Is an Android App Right for Your Company

I would argue that most companies should create an Android app—to either promote their brand or extend existing services to their customers. However, this advice comes with a caveat: The company must have the resources and the wherewithal to keep the app relevant and significant in the eyes of its customers.

H Note

Using Android as a branding tool has had mixed results for a number of companies as they have launched their apps. Using the app as a customer acquisition tool has seen limited success. Using the app as a way to reinforce a brand has seen better results. It takes some clever thinking to identify ways to make an app relevant for a brand, which is a crucial part of an app's success. Your company must produce an app that goes beyond the simple "store locator" functionality that many apps provide.

For example, a company selling paint might devise a color palette that shows pictures of rooms and walls with any paint color the user selects. The paint samples could include an entire inventory of the company's paints and color recommendations. A paint company could have an app on the Android Market that allows the user to snap a photo of an item and compare its color to the company's inventory of paint colors. Building an app is a long-term commitment, and companies need to evaluate carefully whether they have the internal resources to maintain the app and support it (along with the usual customer issues). Providing an app is a big endeavor, requiring a dedicated internal team to ensure the project's success. The following points should be considered before you embark on app creation:

• What is your user demographic? Do you have a way to poll your users to identify how many of them are currently using an Android? Recent reports show that about 10% of the U.S. mobile user community has an Android.

• Do you understand how your customers are using mobile devices? The Android has more features and capabilities than a lot of other mobile devices.

• How will you measure the success of your app? Do you intend to implement analytics into your app to measure beyond downloads?

• What is your budget for this project? Designing and building a free app can easily cost $50,000, if not much more when you factor in a small team to design, code, and support the app.

• What is your timeframe for releasing the app? Will it coincide with other campaigns you are rolling out?

• How will you promote your app and make its availability known?

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