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New Study From Forbes Insights Finds Marketers’ Use of Internal and External Apps on the Rise

Forbes Insights today released a report, “The Connected Marketer: How Apps Are Engaging Customers, Partners and Employees,” produced in association with Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE), which discovered key trends about how senior-level marketers are integrating apps in the marketing mix to both connect with customers and drive internal efficiencies. Marketers are taking the lead in this area, with 53% of them designing and deploying apps, both internal- and external-facing, as part of their marketing and business development strategies. “Offering customers, partners and employees apps capable of delivering a range of services is now crucial in this mobile era,” says Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and Head of the CMO Practice of Forbes Media. “This study is relevant to marketers who are integrating them as a core component of the marketing mix.”

The study, which looks at how organizations are creating compelling mobile strategies to create a cohesive experience for the end-user, was based on a survey of 302 executives. Forbes Insights also conducted in-depth interviews to provide context for the findings.

Among the key findings:

  • Apps are on the rise. A majority of enterprises with customer-facing apps, 78%, report increases in their mobile app audiences over the past year. The availability of more services and content available exclusively through apps is driving this growth.
  • Use of customer-facing mobile apps is seen as a post-sale loyalty strategy. Thirty-one percent of respondents say that customer-facing apps have the greatest impact when maintaining loyalty post-purchase.
  • Internal apps are driving efficiencies. More than two-thirds of executives report the number of end-users of their internal apps has grown over the past year; they see apps playing greater roles in facilitating sales, communication and training processes as more and more internal end-users rely on mobile devices to do their jobs.
  • Most marketing organizations are still on their first apps. Most organizations have only one to three apps at most. While these are still early days for corporate app deployments, three-fourths of executives surveyed reported that their budgets for app development and deployment are increasing.
  • App-specific content drives download. Apps require more than simply scaling down a website to fit a smaller screen. A majority of those who have seen the number of mobile app users increase, 60% attribute that to the fact that they are making more exclusive content available through the apps. Sixty-eight percent of all the respondents say they are offering exclusive content that cannot be found elsewhere.
  • User experience is the biggest challenge for marketers. The ability to design user-friendly interfaces and to keep end-users interested and returning to the app was seen as the biggest challenge for marketing executives.
  • In-app analytics represent opportunity. Forty-four percent of respondents attempt to measure metrics within the app such as content views and number of downloads. However, marketers are not yet focusing on user-interface metrics such as analysis of navigation through the app, pathing or length of time spent with the app in large numbers yet –an area that represents opportunity for marketers to gain further insight into their customers.

“The research we’ve produced with Forbes Insights indicates that savvy senior marketers are looking to include apps as a core component of the marketing mix to connect with customers and employees,” says Nick Bogaty, head of digital publishing, Adobe. “With app audiences and budgets on the rise, smart brands will use apps to engage with stakeholders and drive purchase, loyalty and efficiencies in an immersive, interactive way.”

About the research

This survey of 302 executives was conducted in October 2013. Thirty-two percent of the executives came from North America, 31% from Asia-Pacific and 30% from Europe. The respondents’ companies’ had at least $250 million in revenues.

About Forbes Insights

Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and Forbes.com, whose combined media properties reach nearly 50 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management.

Download the report at http://bit.ly/mobile-app-report

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