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Time For An iPhone Strategy

Let's not overcomplicate this: Do you have an iPhone strategy to reach your customers?

Let's not overcomplicate this: Do you have an iPhone strategy to reach your customers?It'd be great if you had a grand mobility strategy that spanned all devices and reeked of synergy and efficiency and scope. But while those PowerPoints bake, let's ask again: Do you have an iPhone strategy to reach your customers?

InformationWeek's Mary Hayes Weier writes about consumer-focused companies--Pizza Hut, Kraft, Whole Foods--that do. Skeptical? Weber-Stephens, maker of Weber grills, charges $5 for an iPhone-based cookbook that's currently outselling the Sports Illustrated swimsuit app among iTunes Lifestyle apps. Kraft's recipe app spent months in the Lifestyle top 20, before falling off in recent weeks. Pizza Hut's online meal-ordering app has 150,000 downloads. Good enough numbers? I don't know. But CIOs need customer connections (see Bob Evan's column on "Why CIOs Without Customer Engagements Will Fail"), and iPhone users are ready to engage.

B-to-B companies aren't off the hook. Haworth, a top office furniture maker, has an iPhone app that's essentially an interactive catalog and showroom directory. It's been downloaded 1,500 times. But reps also used it during a recent trade show to display products and the company's showrooms, blurring the saleperson-showroom-Internet channels.

So the answer might be "No, we decided against an iPhone strategy to reach our customers," and that might be a great call. Strategy means saying no as well as yes. But CIOs and their fellow business leaders need to ask and answer the question.

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