Meeting the Needs of B2B Customers with Mobile: The Case for Micro-Apps

Submitted by on Mon, 07/18/16

One of the world’s largest oil companies was challenged with a difficult task: to deliver information related to the company’s recruiting efforts, like schedules, locations, and more, to students across college campuses. Each school needed to receive a unique set of information that would encourage students to sign up for recruiting sessions with the company. Delivering that information via print collateral was out of the question. The way college students communicate and engage had evolved—they’d become strongly connected to their mobile phones for information. To meet the needs of those end users, the company decided to create a customized app for each of the schools in its recruitment network.

Meanwhile, one of the largest insurance providers on the West Coast faced a similar dilemma. During open enrollment season, it provided each of its corporate clients with customized benefit options that would educate and encourage company employees to sign up for a plan. In years prior, the provider had printed all of its collateral, resulting in thousands of printed pieces for each open enrollment fair. This solution was perceived as out of touch, particularly among its clients that were cutting edge technology companies. The provider determined it needed to utilize a more sustainable and innovative solution. Given smartphone proliferation, the provider determined it would best meet the needs of its audience by rolling out a customized mobile app for each of its corporate clients.

Both the oil company and the insurance provider had come to the same conclusion: they needed a custom mobile solution that would meet the unique needs of each of its B2B clients and influence user behavior.

Custom Solutions Made Easy

Despite the rise of mobile usage—it grew by 58% in 2015—other organizations have yet to follow suit. Why? From development to ongoing maintenance, developing apps is an expensive, time-consuming, and labor-intensive process. Now imagine creating custom apps for all of your B2B customers—taking on such an effort seems nearly impossible. These two companies however, had implemented a smarter solution that made this unthinkable goal easily attainable.

Both organizations turned to rapid mobile app development technology, a cost-saving alternative to full-scale mobile app development projects—with these tools, anyone, even non-technical users, can create fully-functional apps without compromising quality. Furthermore, these organizations used a RMAD technique that would transform a single app into multiple, customized experiences: micro-apps.

What Are Micro-Apps?

Micro-apps are individual applications that can be uniquely branded and authenticated for different segments of your audience. In other words, micro-apps allow businesses to easily create customized apps for all of their corporate clients.

Though developing numerous customized apps could exhaust your IT resources, creating them with micro-apps makes it easy. From a main app, data is integrated seamlessly across all of your client apps without the need to recreate content or repeat development. Each micro-app can then be customized based on that user groups’ specific needs and requirements.

The Additional Benefits

Besides seamless customization, there are further reasons to utilize micro-apps.

You’ll create sustainable business practices.

A 2014 UN Global Compact-Accenture study revealed that 72% of the consumers surveyed believed that businesses were not doing enough to save the planet. Meanwhile, though a majority of the CEO’s surveyed saw sustainability as a business priority, they expressed frustration over the pace of change within the market.

Mobile technology has created more opportunities to create an environmentally-friendly workspace. With micro-apps you can eliminate print collateral and, in turn, significantly reduce the amount of waste you put into the environment.

Your company will save time and money.

The amount of time and resources that goes into creating direct mail pieces and print collateral can be extraordinary. Costs can include paper, expensive printing equipment, third-party vendors, shipping, and your employees’ time and energy.

With micro-apps, the need for printing is significantly reduced or even eliminated. Not only will you cut costs, but your employees can focus their time on other important business objectives.

Updates are instantaneous, and your app can easily scale.

Timely and accurate information is important to your users. With print, it’s nearly impossible to provide up-to-the-minute updates; and when your audience has cluttered inboxes, sending emails can be just as ineffective.

With micro-apps, changes to information can be made instantaneously—and with some tools, there’s no need to resubmit to the app stores. When utilized in conjunction with mobile communication, like push notifications and in-app messages, you can alert your users immediately of any changes made to the app.

Additionally, micro-apps for new customers can be added at any time without additional app store submissions, making it incredibly easy for teams to scale to support hundreds of customers using the same approach.

You’ll extend customer communication.

Micro-apps not only create customized experiences, but double as communication tools. Once installed on an end-user’s mobile device, a micro-app provides an ongoing opportunity for communication and engagement, even when your audience in on-the-go.

Furthermore, as email effectiveness decreases, mobile  communication can be leveraged to improve your company’s call-to-actions.

You’ll Look Like a Tech-Savvy Brand.

We’ve already reached a mobile tipping point. In 2015, comScore reported that mobile had become the leading digital platform and that apps alone accounted for more than half of the time spent consuming digital media. Furthermore, Pew Research Center, discovered that 72% of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone. Usage is even more pervasive among Millennials—a whopping 92% of 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. reported having one.

By including micro-apps in your B2B strategy, you’ll can get a step ahead of the competition and position yourself as a forward-thinking and tech-savvy brand to potential customers. We officially can’t live without mobile, but not enough brands are creating dedicated strategies around it. With micro-apps, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.

Are You Ready to Update Your Strategy?

To learn more about the benefits of multi-apps, access this case study to find out how the West Cost insurance provider replaced its print strategy with a progressive and customized mobile approach.


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