Adopt an Orphan App

Whether you already have a smartphone app for your business or not, you might consider “adopting” an existing app. LL Bean did this recently with the “Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder” app. This handy little app lists public parks and recreation areas within 100 miles of you (or any location you specify). It’s searchable and the list can be filtered.

But most relevant is that the app caters perfectly to the very same demographic as LL Bean’s customers. By adopting and co-sponsoring the app, both LL Bean and the app’s makers benefit. LL Bean benefits by being able to serve its customer’s interests better without incurring any cost for doing so. The makers of the ParkFinder app obviously benefit from exposure to LL Bean’s very large customer base.

So what existing apps can you partner with and just what might be involved in such a partnership? Let’s start with the easy part.

Forging A Partnership

The terms of the partnership you establish with the maker of an existing app will almost certainly be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Having said that, here are some things you might consider offering or asking for:

  1. Promote or distribute the app to your customer list
  2. Ask for sponsorship mention within the app, such as on a splash screen
  3. Paid advertising placement within the app (provides income to the developer and advertises your business to the app’s users)
  4. Highlighting or priority placement of your products or locations in lists returned by the app
  5. Provide content for lists and/or information used by the app
  6. Offer to host all or part of the app’s online content on your web server(s)

A partnership could involve some form of financial transaction but doesn’t need to so long as both parties receive value from the arrangement.

Finding An App To Partner With

It’s much more difficult to generalize about finding apps to partner with. This is where personalized assistance¬†would be beneficial. (Please contact us if you would like to have a professional marketer handle this for your business.)

So let’s just examine some hypothetical ideas to get a sense of what’s possible and what angles to take.

  • If you’re a veterinarian
    • A pet medical records app
    • Listing of pet-friendly hotels
    • Holistic pet food recipes
  • For dentists
    • A game where players extract teeth from a crocodile
    • Dental care alarm clock with alarms for brushing, flossing and even checkups
  • Auto Mechanic
    • Troubleshooting and diagnostic tool
    • App to find the best gas prices
    • Auto accident reporting checklist
    • Flashlight app
  • Hotel or Bed & Breakfast Owner
    • Vacation planner
    • App that makes restaurant recommendations
    • Calendar app
    • Road trip app (i.e. to help you find the world’s largest can of spinach)
  • Skating rink or skate shop owner
    • Roller derby apps (used by officials to run a derby bout)
    • An app that shows skate-friendly paths (similar to jogging or biking paths)

The connection between your business and the function or focus of the app you adopt needn’t be direct. The ParkFinder app has nothing to do with LL Bean’s business of selling clothing. There should just be some logical correlation in order for the partnership to benefit both parties.

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Conservancy

The San Diego Zoo and the Wildlife Conservancy recently held a contest, inviting aspiring filmmakers to create public service announcements promoting their endangered species program. The contest drew some very creative entries.

Here is a screen shot from one of my favorite entries. This PSA is one of three submitted that is up for a People’s Choice Award. You can vote for your favorite here.

This is a great cause. Retweet it to all your contacts to let them know. Here’s another screen shot from the video.