Vancouver’s Mobile Community Discusses Future of Marketing at DigiBC’s MoMoVan

There was once a time when we would roll out of bed and flick on the television and digest the morning news with a fresh cup of coffee.

Now many people admit that they start the day off by reaching for their mobile devices and routinely checking each of their apps and sites for current events, social and business correspondences and progression in their Clash of Clans economy. Mobile devices have changed every little thing we do, but it is still a relatively new technology and businesses are only starting to understand how to harness its full potential.

On Monday July 8, 2013, DigiBC presented MoMoVan, a digital marketing event that addressed businesses’ shift to become mobile first. Whether it is promoting a new product or supplying news, companies recognized that mobile is the media format of the future. But which platform should a company choose is still to be determined, mobile sites versus apps? That was a major question the panel at MoMoVan tried to tackle.

“It depends on what you are trying to accomplish,” said Johann Starke, president of FCV, an interactive and digital marketing agency. “Apps work great, but if you are building an app for a political party with a campaign where the content has to change, it depends on how it is structured. What if there is a problem? What if you need to update it? You are totally at their [App Store approval] mercy. I think the things that have time constraints, you are better off doing a mobile site and use apps for things that are product based.”

“Apps are a bit of a gamble,” Starke added. “You got to be careful that you time it right. I’ve heard horror stories about stuff taking 90 days from the time you send it in for approval and if they reject anything you’ll have to fix it. So it is tricky.”

Apps are a big commitment for companies, but for users they tend to be nothing more than a short-term fling, a impulse download followed by neglect and then deletion. There are only a handful of apps that have sustainable relevance and remain a permanent fixture on my iPhone.

Apps are a premium experience and it comes with a price. A quality app with a poorly planned purpose will result in lost of time and money. “The reality is,” said Sandy Fleischer, Managing Partner at Pound & Grain, “apps are going to break. It depends on the complexity, but ultimately apps are software, while websites can sometimes be brochure-ware. In general, the maintenance requirement for an internal app is going to be more so than on a website.”

Despite all that, new apps are being produced. Apple announced that in June that there are now over 900,000 apps in the App Store. That is a 28% increase from one year ago.

In terms of user data, people spend a lot more time on apps than browsing mobile site. But some believe the market is now saturated and it is about time we see a decline in app productions. We don’t need another weather forecast, currency converter or food review app. We have reached a point where only the best apps should survive.

After all, what is the point of spending money and time creating something that will only be lost in the desolate sea of icons?

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