October 23, 2018

Do you really need an App?

The modern mobile app boom is just over a decade young! Not a long time when we compare it to other industries and not surprisingly, companies are not sure what to do about it! We regularly see companies making expensive mistakes and the industry is still feeding off this inexperience.

Companies considering a mobile app are often unsure of the reasons to build in the first place, the associated ROI and the ongoing support requirements.

A few years back, a mobile app was a “must have” in the marketing plan. Thankfully, we have moved past this ‘blind path to grumpy customers’, but we still have massive gaps in initial thinking (whether to invest in a mobile app or not).

Here are questions you need to answer before taking the leap:

1. What is the value to your business? Generally speaking, you should be looking to acquire customers, generate brand equity or sell more stuff.

2. Who is your target? Once you know this, you should know your audience’s preferences for communication and engagement. Maybe a mobile responsive website is the answer or a templated app or a native build? There are many choices to consider! Why not ask ask your current customers?

3. What is the deadline and budget?

  • Phasing a development project can be done in many ways to meet expectations: Launch a POC (Proof of Concept) or MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is a great first step although you still need to have a plan to ensure it stays relevant, up-to-date and safe. It does not have to be rushed – and phasing makes good sense for building the best consumer experience and managing your budget!
  • In this game, you get what you pay for and so it’s good to have an idea about the huge variances in cost, complexity and quality. If you are looking at a relatively simple, informational application that can use templated solutions, the build might only be $5k to $25k NZD with a monthly subscription which will scale up based on usage or users. If you are looking at a native iOS and Android application with multiple integrations, you need to be thinking $100k to $200k NZD per application. It is a huge variation and for good reason!

4. Who is out there doing it already and what can we learn? 100% unique ideas in the digital world are now rare so we must have a look around and see what others are doing and find ways to differentiate for the better.

5. What are you going to do with it? Go-to-market plans are the real deal. Relevance in the digital world evolves daily and it is critical to have your business ready to support what you have in-market

If you can smash these questions, you are 75% better off than most companies that start engaging with development houses. To build something great for the customer, find a partner that you can work as one – a partnership with clear expectations, open communication channels throughout the project and a ‘no surprises’ project culture. Good luck!

Bruce Howe