B2B Brands in an App-Focused World

Reading this on your phone? Probably. Now think about your content, marketing materials, sales information and other assets. Are they mobile-ready? More importantly, are they app-ready?

A recent study by eMarketer showed that people are now spending 20 percent of their total media time in apps, nearly two-and-a-half hours per day. Conversely, time spent consuming media via a mobile browser is stagnant.

How can B2B companies — many of which are still not fully prepared for the mobile environment (never mind apps) — prepare to reach customers and prospects who are becoming more and more app-focused?

The report identified that people spend the majority of their app consumption time within five major categories:

  • Digital audio
  • Social networking
  • Gaming
  • Video viewing
  • Messaging

There is a place among all these activities for B2B brands. No need to become the next Facebook, Spotify or Snapchat — rather, these channels should give all B2B marketers inspiration to think about how to best apply these assets within their own businesses.

Assuming a business has nailed down its rallying cry and consistent storytelling themes, and communicates a clear brand with a strong visual identity, then it could be time to wade into an app strategy.

Looking through our Brand as Friend® (BAF) philosophy, each of these app categories has a role in building affection, relevance and trust between brand and customer.

Digital Audio

Create a podcast. From one person at a desk with a good microphone to a high-end, fully produced series like “Serial,” the podcast world is exploding. Do you have a great thought leader with contrarian opinions? Or a complicated product that can be explained more simply through words? Do you have interesting information to share about the complexities of your industry? Or do you have an entertaining personality in-house that people want to hear? Podcasts build loyalty and help brands make friends.

Social Networking

Apps make social networking easier than ever. From a check-in to sharing a video snippet, social media continues to be an important part of people’s digital lives. Ensure you have a social plan in place. Your social networking strategy should mirror your social app strategy. Your social channels should be easy to find and follow. Contribute original content or point the audience back to content on your blog or another channel. Be present — connection is memorable for B2B audiences.


Building a game to reach a B2B audience is most likely impractical for businesses. But there are still opportunities within mobile gaming to make an impact. Consider whether in-game, in-app advertising makes sense for your brand and product/service. It can be an affordable way to have a presence within a game without making the investment to build one. Also, consider adding a gaming-like environment to your internal sales team communications. Do you hold regular sales incentive programs or President’s Clubs? An app with gaming features can enhance the interest and engagement within the sales program. This aligns with style, a Brand as Friend factor that ensures your brand personality is clear and compelling, including to internal teams.

Video Viewing

Video consumption is dominating mobile. From digital drops that concisely communicate an aspect of the brand to longer-form pieces that can educate, like a training video for field support, video is the “now” marketing tool, and there is so much room to grow. Video affords your brand the opportunity to tell a story in a visually rich manner.


Brands are getting into the act on messaging, moving beyond texting strategies often employed for loyalty programs or customer support. The proliferation of messaging tools creates open, transparent channels to communicate with prospects, customers and partners. It also serves as a listening platform, a critical element of Brand as Friend.

Apps improve the mobile experience through cleaner navigation, better branding opportunities, the ability to guide users through an experience, and by being a one-stop location to immerse with all a brand’s digital assets.

Are you app-ready?