visit, call or purchase. So consider using an app, and share this article with a friend, too. (Just don’t fax it to them.) iBi