Creating Custom Apps for Marketing Campaigns, Promotions & Competitions

In the digital age every brand expects marketers and event managers to provide the digital solution that can help strengthen brand communication, build brand loyalty and provide meaningful data in a timely fashion. There are many ways to do this, however, our industry tends to be a little more demanding than most of the IT sector realises.


I spent the last 4 years helping clients to create and activate marketing and promotional events and campaigns. Campaign signoff to execution for events is on average less than 30 days in the majority of cases (State of the Event Industry Study). In contrast, most IT companies required 4-6 months to create a custom app that I could use with my client’s brand during a campaign such as a survey, game or interactive promotion. Here lies the issue.


During my time I tried (successfully and not as successfully) to engage a number of different services to create mobile or tablet based custom apps for use at a promotion or marketing event. Generally clients want interaction in a way that suits their brand, brand messaging (inc. brand colours, graphics etc) and comprehensive data feedback. What methods did I test to try and meet these requirements?


  1. App Store or “Off the shelf” solution

The cheapest and easiest to get. You find a survey app on the app store and try to add the data you’d like to collect. If you like to have full control this can be a good option, the downsides are that there is only so much you can edit on an app like this so working to client specifications can be tricky. Not much customization here. The other downside is time, this is a very time intensive method.


  1. Use an offshore IT company

In recent times it has become commonplace to outsource IT work to developers in developing countries. Saving money is generally the upside here. However, in my experience this route can be filled with danger. Your neck will be on the line with your client if a developer does not deliver, this is before you’ve factored in their working patterns, grasp of English, shutdowns for public holidays you’ve never heard of . . . the list goes on! Beware of this method, it holds true that you get what you pay for. If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t right.


  1. Use a local developer

Local IT firms will have better lines of communication and be more established in your local market. The downsides are that you’ll be typically back to the usual lead time of 4-6 months and you’ll be paying a premium for the service if a project can be completed in your timeline. Another thing to consider is you might just want an app for one activation and this option you’re spending a lot of money, for a simple customized app that you’ll use once.


If you’ve read this far you’re probably asking “then what is the right solution?” In some cases it could be any of the above but you probably don’t know that 100%.


Because of my experience, I founded PromoApps to help marketers and event managers in exactly this position. I decided to try and solve this issue on my own by merging the ease of building a custom app with the quality of a local developer at a reasonable cost.


Your solution could be a $4.99 app from the app store or a simple web link. Or it could be a fully custom app that creates unique codes and sends out SMS messages and automated emails to competition entrants. I can give you a free consultation that includes a quote for building a custom app for your business. PM, email me or call me and I can advise.


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