How to put mobile apps at the heart of your marketing strategy?

Nike’s top marketer and president, said in 2010: ‘We’re not in the business of lining the pockets of media companies, our consumers come to us several times a week’. Nike are the corporate poster child for mobile at the heart of their marketing strategy. Over the past 10 years, Nike have shifted most of their marketing spend from advertising to digital and specifically into mobile apps.

Just search the app store and you’ll find Nike+ Running, Nike+ Training Club, Nike Football, Nike+ Fuel, Nike+ Moves to name a few.

The marketing model for Nike is engagement driven and mobile apps have become the platform to deliver this.

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One year ago Apple gave an update on apps at its Annual Developer Conference. It was a great moment to take stock on the growth of apps. Some headline facts include: (source: Apple 2015)

  • 1. The Apple app store launched in 2008 with 500 apps
  • 2. By June 2015, there were 1.5 million apps
  • 3. The growth to 50m users of apps took only 17 months – faster than Facebook (which took four years) and any traditional media
  • 4. Apple claims to have 5 billion app downloads

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The smart organisations have taken the time to nail strategy and look at where a mobile app might fit. The challenge is that mobile apps are not finite products. You don’t just plan and build them.

You start with a proposition and build a MVP (minimal viable product) and then you evolve the app over time based on data, consumer feedback and a roadmap. The mobile app is then updated every few weeks.

If you plan to build a strong mobile app program or ecosystem, you need to commit to the journey. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

You will likely have a core portfolio of apps and then a group that are used seasonally. It becomes harder and harder to get an app into your core portfolio and you need utility, sociability or entertainment to make the secondary of portfolio.

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What becomes critical for the mobile app plan is to:

1. Build a strong value proposition

2. Map out a consumer journey and identify both opportunities and issues for the app to resolve

3. Pick the most important use cases and start to prototype

4. Use behavioural insight to go deeper into the use cases and ultimately define user experience.


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