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Marketing Smarts Podcast: Mobile Marketing's New Frontier

by Matthew Grant  |  
January 4, 2012

Whenever we present content on mobile marketing—such as our recent PRO Seminar on location-based marketing, CK Kerley's class on mobile marketing that was part of our Content Marketing Crash Course, or Dan Lowden's class on the subject for Websites That Work—we frequently get the question: What are the B2B applications?

The question makes sense because mobile marketing seems to be most effective when it's built into a store experience or focused on coupons and discounts for consumer goods. While such tactics could be applicable to the trade show environment, trade shows are not at the center of B2B marketing. So, B2B marketers are left thinking, "This sounds cool, but it's just not for me."

Reflecting on the question, I've often wondered if there were some other way that B2B marketers could be thinking about mobile and, specifically, if it didn't perhaps have overlooked or untapped applications within the enterprise itself.

For example, what if B2B marketers were using mobile apps to provide sales folk, who may well be delivering presentations to prospective clients via an iPad, access to critical or "just-in-time" information while they're at the client site?

Or, because getting sales people to input data can be notoriously difficult, what if they had an app that allowed them to connect to the CRM on the go or in real time so that data capture wasn't an afterthought or, worse, totally neglected?

It turns out that I'm not the only one thinking about apps in the enterprise and, in fact, they've been around for a while (at least at IBM). To get me (and you!) up to speed on the potential for apps in the enterprise and the rise of the internal app store (or "catalogue"---apparently Apple has a trademark on the term "app store"), I invited Cimarron Buser of Apperian to talk with me on Marketing Smarts.

To hear what Cimarron has to say on the subject, I invite you to listen to the podcast here:

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As our conversation highlights, there are at least three things you should take into account when considering how you might leverage mobility within the enterprise in support of your marketing efforts:

1. It's Only Getting Easier

Many enterprise tools, such as Salesforce, already have a basic app that you can deploy internally. Now, even more importantly, the tool makers are also developing and promoting APIs that greatly simplify the process of building custom apps.

2. Employees Expect Mobile Support

As we move deeper into a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and mobile-optimized workplace, Cimarron says, employees "come in expecting to connect to the corporate email, to the corporate calendar, and they want applications to make their life easier." What's more, employees are used to the app store metaphor and the process of installing and configuring their own apps, which means that they need a lot less hand-holding than in the olden days (like, five years ago!).

3. The Possibilities Are Endless

In addition to the functional apps you'd expect to find in the enterprise (email, CRM, etc.), there is an unending amount of content that could be delivered via an app (videos, PDFs, demos, etc.) or "appified." These possibilities point to new ways that marketing and IT can collaborate within the enterprise, first in terms of helping identify good app candidates, and then in terms of naming, branding, and promoting internal apps.

So, is your company taking advantage of internal mobility? If not, how could apps help you do your job?

If you like what you hear on the podcast, or even if you don't, please feel free to leave a comment or a question. You can also leave a review for this and other episodes in the iTunes Store. Thanks for listening!

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My name is Matthew T. Grant, PhD. I'm Managing Editor here at MarketingProfs. I divide my time between designing courses for MarketingProfs University and hosting/producing our podcast, Marketing Smarts. You can follow me on Twitter (@MatttGrant) or read my personal musings on my blog here.

If you'd like to get in touch with me about being a guest on Marketing Smarts or teaching as part of MarketingProfs University or, frankly, anything else at all, drop me a line.

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  • by Daniel Milstein Thu Jan 5, 2012 via blog

    That is so true, Matthew. Apps bring in a varied lot of opportunities not only from an enterprise perspective but also on the consumer front. Apps are definitely a big bet. One thing I learned before I became a bestselling author and long before Inc Magazine voted my company as one of the fastest growing companies is that mobility and easy access to information for employees do help a lot in improving productivity.

  • by Matthew T. Grant Thu Jan 5, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, Daniel.

    My hope with this podcast was to get marketers thinking about all the ways mobility could support their efforts, especially when the use of apps for direct customer interaction didn't quite fit the situation.

    Also, are you any relation to the great violinist, Nathan Milstein?

  • by Harry Cruickshank Mon Jan 9, 2012 via blog

    Good points Matthew. There are several technologies widely used in consumer marketing that are only now being explored by in a B2B context - mobile is high on the list. Apps to help sales deliver rich media content to customers are being used in several sectors, such as pharmaceutical and IT. If deployed with care, these not only add value to the pre-sales and sales processes, but focus on allowing customers to consume (or interact with) content in their own time in a way that works for them. As an example, consultants in hospitals may use an iPad or similar device to catch up on surgical developments between operations.

    Having employees customise their own apps to improve productivity sounds like common sense too, but I wonder how many companies are thinking in that way (even in the IT space)?

  • by Matthew T. Grant Fri Jan 13, 2012 via blog

    Thanks for sharing the hospital example, Harry.

    As far as allowing employees to customize their own apps, I can see how that could be beneficial but imagine that many companies are still leery—for security/compliance reason, I reckon—of letting their employees exercise the same control over technology at work that they already enjoy at home~

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