Top app development companies interview: Caroline Ragot - Women in Mobile

Published on Apr 14, 2016 in App Development

Caroline Ragot is the co-founder of Women in Mobile. Here’s what Caroline had to say about her initiative and the mobile world:

Your professional carreer has been closely related to marketing, culture and mobile. When and how did you realize that digital marketing was going to be a success?

At 20 I did an internship at a fashion company and I hated it! It pushed me to start thinking seriously about what I really wanted to do and make sure I would not work again in something I was not passionate about.

As any 20 year-old young woman I wanted to make a positive impact in people’s lives. I thought that I could succeed through culture and art and this is why I started as a cultural marketing consultant.

After a few years, I decided it was time to change and I applied to a job offer at Code Factory, a mobile phone company focues on the accessibility for blind people. I first accepted the job because of its amazing social impact. At the time I couldn’t imagine how the mobile industry was going to evolve.

In 2007, when the first iPhone was released and soon after Android came along I understood that the mobile revolution was about to change everything. By then I had already becone passionate about technology and especially, smartphones. In 2012 I joined InfoJobs, the spanish leading job board, to lead its mobile transition. Again a company with a great social impact!

When Facebook launched its Ad display for app downloads followed by Twitter it became clear that mobile performance marketing was going to be a game changer in the digital marketing landscape.

You were the Managing Director at Code Factory, what did you do there? What did you learn?

Code Factory’s ambitious goal is to allow the blind and visually impaired to be more independent in their everyday lives. For the blind, mobile phones are much more than just a communication tool. Smartphones are a tool that allows them to perform many tasks on their own without having to ask for help to a relative, a friend or even a stranger.

As the Managing Director of Code Factory I made the company pivot from selling software to more than 150 distributors to becoming the main accessibility technology partner of manufacturers such as Nokia, BlackBerry, and Microsoft.

What I feel the proudest of is when President Obama signed the Accessibility Act back in 2010 as the result of the evangelization work of many institutions and companies (among them you can find Code Factory).

My biggest learning? What matters is not the technology itself but what people decide to do with it.

And what about mobile traffic. Did people follow you when you decided to focus on a strategy to increase the mobile traffic? How important are the apps in this process?

It is well known that people don’t like changes so altough it has been a great journey it hasn’t been quite easy to push InfoJobs to move from web to mobile. It took time and energy to get everyone on board but we did it and successfully achieved the best results.

We are a bit like the Rolling Stones, oldies but still rocking :) Many companies have failed to embrace the mobile revolution and even though I would have liked InfoJobs to become a Mobile First company faster, I am very happy with what we achieved. More than 70% of InfoJobs traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. The mobile apps are converting better than the web, mobile users are also more engaged, and we are very far ahead from our competition when it comes to monthly active users.

What do you think about cross-platform or hybrid mobile app development?

I think it is a 2012 topic discussion. If mobile is core to your business, if your product or service is action-oriented, and if it is used in a reccurent basis then you should go native.

Tell us what is the key to create a good mobile strategy.

Good question! The key is to have everyone onboard and for that you need to use the CEO of your company as your main sponsor. Driving change is not easy and it is almost imposible without the support of the top management.

Then you need to think 360º. A good mobile strategy requires thinking about a mobile strategy for product, technology, marketing, business as well as sales.

If you are a web company, at the beginning you need a Mobile Champion to evangelize and define the overall mobile strategy. Someone who only cares about mobile and feel very strongly its ownership.

Whether you are a traditional web company or a mobile-only startup, you need to be up to date about the latest mobile trends. The mobile industry is still under construction especially everything related to mobile marketing. If you want to suceed you need to be an early adopter.

You have also co-founded a great initiative for women: Women in Mobile. It is not very usual to find women that work as developers, marketing strategists, mobile startups entrepreneurs or designers. What is your main goal with this initiative? Are women less valued than men in the technology industry?

Only 30% of tech professionals are women which is clearly not enough. But when you go to tech events you see even less women on stage.

For example this year at the Mobile World Congress from the 42 keynote speakers only 4 were women which is less than 10%! With Women in Mobile we want to give women more visibility: “You can not be what you can not see”.

We believe we can attract more women in tech thanks to a role model strategy. There are many reasons why young girls are not chosing tech as their carreer path. We all have to fight steroptypes and show the world that technology is an industry where both, men and women, can succeed. When I say “all” I mean parents, schools, governments, companies, etc.

Technology is shaping our future. If we want to build a better world for all, we all need to participate in it.

Women in Mobile was present at the last Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. What did you do there?

We hosted an “off” event during the MWC week at the emblematic feminist venue, La Bonne. Eight amazing speakers came to share their expertise in app retention and engagement. Among them, Stephanie Peterson from Runtastic, Sandra Davidsson from King, Joana Picq from Jampp, Diana Morato from Deliveroo, Raquel Priego from Drivy, Stefanie Palomino from The Red Lab, and Meike Mariska from Delivery Hero.

More than 400 people came to listen to these amazing women. I am the one in charge to recruit the speakers and, to be honest, it is pretty easy to find great women working in succesful mobile and tech companies willing to come and share their knowledge and experience. So this is our way of saying to the industry that there is absolutely no reason not to see more women on stage at tech events!

How is an app helpful for any company?

Not all companies need an app! Think about your users and the problem your product is solving for them. Is it a problem that you can solve while your users are on the go? Is this a reccurent problem that your users need to solve often? Here is an extract of the book Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski that can help you figure out if your business needs an app or not:

Mobile usage generally consists of a couple of interaction types:

  • Lookup/Find (urgent info, local): I need an answer to something non—frequently related to my current location in the world.
  • Explore/Play (bored, local): I have some time to kill and just want a few idle time distractions.
  • Check In/Status (repeat/micro-tasking): Something important to me keeps changing or updating and I want to stay updated.
  • Edit/Create (urgent change/micro-tasking): I need to get something done now an’t wait.

Is mobile app development ready for wearables? There are some articles pointing out how mobile app development still has a long way until developers reach all the possibilities that wearable apps bring.

Few years ago at a conference of the Mobile World Congress someone said: “the problem with wearables is that they don’t allow you to do something new. All you can do with a wearable you can already do it with another device”. As long as wearables and wearable apps don’t bring a clear and new user value proposition they won’t become mainstream.

If you think about the first mobile apps, many of them were just a copy of their website counterparts. This is the same with wearables, as long as they don’t find their own identity and are only a small extensión of a mobile app, users won’t follow.

Let’s think about what you can do with a wearable that you cannot do with a smartphone nor a tablet. For example you are hands free and you don’t need to get something out of your pocket every 5min. What opportunities does this bring to the users?

Where do you think that mobile traffic and mobile apps are going? What is the next step in the evolution of apps and smartphones and other smart devices?

First I think that smartphones will remain the first screen for the next 5 years.Then it’s prety hard to guess the future but let’s try. I think that in five years, thanks to all the new sensors that will monitor our lives, personalization will become ubiquitous and as a result the same app will look completely different from one user to another.

Finally, what would you tell young mobile app developers and marketeers?

Once you are ready to release and publish your app, that's only the beginning. Don’t underestimate the importance of marketing. It is useless to market a bad app that doesn’t work as people will stop using it straight after installing it.

This is common sense and everybody agrees with that. But the truth is that it is also useless to have a great app that nobody knows. There are more than 1,5M apps in the Google Play Store as well as the App Store of Apple, so invest time and money in marketing, not only in product development.

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About the author

AppFutura has been around to list IT companies and marketing agencies for some years now. During this period, the team has published hundreds of AppFutura tips but also important information for the companies to know more about a specific topic of interest. Among some of the articles, you will find different posts of AppFutura team members that are not quite recurring contributors, like our CTO or our finance controller, as an example. From AppFutura tips to improve your presence online on our directories or some information regarding our company.

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