B2B marketers are facing an inevitable transition to mobile platforms. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. But the opportunities inherent in mobile solutions dwarf the challenges. Some of these opportunities include:
Mobile applications allow for always-available, up-to-date product information. These devices are highly interactive, touch-based platforms. As with most digital environments, real-time analytics are available
Downloading and disengaging. While the opportunities to both customers and marketers are abundant, marketers must ensure strategies are in place so that customers get continuous value from the app.
A recent industry study shows that, even for business applications, there is a significant drop off in usage over the first 90 days after a mobile app is installed. On average, only 35 percent of users are still active. So, it is simply insufficient to create the app and “get it out there.” A significant amount of attention needs to be paid to ensuring that the app is being used, has the desired frequency of use, and continues to be used in the long term.
To combat app drop-off, it’s time for “meta-marketing,” which involves marketing your sales tools to the sales team to convey the value to the end users. This is an imperative step for companies to ensure that their sales channels are properly educated about the tools available to them, where to access them and how to best utilize them. This process has some key differences from marketing to prospects:
- The target market size is measured in the hundreds or thousands (of salespeople and partners), not the millions
- That small market is spread literally across the entire world
- The cost of communicating with that market is almost zero: You already communicate with 100 percent of your target market
- Demand is very high. If you can produce tools that close deals, your users will consume them, and will constantly demand more
Misunderstood Mobile Data
Analyzing data is imperative to justifying marketing budget expenditures. Therefore, it is important to make sure you’re interpreting user information correctly. Marketers who are already using measurement tools are probably using analytics that were designed for user bases in the millions. Some commonly misunderstood analytics include:
- The “Installs” metric – this probably counts app store accounts, not users or devices
- What matters is both how many people have the app (reach), combined with a measure of what portion of those people are using your tools on a day-to-day basis (frequency)
- Mobile apps confuse analytics systems by changing locations frequently, resulting in inflated “unique visitor” counts. And offline apps confuse these systems by reporting their data all at once, resulting in incorrect “session duration” and related metrics
With a user base that is small, day-to-day and week-to-week variations are huge and finding useful trends in charts that zig-zag all over the place is really hard
Techniques for Mobile Trend Spotting
So what data should you be looking at? Here are some ideas:
Unique devices per week (estimates users per week) – Most apps get an identifier that lasts only as long as the app is installed. Users sometimes uninstall/reinstall apps, or switch from one device to another, so over the long term, your “unique device” count will become very inflated. However, over the course of just a single week, it's a pretty good indicator of the number of users who used your app.
The tablet/phone dichotomy also is an indication of how your tools are being used. Sales people regularly hand their tablets to a prospect during a meeting, but they will rarely hand over their phones. So phone usage probably indicates the sales team is using your app to learn and prepare for meetings, but are probably not using it in meetings directly. Conversely, tablet usage is more likely to occur during an actual sales call.
Leverage interactivity. Sales teams are rapidly switching from desktops and notebooks to tablets and Smartphones, and marketers who are responsible for creating tools for the sales force need to adjust to this new reality. Mobile apps have the potential to radically improve sales effectiveness, as long as marketers can create and maintain the relevancy of the apps their teams need, leveraging the interactivity of these devices, converting sales opportunities into closed business.Using the right mobile app analytics is a great way to measure whether that is happening in your organization.
The highly connected nature of mobile devices, combined with the mature infrastructure built to track mobile app usage now let marketers see whether their customers (sales teams) are being properly served.
By Gavin Finn is CEO of Kaon Interactive (kaon.com), a provider of interactive 3-D product marketing and sales applications that help B2B marketers and salespeople consistently demonstrate and differentiate products anywhere, anytime, on any device.