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Digital Marketing: Mobile App As New Consumer Retention Strategy

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ACCORDING to Opera Mediawork’s State of Mobile Advertising report released last month, Africa is poised to become a hotbed for mobile growth and commerce in the coming years. Businesses in the continent and those intending to penetrate the African market must now focus on integrating Digital Marketing into their overall marketing strategy. That is the opportunity and those who seize it will reap handsome rewards.

  Mobile is the driving force behind the continent’s accelerated internet adoption. Informa UK’s terrific Africa Telecoms Outlook projects 334 million African smartphone connections in 2017, maybe 30 per cent of the continent’s population.

  Digital Marketing is still something that is yet to be fully harnessed by many companies and organisations in Africa. Some think it is only about creating a website – that’s just the start. While most digital marketers tend to specialise on one or few twigs of Digital Marketing such as Email, PPC, SEO, Social Media, Online PR or even Analytics, one tool that is yet to be full tapped into is the development of mobile applications. 

  The maturing market, coupled with an increased expectation of mobile users, places emphasis on the necessity for businesses to create apps with genuine purpose to maintain relevance. Mobile’s vast expansion into pre-digital era situations like hailing a taxi, ordering an electronic item or accessories have naturally sparked a debate around whether we should be taking a mobile-first approach to everything. 

  The use of apps among Africans particularly Nigerians is still growing and a number of companies are making significant efforts to grow the ecosystem of app developers, businesses as well as consumers and while adoption here is not as much as in some other countries in the West, current trends show that apps are becoming much more engaging to mobile users in this part of the world. A good example is the Bride Price app which went viral and drew a series of conversations not only locally but even from foreign media online

  Today, the banking sector seems to be at the forefront of designing mobile apps that do not just relief their customers of the huge queue at their door steps but also enable them make little transaction through their mobile apps in simple steps. Kudos to GTBank and First Bank that took innovative steps with GTMobile and FirstMonie apps respectively. Now, all banks in the country have a mobile app.

  Lots of startup firms in the country appeared to have realised the huge opportunity of designing apps as a veritable marketing tool. The likes of Iroko, Uber, Carmudi, Larmudi recently launched theirs. Late last year, Lagos-based, Black House Media became the first PR agency to launch a mobile app.

  Commenting on Nigerian reaction to mobile app, Christian Keller, Managing Director of Carmudi Nigeria and Ghana said: “In Nigeria people use the Carmudi app more than any other Carmudi country. Africans have reacted positively to the use of apps as it negates the need to use a PC to access the internet. Also with the issue of slow internet connections in some areas, the use of mobile apps has become widely accepted.

  “It has been predicted that there will be a 20 fold increase in the use of internet on mobile phones in the next five years. With this statics, Africa will be a fertile ground for mobile apps from business to lifestyle and health”.

  Keller, when quizzed on the economic role of app design, said: “The economic value provided by the introduction app is huge. For example, Carmudi app offers convenient service as we ensure transparency in dealings between the buyer and the seller. The seller saves money on marketing as we do the marketing for them and we also provide detailed information about the cars on our website so buyers can save time searching for the right car.”  

  According to the Associate Public Relations and Digital Marketing Officer at First Bank Nigerial Capital, Oreoluwa Ettu, apps create deeper engagement with users by immersing them in the brands. 

  “Quick access to apps means that users have your brand at their fingertips. Depending on what kind of business it is and what the overall objective of consumer engagement is, apps provide immense opportunities for e-commerce, consumer interaction, customer service and content management,” he explained.

  Responding on the role of app economy in an evolving digital landscape, Ettu said app would continue to contribute to the growth of global marketing market. He cited its remarkable economic growth in the U.S. as example. 

  “Yes I believe it does. In the U.S. mobile apps created a fortune for entrepreneurs and changed the way business is done. In 2007 virtually no mobile apps existed but in 2011 over 25 billion apps have been downloaded.

  “Some analysts have even described the app economy as surpassing HollyWood in terms of revenue. So I do believe there is much untapped potential in the app economy. We do already have a few startups that are charting this course like Iroko TV. However, I see it as just the beginning,” he added. 

  Head of ICT at Ink House Media, Zulikifli Muhammad Kalgo, also noted that there are far too many who try to build an app before the rest of their mobile experience is right, and that having a well designed responsive website should be implemented first. 

  His words: “It’s important that the justification for building an app is not that everyone else might have one, but because it is filling a genuine need for your business or customers and in turn enhancing, expanding and improving the overall experience. 

Apps and mobile solutions that continue to do this will long have an instrumental role to play in driving future development of the wider digital landscape, a landscape which is set to place mobile at the very centre.”



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