Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Apps. How they can make money + one crying out to be done.

I have a natural boredom with Apps. Like the world needs another App to go with the half a million already in the Apple store alone.

Of course in some ways that's a nonsensical thing to say given the explosion of mobile, 'Draw Somethings' welcome success and the innovation that goes on (Instagram for example). No bigger fan than me, the writer.

But what I mean is there's a lot of companies saying "Hey, let's do an APP!" when they've no idea why. Just that they seemingly "like to have one" - kinda' like they feel they're in the zone, in the space, on top of social media....right.

I see too my good friends in Youngs Advertising/80:20 interactive currently launching a new Bulmers App extensively promoted through TV and being ably tweeted. I haven't tried the APP but knowing who is behind it, I have no doubt it's one of the worthwhile ones. Do get it.

But there's very few out there that really rock and instead, all they do is add to phone clutter.

So I was quite excited when I came across one that links the use of an App with a really great experience - drinking beer at a match.

One thing I do love to do, is to go to The Aviva Stadium (Ireland's national stadium) to watch rugby. I also serve on the Leinster Branch's marketing committee and so I know that before the new Aviva was built (it was formerly known as Lansdowne Road Stadium), a real marketing focus was put on generating food/beer income from attendees on top of high ticket prices.

Because of the poor layout/design of the old stadium, only something like 13% of match goers actually bought anything. So by making food stalls more accessible (convenient), it was argued, this revenue could grow substantially and help offset the development costs. And it has..... but only to a point.

For most people sitting in their seats watching a match, they don't want to move from their seat to the food counter to buy something, because it disrupts other people as they make way and, as everyone knows, the minute you leave your seat.... a crucial goal/try is always scored.

It's like waiting for a Bus. No sign of one until you light up a cigarette and they come in threes.

So during the match, food/programme/beer/merchandise purchases are practically nil and so the real opportunity only exists pre-match. Well, not anymore.

An American start up has developed an APP for coming San Francisco Giants (Baseball) games from May 14 (today). Like a menu, you select what you want from your seat, give your seat number, pay for it there and then online and it's brought to you. Hot dog + Beer? No problem. Kids T-Shirt + Beer? No problem. Just 5 Beers? No problem. Imagine match programme sales? or perhaps pre-order your drinks before you arrive?

It's not an APP, it's nirvana. Imagine the brands that would want to reach out to these rugby fans too via such an App.

One downside is that in San Fran they charge extra to deliver (which is mad because there's plenty of revenue in 50,000+ captive customers even on a small margin). But it's a superb idea around an APP.

And The Aviva? 
I'd say they'd salute you if you developed the APP and were able to implement it. Nevermind the folks over at 70,000 seater Croke Park.

APPS work when they relate to something useful.
They stand out when they're practical.
They generate traffic when they're free to download.
They generate revenue when they solve a customer problem.

As Jobs often said about Apple, you start with the customer need, then you build the application. With a bit of real-world problem solving, Apps are a great free way to distribute the solution.

Anyone want a hand to develop one for the IRFU/Aviva? Shout.

Otherwise we've enough Apps already. We only want the relevant ones now.