03/29

What Your App Gets Wrong

“There’s an app for that.”

You’ve heard that phrase countless times.

But there’s an important lesson wrapped up in that phrase.

Consider this:  There’s an app for what?

And the answer is “whatever problem a consumer happens to have.”

Apps are generally solutions to problems.  They’re not simply tools for you to amplify your brand – in fact they may not be that at all.  Apps are not necessarily about your brand, they are about your consumers. Even if they are in the presence of your brand.

And their effectiveness as solutions along with their low cost and ease of acquisition have made them (literally) the “killer apps” of mobile devices.

Why do you have an app?  For too many broadcasters the answer is simple: Because everybody seems to be doing it!

Well that’s a dumb reason, and it leads to poor solutions to nonexistent problems.

If you really understand what business you’re in, you should understand the answer to this question:

Why should a consumer visit your digital platform when they can hear what you do over the air on any of the five radios in the average home, work, and car?

Or, put another way, what problem does your platform solve that demands a visit from your consumers?

Pandora’s app solves the problem of wanting to hear my own personal style of radio wherever I go.

Starbucks’ app solves the problem of how to conveniently buy my drink without having to carry money or a Starbucks card.

CNN’s app solves the problem that I want to stay informed about breaking news.  It doesn’t stream Wolf Blitzer.

The Weather Channel’s app gives me the forecast wherever I travel.  It doesn’t stream the Weather Channel.

SiriusXM’s app allows me to listen to my favorite satellite radio channels without wires and clunky antennas anywhere I want.

Angry Birds can help me pass the time and entertain myself between tasks.

What about your app?

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