Peggy Anne Salz and Jennifer Shambroom are two mobile trailblazers who recently co-wrote the book, The Everything Guide to Mobile Apps. The book is a comprehensive guide drawing from the insights of 25+ expert contributors to provide companies, brands, marketers and ordinary app developers with literally ‘everything’ they need to make, market and monetize their apps with success.
Not only did they write the book within one summer while living ten hours apart, but Peggy and Jennifer also haven’t seen each other (except on Skype!) in seven years! Based in California, Jennifer currently works for StrongLoop and Lookout, which focus on app development and mobile security. She is also the Co-Chair of the Networking Committee for Women in Wireless. Peggy is across the pond in Germany where she’s the Chief Analyst and Founder of Mobile Groove, a mobile analyst with GigaOM Pro, and a certified Mobilista Rockstar, after making a list that includes some of the most influential people in mobile today. Following on from the positive response to the Everything Guide to Mobile Apps, Peggy is currently working on a new book, underwritten by InMobi, to help app developers to acquire quality users and build a sustainable app business. WIM was not only able to learn more about The Everything Guide to Mobile Apps, but was also able to see how solid teamwork leads to getting things done.
How do you two know each other and how did you write a book together while living ten hours apart?
Jennifer: We go back to 2005. Peggy was heavily focused on mobile search and I was working on marketing mobile search product. Peggy is an expert in the industry and has great insight on mobile tech so I hired her to write a couple of papers and podcasts. We hit it off and we’ve been working together on various projects as I’ve moved to different companies. Peggy had the opportunity to write The Everything Guide to Mobile Apps and asked if I’d be interested in being the co-author.
Peggy: When I started the book, I wanted to go beyond a focus on technology to produce a human and holistic book that showed how small business, brands and people could turn their brilliant app ideas into a serious business. Fortunately, Jennifer not only shared these values. Her expertise in app performance management and deep involvement in the app ecosystem meant that our collaboration would allow us to cover the entire app life-cycle. Beyond expertise, we had vision. This level of chemistry provided an excellent formula for writing this book over such a distance. We came up with an entire outline and then mapped out each chapter. We worked on chapters separately in DropBox and then connected via Skype and email to integrate the content. ‘Divide and conquer’ was always the strategy — achieve great results by splitting the book into manageable sections. Then I crowd-sourced the expert contributors, professionals and practitioners like Jez Harper, cofounder and CEO of Tús Nua Designs, to offer insights based on real-world experience. If you’re all on the same wavelength, then success will happen throughout all projects.
What led to the idea for The Everything Guide to Mobile Apps and why did you decide to write it?
Peggy: Adams Media approached me saying they wanted to do a series of books on mobile apps and asked me if I would write it. They know me from my other books including The Netsize Guide, which is basically a mobile almanac and analysis of the space. When I was given the opportunity, I decided to take it where it couldn’t have possibly gone with another author. I contacted Jennifer with a plan to make a guide for real people that would give them tips and trick around finding a developer, choosing a marketing model, harnessing social media to spread the word, and leveraging the right tools to engage their users. People increasingly rely on apps to do more than play games and we made a conscious choice to create a book that would empower people so they could create apps that have real and lasting benefit — and can even trigger social change. With this in mind the concluding chapter has a section called Apps for Good.
In the book you cover The Top Ten Things You Need to Know about Mobile Apps. If you had to pick three of those things, which would you choose?
Peggy: Number Four: Build Relationships, Not Just Apps is one of my favorites. The more people understand that success is really about interaction, rather than just driving the app download, the better off they’ll be. You have app companies claiming success saying ‘hey, my app has a million downloads’. But we know people delete most apps they download just a few hours later. Companies need to focus on engagement and interaction, not just moving up in the app store rankings.
Jennifer: Number Five: App Marketing Must Be a Constant Focus. Things change so rapidly and if you don’t stay on top of latest trends, it will be difficult to keep up. You need to constantly look at new opportunities for ways to promote your app.
Peggy: Marketing needs to be social and it needs to start before the app is out. As our guest contributor and social media marketer Ken Herron points out in the book, you need to start tweeting and posting the minute you get an idea for your app. And then you have to continue this effort in parallel throughout all the stages of your app while the app is in beta, when the app is live and when it is available in the app store. No app store is going to promote your app as well as you can. Self-promotion is where a lot of apps fall short, but it is such an important step. For the third choice, I tend to lean towards Number Seven: Personal Privacy.
Jennifer: You have so much data around each of your consumers. If you don’t have a secure environment, you need to be very careful about how you utilize your data and how you share that with others in your platform.
How is this book different from others on the market?
Peggy: It’s the first, comprehensive how-to guide to easily develop an app. We engaged with so many of the partners in the industry just to capture all of their expertise because we really wanted content from sources that were experts in each of the fields. We collected over twenty-five people who live, sleep, eat, and drink this. We also included sections on baby boomers and where we see the future of apps such as apps for social good, health care, and enterprise. We make the point that if you really want to turn your app into a business, then you need to look at where everyone isn’t rather than where everyone is. So when you’re offered the title, The Everything Guide, that’s a promise.
Are you working on any other projects together?
Peggy: Jennifer and I work really well together, so I can imagine this won’t be our last collaboration. We have been brainstorming — so it’s ‘watch this space’ for now. It’s amazing what you can get done when you’re determined to have impact with your work like we are. If you find you’re in spreadsheet hell, where you’re drowning in action items, timelines and deliverables, then something’s wrong. I would say we have achieved what we have because we kept creativity, not bureaucracy, top of mind.
What was the first mobile project that each of you worked on?
Jennifer: The first app I worked on was called Find It. It was the first location-based app that had voice directions, promoted content, and all of the yellow and white pages and this was before smart phones. I was trying to find out how to market this app and get it promoted through carriers in 2006.
Peggy: I wrote one of the very first reports about music and mobile. I remember interviewing Nokia in the days when they didn’t know what to call a ringing tone, and no one could imagine that downloadable music content and ringtones was going to be a billion-dollar business. After the report was published, it caught the attention of Nokia executives, who put me on a speaking tour in Asia. They had just come out with phones that had built-in music players, and you could see that mobile music was going to be big business.
What innovations do you see coming up next for mobile?
Jennifer: It already is part of our everyday lives, whether it’s for business or personal use. Enterprise apps are going to be the next big wave, with consumer accessibility and creativity emphasized. What entrepreneurs are creating in mobile is such a foundation to everything people do.
Peggy: I’m very excited about omni-channel—how multi-screening and multi-tasking will define our mobile lifestyles. It’s still mobile but now mobile is becoming THE screen at the center of the many screens that make up our daily routine. Mobile becomes ‘command central’ in my life and the way I interact with the worlds — digital and physical— around me. I’m excited to see how we will make these experiences flow as they move from screen to screen. It’s also interesting to think about the next billion…mobile is their first and only screen and they’re leapfrogging us in many ways because they were born ‘mobile’.
Favorite mobile app?
Peggy: I love music so Spotify or SoundCloud—they’re my favorites because they’re fun and useful.
Jennifer: I’m a photo freak. Hipstamatic or Instagram are my two favorites.
Any advice for entrepreneurs that are trying to get their mobile ventures launched?
Jennifer: Stay focused, be strong, and trust your instincts.
Peggy: Follow the blue ocean strategy…Red oceans are where the sharks — and the blood — are. Sure, you can win big, but you also have to fight with everything you’ve got. Blue oceans, on the other hand, are calmer. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to win there, it just means you are earlier than the competition. It’s a little tough being first, because you’re often there before the market or the hype is, but I think it’s better to have real impact in a niche market than just squander your resources and energy to rise about the noise.
Peggy Anne Salz is the chief analyst and founder of MobileGroove, a top 50 ranked influential destination providing outstanding editorial coverage and analysis about all things mobile. Her work includes dozens of reports, white papers and books, as well as +300 articles covering mobile marketing, mobile search and social media. Her latest book, The Everything Guide To Mobile Apps (F+W Media, Inc), was released in March 2013.
Jennifer Shambroom is a top-producing marketing executive with an extraordinary 15-year track record of success. Shambroom has led marketing efforts across the full spectrum of branding, product marketing, customer acquisition, developer relations, PR and social media. She is a pioneer and veteran of the mobile ecosystem – she boasts 9 years of mobile app experience and led the marketing efforts of the first mobile-specific IPO at Motricity.
Raine Dalton is WIM’s editorial and community innovation intern. Raine is passionate about finding creative ways to empower women globally through tech. In addition to WIM, Raine has written, tweeted, and posted for the Global Banking Alliance for Women, WITNESS, and 90.7 WFUV News. You can find her work at her website or get in touch with her through Twitter.
Image credit: CC by dougbelshaw