There’s an App for that. (Or if not there soon will be!)

It’s an abbreviation that may grate with some, but Apps (applications!) for smart phones and particularly for iPhones, are becoming a key marketing tool. The only thing the jury seems to still be out on is whether it’s App with a capital A or app in the lower case. In our case we’ll dignify it as a proper noun!

Anyway at the moment in protection insurance the App represents another important string in the marketing bow of any provider. A well designed App allows advisers to input quite a sophisticated level of information, and then generate a simple quote. They may not be transactional yet, and there is a school of thought that thinks that’s the way it will stay – except perhaps for things like concert tickets. Personally, when you realise that many of the High Street banks are already offering internet banking on smart phones, I’m not so sure.

Of course the advised market is not quite in the same place as banking. IFAs have to ask clients for information, clients have to provide information and opinions about needs and wants. Everything must be compliant. Providers may wish to include clever calculators and brilliant graphics, wrap the App in effective branding, then communicate key messages as well as complying with the latest regulations, all in a tiny space. However you build it control in the palm of the hand is what the customer wants.

We take the view that in this sort of space there is a definite first mover advantage.  For a year or two providers and advisers who are first to develop simple effective tools for smart phones will steal a march on their rivals. Happily we number our clients in this category.

If you accept the argument so far the logical extension is to predict that with smart phone technology becoming so well established, so flexible and so effective, that providers without such Apps will look about as on the ball as those that five years ago didn’t have a website.

It’s a technology that will bring challenges, particularly in an advised market. But keeping the regulator in mind and hopefully getting some response and guidance from them, Space 01 believes that Apps can improve adviser and client relationships across the full range of financial services.

If the customer isn’t there yet, we think it is definitely where he or she is going to be. Research already shows that those who bank online on a PC on average access their accounts 6 times a month, whereas those banking on mobile devices do so 16-20 times in the same period. It’s a one way trend.

That’s our view. We would love to hear your views. You might even use your smart phone to let us know.

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