Cover Story: Four Publishers Reveal Their App Strategies
Not surprisingly, Scholastic develops all of its apps in-house. "We have this team who's doing digital production in every platform, so we know our content, we know our brands. We care much more deeply about success and execution than any third party would," Forte says.
Follow the Leadership: the Pfeiffer/Wiley approach
Given the longstanding success of its Leadership Challenge development franchise, Wiley imprint Pfeiffer knew the bar was set pretty high for its app treatment. Now in its fifth edition, the Leadership Challenge book, along with its associated workshops, events, websites and online training courses, seeks to "meet customers where they are, give them access to content and give it to them in the form they want," says Lisa Shannon, associate publisher at Pfeiffer. "Certainly mobile and apps are a new form customers want."
The app, released in January, provides a platform for users of the program to access useful content on the go, giving them learning tools when they have a spare few minutes during the day.
"With that vision we started talking to some of our customers and came up with a prototype of features [based on] their feedback," says Shannon. These include leadership skill practice routines, tools for requesting and measuring feedback from subordinates, and a news feed.
Pfeiffer worked with an outside vendor, Float Mobile Learning, to develop the app. "We needed to work with a vendor … [who] had some experience in the training and development space and understood what we were trying to do," Shannon says.
The publisher also saw opportunity for bringing in new audiences through the app. "We built the app so it can not only be used by people who know the content and want to go deeper into it, but it can also provide an introduction [to the program]," Shannon says. "Let's say they do a search for leadership in the App Store and they find this app. It would become a way for us to introduce this model to them. So in that sense it's a sales lead. It's helping more people to get familiar with this product."
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