Thomas Wesseling - Interactive marketing teams or departments play an important role in the company’s digital strategy. Or at least they should.
Every QR code that is being printed, website being build, mobile app being delivered and content published will pass by this department before a customer sees it. Online media has become a vital asset for engaging today’s customers but it is also costly to manage especially when external parties like digital agencies and IT developers are involved in the creation process.
This is why interactive marketing departments are more often insourcing design teams, interactive media experts and IT developers for the construction of websites, mobile apps and other digital assets.
Digital marketeers who have worked with web development teams have learned about the different concepts around Content Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Website Analytics and (Online) Focus Groups.
Mobile App skills
With other channels like mobile added to the mix, a different approach is needed. Creating mobile Apps requires new skills in different fields of expertise and this should not be underestimated.
Below are a few take aways for people who are working in interactive marketing teams and manage mobile app projects.
- Interactive Marketing departments that have been formed during the internet revolution have people working with a history in managing web site projects who don’t necessarily have experience with mobile app projects. Teams can underestimate the size and impact of app projects as such projects could become bigger and more complex to manage compared to the average website projects that they used to manage in the past.
- Look at the total (cross channel) experience. Is the mobile app part of an existing experience (on i.e. a website)? Make sure that the App can be integrated with that experience to prevent confusion or frustrations with (existing) online customers.
- A clear scope should be defined by the product owner or else apps will turn into Swiss Army knives : program manager/product owners should keep to the rule “less is more” when it comes to defining scope for the design and development teams.
- User eXperience (UX) Design should be done by people with a good view on mobile UX.
- User Acceptance Testing should be done by people with experience in mobile UX but also potential end users before launching the app. If the budget allows, prototypes should be tested first before jumping into any development work.
- Apps are often implemented as mash-ups and therefore require integration with several backend systems/APIs. Creating these APIs will heavily rely on IT development and solution architecture skills.
- Leaving App development and design to a pure IT player that does not have experienced design resources on board is risky. If the development team does not have those skills, a design team needs to feed them with proper design assets.Managing requirements and delivering proper (UX) design assets are a must.
- App development teams should reserve additional time for System and Integration Testing : especially when the App becomes more complicated (i.e. stores data offline and/or is part of a cross channel experience) and is developed for several mobile platforms.
- Not everyone is aware of how mobile app eco systems work, how apps are reviewed and in-app analytics can be collected. Following up on user reviews and improving apps based on facts gathered through mobile analytics are important.
- When implementing in-app analytics : clear goals will have to be defined by the team. Next to measuring technical defects (like crashes and other bugs) measuring conversions from the mobile app are important. But do respect the user’s privacy.