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Should You Be Building Your Own B2B Marketing App?

Have you heard? Kim Kardashian created an app. It’s called Hollywood and, as of today, it’s been downloaded more than 250,000 times from iTunes® and over 420,000 from the Google Play™ store. That, I thought to myself, is probably a sign of the coming apocalypse. Either that, or there are just way too many apps out there.

How many apps do we really need?

The Apple® App Store is a huge business, with more than $10 billion in gross revenue in 2013, and developers have earned more than $20 billion. There are more than 1.2 billion apps available through Apple alone. It’s predicted that revenue from the Google Play store will overtake Apple’s by 2018. So, apparently, there’s no limit to the public’s thirst for new apps, and the market will continue to explode until the next best thing comes along.

B2B marketers have also jumped on this bandwagon, creating apps to address specific business objectives. Apple has a custom app store designed to fit those needs, and its simple, really. Develop an app, upload it to iTunes and, once Apple approves it, it’s available for download.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

The fast-paced world of digital marketing, with all its technological advancements, has made marketers’ lives easier. We have more options, tools and resources to be better, faster and stronger. With access to all that technology, maybe you should develop an app — you know, just for branding purposes.

Well, you unequivocally should be investing in mobile marketing. Investing in mobile application development, however, is a distraction and resource sap for most marketers.

And how much will it cost you in resources?

There are three areas of time and resource investment that every B2B sales and marketing app requires: development, deployment and maintenance/updating. Contrary to popular belief, developing an app is not cheap, with sales applications typically costing in the $50,000 to $150,000 development range.

And then there’s deployment. You can’t just upload the app and call it a day. Developers of B2B apps in particular need to ensure that smartphones, tablets and PC are all supported. After all, mobile doesn’t mean mobile only.

Roy Chomko, CEO of Adage Technologies, says that, “While executives eagerly shell out thousands of dollars for an app’s development and launch, too often they fail to forecast the ongoing costs of maintaining a mobile application.” Yes, maintenance costs on anything can really add up. Homes, cars, even pets. Free pets are never free. You’ll need to buy food, invest in grooming and pay their veterinary costs.

Experience shows maintenance costs far outweigh the initial cost of building the app. Forrester Research has documented that the 2-year maintenance cost of a B2B app is 2.5 times the initial development cost. Estimates by MGI Research show apps will require at least four major updates stemming from operating system and device updates over an 18- to 24-month period for just one operating system platform (e.g. iOS.)

Just cut it out – of your marketing budget.

Take into consideration that an estimated 25% of apps are downloaded only once, and never used again after their initial download. With a cluttered market and stickiness challenge, unless your mobile app is going to drive some serious results for your business, reroute your efforts to something that will give you a bigger bang for your buck.

Have you ever wondered if there are other things about your marketing strategy that might not be worth the time or cost? Download the FREE eBook below, Cut It Out: 10 Useless Things to Cut From Your Marketing Efforts.

Cut It Out: 10 Useless Things to Cut From Your Marketing Efforts