There could be an ‘app’ for your business or organization
“There’s a app for that,” the simple, iconic tagline from the iPhone commercials, could apply to your business. An application — or an “app” when speaking Apple-ese — specific to your business or organization could be a valuable addition to your marketing cache.
The iPhone app created for the Tucson Festival of Books gave a quick, concise look at the festival events with a flick of the iPhone. The festival, Arizona’s largest literary event held March 13-14, attracted an estimated 70,000-80,000 bibliophiles to the University of Arizona campus to meet and mingle with about 450 authors who spoke and signed books.
A user review on the iTunes store Web site described the festival’s app as: “The perfect use of a small application to fill a need for those of us who don’t like carrying around newspaper-sized schedules of events. Very well done!” The free application was downloaded more than 625 times. It was updated with a slide show and video of the 2010 festival.
“It’s a lot of work, but worth it,” said developer Rob Wisner of the Arizona Daily Star, a festival sponsor.
Creating an iPhone application requires time and programming ability. First, the developer must apply, pay a fee and be approved by Apple. iPhone applications are written in an uncommon computer language, Objective-C, which can be overwhelming. And there is a fee to have the app in the iTunes store, which determines if you are going to distribute your apps in the iTunes store, $99/year, or in your enterprise, $299/year.
Apple estimates that there are more than 140,000 iPhone applications, from simple to sublime, such as:
- A virtual rosary-beads app allows the user to pray the rosary with animated beads moved with a touch. Corresponding prayers and devotional images pop up on the screen.
- Apparel-maker Dockers created an ad for users to interact with its ad using the phone’s accelerometer. Users shook the phone and an urban street dancer performed in a pair of Dockers. The ad appeared in iPhone games, including iBasketball, iGolf and iBowl, according to AdAge.com.
- The Gap had a holiday app that allowed people to mix-and-match outfits with the swipe of a finger, according to AdAge.com.
- You could shop for Target holiday gifts by shaking a virtual snow globe.
Before you call your IT department or a Web designer, look at other iPhone and mobile applications, decide what (if any) type of app would work for your business. Your app could be a search of a data base, such as the book festival’s site, a game or give information. Above all, your app needs to be creative, fill a need or offer something not available elsewhere and serve a marketing and information need for your business or organization.
There are a bazillion Web sites offering iPhone and mobile device application development advice. Proceed cautiously but optimistically.
The third Tucson Festival of Books will be March 12-13, 2011, on the UA campus. And yes, there will be an app for that.
(Thanks to Laughing Squid for the photo)