Interactive marketing professionals don’t just use mobile to reach their customers — they’re often avid users of the technology themselves. Whether it’s to manage campaigns, to get work done while on the go, or just to become personally familiar with mobile user behavior, getting to know your devices and apps is critical. But when it comes to separating the wheat from the chaff for business mobile apps, it’s hard to know which are duds and which are the real deal.
Doing a Google search tends to bring up a lot of old posts — many of which are outdated — or lists that focus on consumer or gaming apps. A few of the good lists are mixes of business and consumer or are more niche and target small business only. So my early Christmas/Chanukah gift to you all is a list of the thirty essential business apps for your smartphone that won’t disappoint.
Many of the apps listed below are already on my phone. Some, I wrote about in the book, Location-Based Marketing for Dummies with co-author, Mike Schneider. A few others have been collected from several of my smart business/mobile-savvy friends.
I’ve also grouped the apps by category, so in some cases, you don’t need to worry about downloading all the apps, just one or two in the category (for instance, you may not need Square and LevelUp).
- Leaf.Me - CRM for your business activities
- Expensify – save and track all expenses via mobile
- LogMeIn - access, support and manage devices from anywhere at anytime
- LastPass.com - save your passwords in one place
- Dropbox - save all your documents securely in the cloud
- DocuSign - send, sign and save documents anywhere, on any device
- MobileDay - allows users to “one touch” into any conference call
- Harvest - simple online time tracking
- Prezi - next generation “communication tool that helps you organize, present, and share your ideas” — now available on your mobile devices
- any.do - reminds you of important meetings and dates
- Phonedeck - smart contact list for your smart phone – no syncing required
- Uber – summon cabs and town cars right from your phone with hassle-free payment
- FlightAware – real time flight notifications, maps and gate changes
- Tripit - centralizes all trip activity — allows for forwarding of itineraries to email@example.com
- Kayak – easy-to-use aggregator of airline, hotel and rental car booking information
- Note, while I don’t want to single out any one airline, many of their applications (American, JetBlue, United, Southwest) are great for mobile boarding passes, booking travel, or tracking existing flights. the same could be said for some of the major hotel and rental car brands.
Internal Collaboration/Communication Apps
- Waze - turn-by-turn directions on your phone overlaid with crowd-sourced traffic (and law enforcement) updates
- Google Maps / Apple Maps - These are well-known applications that come standard on most Android and iOS-based phones; Both get the job done when it comes to maps, GPS and directions
- HopStop - compare different ways to get to a destination via public transportation
Mobile Payments/Wallet Apps
Read it Later/Virtual Notepad Apps
- Pocket – allows to read news/blogs, view pictures and watch videos later
- Instapaper – save webpages for later reading
- Evernote – virtual notepad that allows you to keep track of all your stuff (syncs across devices)
Contact Management/Business Social Networks Apps
- LinkedIn - connect with and research all of your business contacts
- Here for Business - looks into LinkedIn contacts and notifies you of nearby business contacts
I’d also like to include a couple of business apps in the “honorable mention” category. First is Zena Weist’s recommendation of an app for a different kind of business. That’s right, I’m talking about Charmin’s Sit or Squat app that helps users find the cleanest bathrooms in most major cities.
The second is Tracky, a social collaboration and project management app I learned about from smarty Sarah Evans, who also happens to be their “chief evangelist.” I didn’t include this on the list above because it’s a relatively new technology, but I’ve tried it and think it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
For those of you looking for a few additional ideas on good mobile apps that have utility (some business, some not), you can check out my blogger friend David Spark’s post on how he uses his 17 most useful Android applications. As always, if you have suggestions on other apps that you feel are missing from this list, please include in the comments below.
Big thank you to friends Mike Schneider, Rawn Shah, Mike Langford, Andre Archimbaud, Howard Greenstein, Chris Moody, Jim Robinson, Jeremi Karnell, Zena Weist, Sarah Evans, Gordon Montgomery, Eric Swayne, Jeremy Pepper, Susan Beebe, Bhupesh Shah, Stephan Merkens, Jennifer Carrier, Becca Fletcher, Cappy Popp, Allen Silkin and Brad Mays for weighing in with suggestions.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.