Why Building An iPhone Application Isn ' t a Mobile Strategy

Too many brands and companies start their discussions about mobile strategy with, "Let's build an iPhone application" or "Should we build an iPhone application?"  This is the most popular WRONG place to be starting a discussion around mobile strategy.  Companies must first understand how their target audience uses their cell phones (we've done a lot of research on this at Forrester - contact me at jask@forrester.com if you'd like to know more) and then work their way through a process that leads to Technology decisions.

Saw this post today in moconews on Papa John's. My guess is they followed the iPhone hype and let someone talk them into building an application without a more robust strategy creation process to support the investment decision.

- Do a lot of Papa John's customers have iPhones or iPod Touches? How many?
- How frequently does one look for the nearest location vs phone order?
- What the goal branding? What the objective to drive sales?
- Is the service more convenient than Google's SMS service? Does it product better results? (Maybe since it isn't purely driven on zip code)

Here is the post from moconews:

Papa John's Not Impressed With iPhone App As Marketing Tool

By Dianne See Morrison - Fri 01 May 2009 10:42 AM PST

 

Whoa. A company not that impressed with the performance of its iPhone app? Like many other marketers, pizza chain Papa John's took a look around, and after being "bombarded" by mobile companies telling them that such a move would help take their business to the next level, it launched an iPhone app last year. But as it turns out, Papa John's isn't too impressed with the app which lets iPhone users find nearby Papa John outlets and gives them a shortcut to connect to the main mobile site where they can order a pizza.

According to Media Post, which covered an iPhone apps panel at the OMMA Mobile conference, in terms of mobile marketing, Papa John's hasn't seen anything that has really "delivered for us" as well as mobile display advertising. Moreover, the lack of business the iPhone app is driving to it has made the pizza chain rethink building apps for other devices, such as the Blackberry and the Pre among others. Papa John's marketing manager for emerging channels Jim McDonnell said, "We haven't seen numbers that really made us think we need to be everywhere else yet."