Do my customers really want an app?


4 minute read
Alumni: Kieron Gurner

Alumni: Kieron Gurner

UX & Design Lead

Digital Insights

You may be wondering whether an app for your organisation is worth the investment, and whether your existing or potential customers really want an app from you in the first place. As the app market is developing, people are less likely to download simple informational apps that tell them about your business – they’re looking for apps that are entertaining, useful and enjoyable.

The transition from traditional marketing to digital can be tough – especially as the market changes so rapidly – but apps shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement for websites, just like websites shouldn’t be used as a replacement for printed marketing. Each strategy has its place in any marketing strategy, and the way that you choose to implement them will affect how your target audience perceive your brand, and whether they ultimately become customers.

As app consumers are becoming more familiar with the apps, the goal isn’t just to put your brand in front of people anymore – it’s to engage each person in a way that they’ll want to experience more than once, and by doing so, will evangelise your app through their social networks. We’re now in a period when people are using apps to entertain, teach and navigate their lives daily, which is a much better way to get your brand stuck in their mind in the long-term.

OK, so we know we need to do more than just inform. But what kind of apps do your existing and potential customers want?

Here are a few examples of well-known organisations adding value to their apps by presenting their existing content in more accessible ways:

Natwest Banking
The Natwest Banking app provides quick and easy transfers between accounts and payees, with a much quicker login process than internet banking currently offers, so the app removes the barriers that users face to access information about their accounts. Making things easier for their users, and providing links to “Nearest Branches” contact details and location make it the go-to app for customers of Natwest, and in most cases, can replace the basic functionality of online and mobile banking. The app’s utility means that customers will use it again and again.

Natwest Banking App


Tate Modern: Magic Tate Ball
A playful app that shows users artworks and information based on temporal factors like time of day, weather conditions and where in the world they are. By unlocking some of the clever technology in the phones (like listening for background noise levels), they aim to entertain their users in novel ways, and the artworks they explain give the app that extra bit of shelf-life in people’s pockets.

Magic Tate Ball App


London Tube Map
Providing a pocket-sized, easy-to-use map of London’s Underground, and a way to plan your transport around the city means that this app can become indispensible for the casual city visitor. One of the key benefits is that this app simply puts the existing tube map in a much more accessible place for users, who don’t need to carry paper maps or have an internet connection to access them. Much like the Natwest Banking app, this could become the go-to place to get at this information for users, which means that they can start to unlock the potential for revenue streams if they choose.

London Tube App


All of those apps are free to download and use, so we can immediately see that there is no intent to make money directly on these apps. However, each of them provide the user with a more convenient, enjoyable, or practical way to engage with the existing content from those brands, and every time someone uses these apps, they’re subconsciously reminded that the organisations care about trying to make their life easier, or just more fun and inspiring.

You should think of an app as a chance to engage your target audience in a useful or enriching way – not as a money-maker, or a solution to all your marketing problems. But if you can deliver them something that they use again and again, or something that they love, they’ll spread it through their social networks, and you could benefit from their loyalty and uptake of your services.

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