How do you extend your customer base for a mature product without changing the product itself?
Add a mobile app.
How do you expand the market for that great service you deliver without offering new services?
Add a mobile app.
While much has been written about selling products and services with mobile apps, it’s much harder to find proper attention given to mobile’s other role – extending the usability of products and services into new markets. Yet this is a powerful – and often lucrative – reason to employ a mobile app.
Although figuring out how to connect a product or service with a mobile app isn’t always obvious, the ways in which a mobile app can improve an existing product or service are numerous. And while not every company can be – or wants to be – a software company, every company can develop a mobile app for their brand.
Here are just a few examples of how mobile apps can bring in new customers.
Extend Your Physical Product Market with a Mobile App
This cutting edge home audio solution offers a whole-home approach to controlling audio. Simply place a SONOS speaker in any room and control it remotely via WiFi. Or add a SONOS Connect box to existing speakers and make them wireless, too. Previously, the SONOS system used a bulky, proprietary and expensive remote control panel to access the system. A mobile app changed all that. Now SONOS is controlled easily through its mobile app. This makes the system more affordable by eliminating the need for an expensive LCD control panel. That, in turn, gave Sonos the flexibility to add more technology and features or to offer solutions at a lower price point – either of which would attract more customers. Finally, its mobile app also led to a tie-in partnership with mobile music giant Spotify, making many more consumers aware of its brand.
Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility
Nikon used a mobile app to revolutionize the way photographers used and interacted with their cameras. Already a popular brand, Nikon’s wireless utility lets photographers access their cameras from smartphones and other digital devices. This enables new ways to edit, transform, and share their photos on the go, with practical applications for professional and amateur photographers alike. While some competing camera companies offer similar apps now, Nikon’s app was an innovation and ensured customers wouldn’t migrate to other brands due to its own apps. Plus, Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility offers cool features that appeal to today’s share-centric markets and helps attract new customers with creative new features.
Expand Your Service Market with a Mobile App
Connecting Point Marketing Group (CPMG) discovered firsthand how a custom-built mobile app could boost its conference business. Previously, conference organizers and planners were tasked with the time-intensive jobs of scheduling meetings and agendas for attendees, distributing content materials, and providing a central hub for all communications. Its conference attendee mobile app changed all that. Now the senior executives attending CPMG events can schedule their own one-on-ones through the app’s slick interface. They can also access session materials, view maps, and even provide feedback – all from their own smartphones. This gave participants more control over their experience and organizers better data from the sharing and feedback. As for CPMG, the increased customer satisfaction and social sharing opportunities make its service more appealing to new customers who want that level of service and interaction for their events.
Security solutions like XFINITY Home have taken a huge step towards safety and convenience with mobile apps. Now users can view live video from in-home cameras on their mobile devices, plus access home security and automation equipment. Forgot to lock your door or turn off the lights? Now you can do it remotely on your phone. Features like these make today’s digital home security options more useful, expanding XFINITY’s customer base. Plus it gives XFINITY new partnerships with a variety of home security equipment providers, letting it offer its mobile app and subscription package through new channels.
Leveraging the Network Effect
No matter what product or service you provide, expanding your reach is an important step in the effort to gain new customers. The network effect says that the more nodes you add to a network, the more valuable the overall network becomes. Each node provides new opportunities and new data that can increase the value of the whole. A mobile app extends your network by accessing the most relevant medium for today’s consumers – the smartphone.
In fact, you could even say that adding a mobile node could be the most important and valuable expansion to your network for virtually any product or service. All you need is an app idea that takes advantage of it – like the ones we’ve been discussing here.
New Mobile Features Provide New Relationships – With Products and Customers
You could say that the key point in each of the examples above is that the mobile app creates new relationships for each brand. Some of those relationships are feature-based, allowing customers to interact with existing products or services in exciting new ways. Some of the relationships are market-based, providing new partnerships with other products or companies.
But the critical factor to note here is that each relationship opens up new audiences for that product or service – audiences that might never have used it without the mobile app.
So if you’re considering a mobile app for your brand, don’t just think of ways to improve your product or service. Think of ways a mobile app could expand your network – reaching new markets and enticing entirely new customers. Only then will you truly harness the full potential of a mobile application.