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Ios6iOS 6 promises a rich new range of functions and features.  As with iOS 5, a number of features previously found in popular apps are now integrated into the operating system.  This poses a tough challenge for app developers who have invested in developing a solution, only to find their solutions obviated by a free and integrated alternative.  Many developers feel wronged.  

This morning many mobile teams at ad agencies across the globe walked into work with that same feeling.  They spent the past three years convincing clients to build robust mobile apps, with commerce, ticketing and loyalty as core revenue drivers.  But fear not, because the best may be yet to come.

What should an airline to do when the apps core value - mobile tickets - are now part of the OS?  How does this shift future investment in planning in the app?  Let's look at what's changed.

For marketers, the biggest bull in the iOS 6 china shop is Passport.

Passport promises to centralize and digitize nearly everything that requires a ticket or card.  From tickets to events, airline tickets, loyalty cards and potentially more, every ticket and reservation now reside in one centralized app.  This app offers users an arguably superior user experience, as the user can store (and possibly purchase) tickets in a single app, receive event updates such gate change updates, receive relevant notifications of nearby sales, as well as reminders before the event.  As a user this sounds fantastic.  As a marketer... let's talk about it.

What is a marketer to do?

The most important exercise you can do today, is to determine and build towards your true mobile brand value to users... beyond tickets and cards.

Determining Your Mobile User Value

  1. Carefully consider the core user value presently offered by your app, as well as the potential secondary values currently offered.  Rate the degree of user value these components offer on individual level from 1-10.  This means that you should rate your mobile ticketing separately from your remember where I parked features.  How valuable are each of these components on their own to users?
  2. Brainstorm the true meaning of mobile to your brand.  How can mobile reinvent your user experience beyond tickets, loyalty and transactions?  What does the mobile phone offer as a product extension beyond serving a wallet replacement?  How can you mix the key ingredients of location, mobility, social dynamics, a phone, payments and content with your real world assets such as support, staff and services to build something entirely new and unique?
  3. Rate the projected user value of your blue sky brainstorm ideas from 1-10.  Again, each concept should be considered on it's own.

You now have a picture of your current and potential mobile app value.  Now let's look at what this means to your continued investment in building, maintaining or supplying mobile apps to brand marketers.

  • If you cannot develop an experience that rates above a 7 on the user value scale on at least one attribute, it's time to lower your investment or go back to brainstorming.  Three 3s do not make a 9, they make a poor overall user experience on three separate occasions.  
    • This doesn't mean abandoning your app or killing all future funding.  It's perfectly rational to let your previous investments become transactional gateways to an Apple experience.  Keep a maintenance budget in your back pocket, as you will likely need to invest a minimal amount over time to keep your app operational on future screen sizes and iOS iterations.
  • If you have found a user experience greater the a 7 on the user value scale, make it happen.  This is your mobile raison detre, and while you may have been more focused on chopping wood transactions, it's time to make something beautiful.  Thank Apple for showing you the light.

 There is no sense crying over spilled milk.  Get over the past, because you now have the gift of the summer to build your all new mobile solutions.  Because there just may be incredible value you never knew you had license or budget to explore.