Patrick Meyer, North American president of Sourcebits, took to the podium in a white lab coat, a fashion statement he said was meant to represent the 250 designers the firm employs to develop mobile games and apps.

Meyer presented himself as something of an app-store guru and said most companies trying to muscle their way into that increasingly crowded marketplace would not succeed. He touched on the running theme that many companies are still learning how to market the programs, but also said that to succeed, the app itself has to impress.

This story first appeared in the June 30, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“If you create a ‘wow’ app, they will come,” he said. “What I mean by a ‘wow’ app is that the app has to have a killer function. It has to have something so deadly simple that your consumer says, ‘I get it. I can tell my friends about it. I know when to use it.’”

Meyer said he advises clients not to try to turn their Web sites into apps. The mobile programs, he said, work best when they have a singular function with at most two or three ancillary features. He also warned against building an app just because it’s a new toy to have.

“A lot of marketers do what I call ‘poseur apps,’” he said. “They come out with an app because the ceo said, ‘We need an app.’ They put it out there.…They don’t know how to market it. It just sits there and they have 10,000 downloads.”

As for marketing the programs, Meyer suggested companies build social elements, such as Facebook connectivity, and gaming elements into their apps in order to encourage growth through word of mouth. He also advised building what he called “episodic marketing” into the rollout of the programs so that they periodically have an upgrade or new device compatibility to tout.

“We’re not talking about traditional Madison Avenue tactics,” Meyer said. — M.L.

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