Why Some Brands Just Don’t Need a Mobile App

digital marketing and mobile apps

How to determine when to make an app and when to try a different method like a Responsive site.

When marketing your brand, you might assume a mobile app is the way to go. You may be surprised to learn they’re not always the right choice.

Apps are incredibly powerful tools that help deliver real value to your customers, build long-term relationships and increase brand loyalty. They are excellent mid- to lower-funnel tools that help drive consumers toward purchase. But that doesn’t mean they’re right for your brand.

Here are three instances in which a mobile app might not be the best choice:

Commoditized goods/service or impulse products

An app might not be right for your brand if your product or service is seen as a commodity. If you’re a parking garage, it’s not likely a customer will search for you by name.

Likewise if your offering is typically an impulse purchase such as toys, cosmetics or anything sold at Brookstone, it is unlikely an app will be downloaded and even less likely it will be considered and used at the point of sale.


If your customers are other businesses, an app probably isn’t the best use of your budget. Most B2B prospects and existing clients will engage your brand via email or phone.

Communicating your value props to prospective clients can often be done more efficiently and more quickly by a mobile Responsive website instead of a standalone app.

Budget limitations

Apps are an additional marketing channel to build and maintain. A lot of companies try to reuse existing web content for apps in an effort to reduce work and conserve budgets. But mobile apps are highly specific, delivering unique value to your customers and requiring unique and dedicated content creation and support.

Further, as mobile has matured the complexity of design, development and user expectations of quality and feature sets increased, adding to costs.

Responsive web design

If your brand has one or more of these characteristics, it is often a better use of your limited resources to focus on other marketing channels. Making your website Responsive is likely the first and best option to explore.

A Responsive site optimizes content based on screen size, enabling the best user experience regardless of how users access your site. If your customers are looking for your service via search engine, your Responsive site will be easy to discover and won’t require a download and install. Plus, the resource costs needed to build and maintain a website are generally lower.

Apps are incredibly powerful marketing devices that strengthen your connection with the consumer and build brand loyalty. But as valuable as apps are to most brands, there are a few that should focus their resources on the broader (albeit more shallow) reach and easier discoverability of their website.

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