Agile mobile content – how to take control of in-house app costs

Agile mobile content – how to take control of in-house app costs


Agile mobile content

Why agile mobile content?

Why Agile mobile content is important? Let us explain it to you. Modern consumers are independent. Self-sufficient. They don’t need your help – and if they do, they’ll ask for it. With information on just about everything available in the palm of their hand, they have little reason to listen to sales people, or to allow brands to influence their buying process… So, with this reduced opportunity, how do marketers do their job?

Brands have been creating content for years to help with this – content designed to stimulate interest, and deliver valuable information, right when consumers are looking for it. Content which can help to assert a brand’s authority on a topic – or spark a relationship.

But creating content isn’t the only challenge for modern marketers. Content which resonates with consumers one day, can fall out of favour the next, not to mention the need to personalise content for different personas, for consumers at different stages in the buying cycle, existing customers and more.

Even when the content is highly relevant and perfectly personalised – if the user experience isn’t up-to-scratch, marketers will fall at the last hurdle. In this mobile-first era, customers expect content to perform flawlessly on their device of choice, from desktop to phone, and everything in between.

This new reality has left marketing leaders with something of a dilemma: As well as having to spend time and resources creating content and developing a content strategy, they increasingly need to repurpose and deploy that content for web, mobile web and each native mobile platform (like iOS and Android).

To meet these challenges, some hire in-house app developers and others employ external agencies. This can be expensive in itself, but with never-ending OS updates, and new devices appearing on the market all the time, brands can soon find their apps outdated and their costs beginning to spiral out of control.

So how can you deliver seamless experiences on every device, whilst keeping costs under control? How can you ensure that your content’s evolving with your customers’ needs? Read on.

Agile content

Agile content, or perhaps more accurately, an agile content strategy is one half of the solution.

Simply defined, agility is the ability to be flexible – to move quickly and easily. Taken one step further, “Agile” has become a project management approach, in which project objectives are achieved by dividing tasks into time-limited, iterative containers. The approach is guided by a set of principles which facilitate speed and flexibility. Working in an Agile way helps organisations deal with ever-changing and often unpredictable requirements. Applied to content strategy, it’s an approach that helps marketers to prioritise regular, minimally-viable content outputs over quality and an initially defined “best possible” product.

Some of the fundamental principles of an agile content strategy are:

  • Review continuously

    – Regularly interrogate your strategy and your content outputs. If improvements need to be made, or you need to pivot – do so. Finishing a product which is no longer fit-for-purpose is a waste of time. Communication is key: meet regularly with stakeholders, seek efficiency and tweak constantly.

  • Deliver something

    Something delivered now is better than nothing delivered later (or never). It’s ok to improve a product after it’s been delivered.

  • Embrace change and be prepared to fail

    – In today’s 24-hour, multi-channel marketing environment, stay on top of trends and new channels by trying things, and if you’re going to fail, do it fast.

  • Be customer centric

    – remember who your content is actually for – constantly consider personas, the evolving needs of your customers – and how, when and why they consume (or don’t consume) your content.

Native apps + web

The other half of the solution is an agile app platform. Developing and maintaining bespoke apps on a per-platform basis can be expensive and resource-intensive. To do it, not only do you need specialist developers for each platform (iOS, Android, Windows etc), but you need them on an ongoing basis, in order to add content and keep apps up-to-date. If you’re using a specialist agency, this can mean retainer fees, and slow updates. In some cases, it can mean apps frozen in time, while brands work to deliver new versions.

It’s important to ask yourself two questions;

  1. Are my customers getting good experiences?
  2. Am I [or is my business] an app developer?

If the answer to either of these questions is “no”, it’s important to consider whether your time, budget and resources aren’t better spent elsewhere – creating content, for example. After all, what marketer wants to spend their time tackling APIs, or raising change requests, when they could be delighting customers and developing their marketing strategy.

Think about your app needs on a “platform” basis. For content deployment, is it really necessary to engineer a content ecosystem from the ground up? After all,  airlines don’t build their own planes, they focus on selling tickets, moving people and flying. By investing in a platform of apps and tools which allow marketers to deploy content natively with minimal need for coding and without massive investment in per-platform solutions, you can free marketers to get back to… marketing.

If you like our column, check our blog on the latest stats that shows the dominance of mobile and apps.