Tap into the Mobile Economy

“Tap into the Mobile Economy” is a guide for people that have an idea for an app and don’t know what to do. The book draws upon our experience dealing with hundred of clients looking to be an appreneur.  The book covers:

  • Developing an Idea for an app
  • The monetization of apps
  • Finding a developer
  • Marketing an app

If you feel like you have the makings of the next Uber, this book will help guide you through the process.  The physical book is available for purchase on Amazon.  The good news is that we also have it free as a digital download.



By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event

Apple’s Debut of The iPhone 5c and 5s. Seriously? That’s it?

In huge anticipation, I watched  Apple’s Keynote where they announced the long awaited iPhone 5s and  5c.  My first impression is wow, they are really padding this  presentation.  Tim Cook started off about talking the iTunes Music Festival and the new Apple Store at Stanford Mall.  Really?  Then we get a recap of iOS7 (which was announced in June).  Finally, about 20 minutes in, they presented the iPhone 5c and  5s.

The glorious colors of the iPhone 5c.

The glorious colors of the iPhone 5c.

The iPhone 5c

In a nutshell, the iPhone 5c is the iPhone 5 with different color options (white, green, blue, pink and yellow) with a price point starting at $99 (with contract).  I’m not sure if the “c” is either for color or cheap.   This addresses Apple’s need for a low  end product to compete with the huge number  of cheap Android phones on the market.

The iPhone 5s

Here’s what’s new in the iPhone 5s:

*Their  64 bit A7 Chip which Apple touts as desktop class architecture that’s twice the speed of the A6 Chip.  They did a demo of a graphic intensive game and remarked how quick the performance is.  It’s an  interesting use of a fast processor but I’m not so sure if high end gaming on a phone is a killer feature.

*The  M7 coprocessor which measures the data from the iPhone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.  Apple explains this as an advantage for fitness apps because of a decrease in power usage.

*Upgrade iSight capabilities.  It seemed like Apple put a lot of emphasis on improving their camera.  I’m more of a point and click kind of a guy and the new features are probably more than I’ll use  but here they are:

-Larger Sensor

-Larger Pixels

-Larger Aperture

-Continuous Burst Mode

-True Tone Flash

-Auto image stabilization

-Slow Motion Video

-Live video zoom

-Square photos

-Panorama photos

-Photo filters

*Touch ID:  of the new iPhone 5s features, I actually found this the most interesting.  With touch ID, for device security, it replaces entering a numeric password with authenticating a finger print on the home button.  According to Apple, the authentication can be used for iTunes purchases.  Okay, initially, when I first heard about this feature, I was  ho-hum.  However, the way it is implemented is brilliant and seamless.  It’s security without having to think about it…and apparently it can be extended to other applications.

Apple’s Keynote ended with a little more filler from Elvis Costello.  Overall, I found the new features rather meh especially when compared to the features seen in the Galaxy 4.  I really was expecting a lot more.  Going forward, I  feel the Galaxy will be  the phone to beat and Apple will be playing catch up.

Using Smartphone Apps for Marketing and Building Your Brand

Smartphone apps are the third pillar of developing a mobile strategy.  It is perhaps the most expensive of the three options and really needs to be thought out.

In using Smartphone apps for promoting your business, I see two primary reasons:

1)       Apps used for  marketing and  branding your business

2)      Apps become part of your business  process (more on this in the next blog)

And of course there are apps that do both.    This blog will discuss apps used for marketing and branding.  I’ll discuss Apps that become part of the business process in my next blog.

If you do a search for “Coca-Cola” in the Apple App Store, there are more than 60 apps.  They range from gag apps like their version of the Magic 8 Ball to a virtual Coca-Cola Yo Yo.  They have apps with movie tie ins including” Cowboys  and Aliens” and “Happy Feet.”  One of their most popular apps is “Spin the Coke” which is a mobile version of Spin the Bottle.  (I dread the day when my kids become teenagers).

Promoting the Walking Dead with the Dead Yourself App

Promoting the Walking Dead with the Dead Yourself App

For apps that are used for branding, a key component for success is to get it to go viral via social media.   A great example is the Walking Dead’s “Dead Yourself” app.  Dead Yourself is a great app where the user can “zombify” a picture of themself.  The app allows the user to quickly share their zombie self on social media.   I usually don’t like to promote products on my social media account but I found myself posting my zombie picture on Facebook where a few of my friends downloaded the app and quickly followed suite.

In general, only larger companies can afford to develop an app for just branding purposes.    To develop an effective marketing app, the developer needs to work intimately with the client’s marketing firm.  Also, it  should be a piece of a larger marketing plan.



iOS 7 is coming! iOS 7 is coming! iOS 7 is…

Like a modern day Paul Revere (or Chicken  Little  depending on how you view it), I would like to remind you that iOS 7 is coming sometime this month.  I’ve heard  rumors that the  launch will coincide with their big announcement on September 10, 2013 which we all believe will be the  debut of the next iPhone.

So what’s the  big deal?  Well in general, we find that that with any major upgrade with iOS, things tend to break with existing apps.  From personal experience, the very first app  that I worked on, the upgrade from iOS 2 to 3 broke half my audio files in the app.  Our development team had to work overtime to fix the problem and resubmit the app to  Apple.  We’ve done some testing on the apps  we developed against  iOS 7 beta and we found that the upgrade has caused some problems.

First order of business is insuring functionality.  So, if you already have an iOS app developed,  to be proactive, contact  your developer and ask them to test against iOS 7.  If they find any issues, have them fix it.  In terms of timing, you also have to remember that Apple typically takes  2 weeks to review an app (even upgrades to an existing app).

Skeuomorphic vs. Minalimist

Skeuomorphic vs. Minimalist

Longer term, you may want to consider redesigning  your app to match iOS 7’s minimalist design.  Currently, iOS 6 uses a Skeuomorphic design (where functions mimic real world objects) .  iOS 7, on the other hand,  will embrace a minimalist design.

More  importantly, in redesigning your app for iOS 7, you should consider leveraging some of the new iOS 7 features.

If you have an app  on the Apple App Store, hopefully, you’ve been aware of the debut of iOS 7 and have already prepared for it.  If you haven’t, I  recommend contacting your developer and ask them to test your app against iOS 7.


Rich Foreman

CEO / Apptology



SMS (Text) Marketing: An Effective Way to Reach Your Customer Base

In continuing my series on the  three pillars of a marketing strategy, the second pillar is SMS (Text) Marketing.  SMS stands for Short Message Service and  it’s  one of the primary ways  people now communicate.  To illustrate the change in communication, my cousin was complaining to me that her  kids (who are in their 20’s) never  responds to her emails.  When I talked to her kids, they laugh and basically said that they primarily text or  Facebook and that no one emails.

95% of text messages are read within 15 minutes.  Compare that with emails which has a 3% read rate.  Email use is declining and consequently, the effectiveness of email marketing.  However, I still feel that email marketing is still effective for B2B but if your business is more B2C, you really should look into SMS Marketing.

A&W SMS Campaign

A&W SMS Campaign

Here are some case studies that show the effectiveness of SMS marketing.  A&W burger chain was able to increase their revenue by a staggering 20% by using Text Marketing.    In similar fashion, Jamba Juice was able to increase their in store traffic by 10% with their Text Marketing campaign.

As a pillar to mobile marketing, SMS Marketing offers an effective means to market to your clients and if you business model is B2C, I highly recommend that you look into it.  (Shameless plug, Apptology does offer SMS Marketing packages).

In my next blog, I will look go  over the  third pillar of mobile marketing, Smartphone Apps.

Why You Need a Mobile Friendly Web Site

In the last blog,  I discussed the three  pillars in developing a mobile  strategy.  The first pillar is developing a mobile friendly web site.  This can also be  referred to as mobile optimized web site.   Figure 1 illustrates the problem that a smart phone has with a standard web site.

Figure 1.  Viewing our full web site from a smart phone.

Figure 1. Viewing our full web site from a smart phone.

Standard web sites are cumbersome to navigate on a smart phone.  The user would have to zoom in and out to navigate and read the content.  In fact, a recent poll cites that 44% of shoppers  would not return to a site this is  not mobile friendly.

One solution is develop a mobile friendly web site.   Figure 2 depicts our  mobile friendly web  site.

Figure 2.  Viewing mobile version of our web site from a smart phone.

Figure 2. Viewing mobile version of our web site from a smart phone.


As you can see, our web site is streamlined with what we consider critical content.  The site can be navigated with the user’s thumbs.  It also can support some native features like tap to call and even tap for directions.   Creating a mobile friendly web site is fairly easy to do.  Your web master can usually put one together or you can go to a third party like dudamobile.com, bmobilized.com, or (shameless plug) Apptology.com.  The way this works is that a script is added that can detect if a user is viewing from a mobile device and then redirects them to the mobile version.   This method is ideal if you feel like you invested a lot in your current web site and just need something quick.

If you are creating a web site from scratch or are looking at doing a total redesign, you should choose a web developer that is familiar with Responsive Design.  In a nutshell, responsive design allows the web site to adapt to the viewing environment, be a laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

Although I describe having a mobile web site  as one of the pillars of  developing a mobile strategy, I would  argue that if your business relies on your web site, mobilizing  it  is  a necessity.    According to a recent comScore report, almost 40% of “Internet time” is spent on a mobile device.  If you couple this  with the earlier cited poll that 44% of shoppers won’t return to a site that is not mobile friendly, you can see that having a mobile friendly site is crucial.

In my next blog, I will discuss  the  second pillar of developing a mobile  strategy,  SMS Marketing.


Rich Foreman

The Population Has Already Adopted Mobile

This is a first in a series of blogs that will discuss how to use mobile technology to promote your business.   However, before I can really proceed, I first need to discuss what the impact the smart phone has on our society.   My contention is that the population has already adopted mobile.

I recently gave a presentation on this subject and I asked the audience what they did with their smart phone.  In the short 5 minute exercise, this is what we came up  with:

GPS:   since this person’s iPhone begin to provide  turn by turn directions, they no longer used their Garmin.

Watch:  this person uses his smart phone to tell time and no longer wears a watch.  One person mentioned that he also used it as an alarm clock.

Comparison shopping / scanning bar codes:  One person admitted that they used their phone  when shopping  and scans the bar code of  a desired item.   It typically came up with a list of sites that offered  the  item for less.  More often than not, he would show  the item to the sales clerk and they would match it.

Camera/Video Camera:  interestingly enough the smartphone has devastated the point and click camera market

MP3/Video/Streaming Media Player:  people used it to play music and video both resident on the smartphone or streaming like from Pandora  or Netflix.

Social Media:  Many of the mentioned they accessed their social media from their Smart Phone

Internet / Internet Search:  One person mentioned that the smart phone became the ultimate arbiter of disputes

Email:  Most of the people accessed their email accounts from their smart phone.

Texting:  This was universal

Games:  This person admitted that he was addicted to Star Wars Angry Bird.

Pedometer:  One person was trying to lose weight and downloaded a pedometer app.  He used it to track his walking and weight.

Apps:  The pedometer brought up the subject of apps and the countless possibilities.  Other apps mentioned were calculators and tracking expenses.

Phone:  Close to the end of this exercise, we were reminded that smartphones could also be used as phones.

I had to stop the exercise after 5 minutes but it proved my point.  The smart phone has become key to our lives and clearly the group I talked to heavily used their smartphone.

Wireless Subscriptions Overtake Populations

Wireless Subscriptions Overtake Populations

To reinforce my contention, an interesting statistic is that the number of cell phones in the U.S. actually outnumber the population.

Hopefully, with your own experience you can accept my premise that the population has adopted mobile.  What’s interesting, is that most business, organizations, government agencies have yet to adopt a mobile strategy.  Many that have already done so have seen a good ROI.  In my next blog, I will discuss the three  pillars of developing a mobile strategy.


Rich Foreman

Marketers Shift Spending to Mobile

In 2013, Mobile, Social Lead Shift From Traditional Media to Digital. Mobile and social media were the two categories expected to see the most increased attention in 2013. In fact, more than eight in 10 of those polled named mobile media as a target for increased focus, while just over three-quarters of respondents said the same for social media. Read more


Marketing Research Chart: Top Mobile Marketing Objectives

Whenever marketers begin to investigate the implementation of a new tactic, it’s likely that the first questions asked are, “Why should I do this?” and “What are our goals in doing so?” Mobile is no exception.

When asked about their top objectives, 63% of respondents indicated they hoped to increase sales conversion, followed by increasing lead generation (55%) and lead nurturing (50%). As we learn — somewhat unsurprisingly — in subsequent charts in the Benchmark Report, sales conversion was the top choice for B2C companies, while their B2B counterparts focused on lead generation.

If you’re a B2B marketer, do you see mobile as a viable lead nurturing channel? What types of lead nurturing tactics have you employed in your mobile marketing? What restrictions, if any, have you faced in nurturing leads through mobile efforts?

Despite the fact that increasing sales conversion was a top mobile objective for 63% of marketers, improvement of the customer service experience was a low-ranking category, at just 19%.

Has your company used mobile to improve the customer shopping experience? How have these efforts paid off for your company? Does your company’s approach reflect these findings, or do you feel focusing on the lowest-ranked categories might benefit mobile efforts?