1. When an app is published and nary a soul downloads it. An all-too-common problem for brands and app developers in today's overcrowded app marketplace.
2. When an app is downloaded by a consumer but is rarely interacted with by said consumer.
I've got 50 apps on my iPhone4. Another 50 or so on my "vintage" model - a 2G iPhone I still use for gaming with the kids. Many of the apps do fantastic things, like turning my phone into a videoediting bay, and enabling me to record R&B tracks in autotune. (What could be more fantastic than that?)
But aside from the standby apps of social, stocks, weather and maps, there's one app I use more regularly than any other. One app that has increased my brand loyalty and usage: The GreatClips app.
Like a rooster that crows each morn, once a month, I open my trusty GreatClips app. It tells me current wait time, store hours, and … here's the best part… it lets me choose my store location and check in ahead of time so I don't have to sit and wait. Simple, powerful, and very valuable for someone like me, whose idea of torture is sitting in a haircut waiting room on a sunny Saturday.
When it comes to low switching costs -- meaning low brand loyalty -- you can't get much lower than men's haircuts. But the GreatClips app has succeeded in making me loyal to the brand.
As marketers and product managers, we're all scurrying to leverage mobile to increase brand affinity and capture positive ROI. But instead of trying to dream up the next great mobile innovation, the simplest path to avoiding App Rot is to identify your customer touchpoint where the greatest utility can be delivered, like GreatClips did for customers like me. Most of the time, you'll find that the less complex the better, and the less sexy, the better.
Rather than trying to recreate your desktop experience on mobile, or stuff every marketing exec's ideas into a company app, why not start small and simple, with a mobile experience that will do one thing really well for your core market segment? Your customers will thank you, and they'll tell others. And word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing of all.