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Direct Response Marketing

Hello, Mobile!

1 Feb, 2009 By: Response Contributor Response

In the continuing move toward 'response-measured' media, smart phone data consumption drives hyper-local direct response strategies. But, will mobile marketing live up to be the 'next big thing'?

Touted as twice as fast and at half the cost of the original iPhone, the 3G version comes with advanced wireless network compatibility and GPS functionality. A price point of $199 (8GB) made smart phone technology more accessible while the App Store enabled independent software developers to merchandise products that repurpose smart phones.

Entertainment and social community apps are a great way for marketers to target consumers in the local space.
Entertainment and social community apps are a great way for marketers to target consumers in the local space.

iPhone's Halo Effect

After only three days at retail, the new iPhone sold more than 1 million units and the App Store saw more than 10 million downloads.

Doug Palmer was one of thousands of software developers who downloaded Apple's open platform. Within a month, he launched an independent software development company, The Web Machine Shop. He created Twisted, a take on the classic slumber party phenomenon Twister, as well as some social networking apps and the utility-based Hey Taxi.

"We currently have six apps in the App Store, with another seven in the approval process, and development for dozens of other apps already underway with releases slated all through 2009," says Palmer.

Corporate and independent software developers must all apply to the Apple Developer Program before uploading and merchandising apps on iTunes. Once accepted, they pay a $99 fee, sign an independent developer's contract, download iPhone's software development kit (SDK) and begin coding.

"Once you've gotten set up, and coded your application, publishing to the App Store is a cinch," says Palmer. "You just bundle your apps according to Apple's instructions, upload them through your account at iTunes, select the price you will charge, add any descriptive info and icons you need, and submit. If your app meets Apple's standards and guidelines, and conforms to the contract you signed, your app is approved within a few days and published to the App Store for sale."

Most apps range from 99 cents to $4.99, but it's an open market. Palmer sells an average of 300 hundred apps per day, for either 99 cents or $1.99.

"Although the iPhone platform is a revolutionary step forward in mobile platforms, and although it will undoubtedly mature into a full-featured computing platform, it still remains most popular for games and novelty applications, at least from a user popularity perspective," he says. "The top 100 apps are almost exclusively games and entertainment apps."

Entertainment apps are also promoted by Apple to increase consumer interest in its products. If an app is pure novelty, there is no revenue model beyond the initial point of purchase and a percentage of that goes back to Apple. Developers need to call upon some of the fundamental tactics of DR for successful merchandising, such as hitting the right price point, creating products with a hook and, for longevity, decide how the app can continue to fulfill a common need.

Palmer adds, "We currently have plans for about 100 apps, most of which will launch in 2009 on the App Store, Android Market and Blackberry Store."

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