Thursday, December 15, 2011
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WEB GURU: MOBILIZING WITH APPS
Recently, Orange County [NY] Chamber Consultants Committee member, advertising and marketing expert Edison Guzman
[email@example.com] educated an audience of a score of business folk with his seminar, “How to Promote Your Business with Mobile Apps.” “App" is short for “applet,“ which is short for “application.” . Even if the new smart phones seem smarter than we are, we will want to, perhaps need to, learn how to attract customers to our web sites or businesses by using mobile apps.
You have a cell phone. Your competitors have cell phones You have a web site. Your competitors have web sites. You’ve bought a smart phone [Android, iPhone, Blackberry] and so have your competitors. Once you’ve gotten past playing “Angry Birds” on the thing, you notice it does lots of “tricks,” such as giving you the weather anywhere, helping you find your way home or find a bargain, update you an the news, etc. You may discover it allows your potential customers to shop at your competitors, on-line. Time to saddle up your own app.
What is an app? A mobile app is a little program that resides in your mobile phone and performs a specific task. A web app gets partially or wholly downloaded to your mobile phone each time you want to do what it facilitates. The price for obtaining the app is generally a couple of dollars or less.
I have a dumb mobile phone, but half of the 4 billion mobile phones in use are smart phones. It is predicted that by 2014 internet usage over mobile phones will dominate internet usage by desktop computers. Already, half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. Your customers are often on their mobile phones: 86% of users have used them while watching TV! [Statistics are from E. Guzman, courtesy of Microsoft.]
Mobile devices are being used for games, weather reports, maps, social networking, music, news, entertainment, dining, video, and more, in descending order of frequency. Occasionally, a phone call is made. They are also using them to shop. A business can supply a useful app that also sells, advertises, demonstrates or gives away information about the products or services; captures names, email addresses, cell phone numbers; advertises someone else’s product or service [for a small fee or favor].
The latter part of Mr. Guzman’s seminar showed the participants what goes into making an app. For most of us, the message boiled down to, “don’t try this at home.” There are, as he showed, programs available to ease your making your “killer app,” but there are complexities better left to the professional, such as Mr. G., my own go-to guru.
The future? Over one trillion dollars in mobile commerce (m-commerce) by 2015, world-wide, led by Japan, then Europe, then the U.S. Get on board!
Submitted 12.15.11 for publication in the OCCC Business Viewpoint
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a freelance writer and retired environmental scientist, author of Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published September 2011, available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or his Web site. He has been reporting on his first year with the Chamber.
His email address is