AppsYou think you need an app because everyone is talking about them and everyone uses them. Well you’re right! And you’re wrong!

Sure people are now doing more from mobile devices, like phones and tablets, than they were ever able to do before. And apps can be great where they are truly useful or fun. But if your idea is weak your app will be too. If your customers aren’t into smartphones then it’s not going to be money well spent. It’ll be expensive garnish.

That said a great app allows you to reach IT-literate, early adopters and innovators. If that’s who your company targets as customers , then that’s good news. Of course for big brands there is a certain expectation that you ought to have apps simply because you’re a big brand and should be ahead of the game! And if your app is truly meaty and engaging, giving customers reasons to keep coming back then you could be on to a winner because they will become even more familiar with your brand and appreciative of it.

You can of course develop apps to generate revenue. Generally games succeed well here. If you don’t have a ready-made customer base, the competition to have your app downloaded is fierce with over 800,000 available to buy on the top 2 stores – iTunes App Store (for iOS) and the Google Play store.

Fiona Graham, Technology reporter at BBC News writes: “It’s estimated that 56bn smartphone apps will be downloaded in 2013. Yet overall, just 25 developers share 50% of app revenues, with 1 in 4 apps downloaded, used once and discarded. 67% of developers earn less than $500 a month from their apps.”

Our advice is to look at your communications strategy as a whole and make sure every action produces results which help you reach your business goals. It may reveal more pressing priorities than app creation.

Don’t misunderstand the logic here though. It’s not sour grapes. We love apps. The ones we use are often versions of business and marketing management tools that have first earnt their stripes online as on-demand web services.