Building a smarter employee mobile app

By now, all internal marketers and communications pros should be on the employee mobile app bandwagon. If not, there is overwhelming evidence they will see brand engagement erosion over a short time period, eventually falling into oblivion—or that space no internal marketer wants to be in, internal brand awareness hell. Most of us have either been there or come skittishly close to the edge. But thankfully, most of us have also realized that the popularity of smartphones ruling the mobile market is only going to increase, and eventually dominate—replacing the computer as our primary digital means of communication. It’s like someone took the laptop and put it into our pockets. Most people today electronic communicate more so with their mobile device than their computer—even when their computer is right in front of them—say at the office. It’s the device of choice. Why? Because it’s smaller, easier and faster.but how can you create a smarter employee mobile app?

Not convinced? Ok, try this. According to Nielsen, more than 2/3 of the population has a smartphone running in their pocket, right now. The average user has it loaded with at least 41 apps, some used daily, some downloaded but seldom used. But it’s not just smartphone penetration that’s growing. Consumers are also spending more time using them, as time spent using smartphones now exceeds Web usage on computers in the U.S., U.K. and Italy. In fact, mobile has exceeded traditional computer online time, and is on a trajectory to rival TV viewing time.

As the shift towards this global mobile economy progresses, brands are struggling to play their proper role in the game. Ok, so you’ve decided to take the mobile leap. So just take your awesome website and make it mobile, right? Unfortunately, this is the strategy we hear time and time again. You have to build a smarter employee mobile app.

But we should be asking things like:

  • Let’s not just build an app, let’s have an engagement strategy behind how the thing works.
  • Don’t just copy your website and make it mobile—too much content.
  • Use the app to upsell and cross sell.
  • Wait, what about proximity—should I know my users location so I can offer more relevancy in products and services?
  • How about pushing promotional content and “essential communications”?

These are all questions we spark inside marketing departments and their IT counterparts every day. And with each question you see either one of two things; excitement for pushing the needle forward or complete bewilderment not having thought about any of these elements first. In some ways, it’s like déjà vu, right? Sort of like the late 90’s where everyone was rushing to create a website. The strategy back then was almost like “just take our print press kit materials and scan them into webpages”. Done. Today, that would seem outrageous.

So, don’t do it again to your mobile app. Build a smarter employee mobile app. Think your strategy and desired outcome through thoroughly. Understand the difference in value your website and your independent mobile app will play. They are both critical, but have different strengths and weaknesses. Seems like a straightforward thing to do, but with so many ways to “build an app”, you need a proper engagement plan first. Just think, when someone looks at a website, they are typically sitting down, plugged in, relaxed and have time. When you reach them on a mobile app, they are crossing the street, sitting on a train, passing short time, looking for something on the go, and in the worst cases—driving). You gotta be short, sweet and to the point giving them what they want, when they need it and customizing it through personalization. For example, does my customer—a busy Mom--have time for gamification? It’s not a one size fits all solution.


Download the white paper, Your Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Employee Engagement App, to view the app platform planning process in four easy-to-understand sections.


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