Campaigns Jump on the Mobile App Bandwagon

Dan Rutherford iPhone app

Dan Rutherford, Illinois Republican candidate for state treasurer, will point at you via his iPhone app.

Mobile apps! Everybody’s got one, most likely including your local politico seeking higher office.

The Associated Press drops this feature today on “iCampaigning,” where already incessantly social candidates — not content with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Flickr, YouTube and more — are creating their own iPhone and Android applications to pester you with even more talking points, news releases and other propaganda. This makes them look “cool” and “with it”!

Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who’s running to be the Democratic nominee for governor, has an app that lets people follow her calendar, read news releases, familiarize themselves with her background and make campaign contributions.

“It shows that our campaign is a modern campaign,” said Kelliher spokesman Matt Swenson. “We’re connecting with people where they are right now through the phones in the palms of their hands.”

These apps are a good idea, particularly if you like spending lots of money! Our recent Arkansas Business cover story on app development here in Arkansas suggests that, while you could spend thousands of dollars developing apps for multiple platforms, you could also design one mobile-friendly Web site that everyone can easily access, no matter what device they use:

“For us, the determining factor is will this application help [a user] have easier access to discounts of a particular product or service? Is it location-based?” said Bryan Jones, the director of interactive services at Little Rock creative firm Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods. “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something.”

Many apps are free; marketers reason that building a tool that you’ll download is a way to keep a brand at the top of your mind and the front of your phone. But marketing and tech agencies are pushing many clients to invest in making their websites mobile-friendly before rushing to invest in apps.

“There’s a lot of technology out there that’s called an app when it’s really just a mobile interface,” said Marla Johnson Norris, the CEO of Artistotle Inc., an interactive marketing company in Little Rock. “The more things your mobile application is going to do, the more it costs.”


AP’s story on campaign apps, here.

Arkansas Business’ app cover story, here.

Also available to politicos: YouTube, which has set up a campaign toolkit for candidates.


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