So, driving to work this morning, and I hear Chase advertising its remote check desposit service for the iPhone on the radio. This article has a good set of screen shots and description of the user's experience. Hard to imagine even 5 years ago a couple advertising a mobile service or application. How far we've come. Even three years ago, it was mostly Apple.
One of the top reasons companies give for building iPhone applications and mobile services is marketing — the connection of innovation and technology to their brand. Chase was giving both instructions to existing iPhone owners to download as well as new customers. A very convenient mobile service being used to draw in new banking customers. It is using the availability of an interesting new feature — and not simply "free checking" or "low interest rates on mortgages" — to advertise Chase. It is using the availability of free services — free mobile services.
Another point that is interesting . . . Apple's iPhone has about a fifth of the US smartphone market. About one-fifth of US cell phone owners have smartphones. So, let's say . . . 4% of the US market — this isn't exact, but it's close. What percentage of Chase customers have an iPhone? Or, what percentage of iPhone owners bank with Chase? Certainly, companies with very small audiences (e.g., Rolex, Jaguar) spend a lot to market to consumers — they are aspirational brands. If I were Chase, I would also advertise this new service for branding, driving awareness of new services and acquiring customers. I am trying to think of similar scenarios, though, when there has been mass marketing for services targeting a select few outside of mobile. Initially, it seemed as if Apple had to do all the hard work — advertising its phones, its services, its applications. Now brands are stepping up to do that for it.