Since the birth of Apple’s iPhone, consumers and business professionals have come to appreciate the power of apps – in fact now the the smartphone itself is a novelty we buy our smartphones based on apps. Apps power and add amazing features and functionality to smartphones.
How do the apps get created?
There is an ecosystem of independent programmers and companies who are creating millions of apps for the various smartphone platforms.
These apps are being created by companies such as GroundLink car service to foster better communication of their services, by software companies to extend their products to mobile platforms, and by software developers and one person programmers to sell them to make money.
There is another app ecosystem that is growing.
This app ecosystem has nothing to do with smartphones but has to do with the popularity of online services such as Constant Contact (with almost 1 million customers), Google Apps and others. These large service providers are nurturing their own app communities as a way to add a layer of added functionality to their core services.
In the same way that Microsoft only created mainly Windows and Office, but supported developers created thousands of Windows programs, or Intuit created QuickBooks and has an ecosystem of value added software and services, this new crop of digital king pins are doing the same with their online services.
Kevin O’Brien is the head of Constant Contact’s App Connect program which Constant Contact developed to build relationships with developers to build and/or connect programs for and/or to Constant Contact.
These programs are available in the Constant Contact Marketplace
Kevin explained to me that Constant Contact is a trusted advisor to small businesses, especially in the area of marketing (social, events, email marketing, etc), however, there is only so many new products and services Constant Contact can do on their own. The app connect program enables developers to plug into Constant Contacts core services and add rich functionality to their marketing programs.
As you are looking for companies who can meet your needs, it is essential that you work with companies who at the every least have an “open API” enabling other software to connect with them, such as those companies in the Small Business Web . Further to this, companies who nurture development of value added online services & software (such as Intuit, Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365…and Constant Contact) are very important as well.
So my headline reads, “What’s Constant Contact”s Secret Weapon Means To Your Business: Digital Army of App Programmers”. What does this mean to your business? It means that you can expect a continuation of core marketing services from Constant Contact while at the same time foster existing software and new software to work with Constant Contact.
Mail Chimp, appears content to focus solely on email marketing and produce, internally, some VERY compelling features.
Vertical Response is for sure (in my opinion) gong to make more strategic purchases and/or develop new services to ensure it offers much more than its core of email marketing services (and through partners surveys and events).
Of course there are other email marketing services such as iContact, Emma and many others that serve the needs of small businesses too, but the big growth will happen with those who go beyond email marketing and offer a complete suite of services to small businesses.