Lots of people have ideas for mobile apps these days. Every week we get approached by a potential client who has no technical background, but has a great idea for an App! This is the first in a series of blogs aimed at giving a little bit of guidance to first time App inventors on what they should do and how they should do it. This first blog focusses on the core of vision and marketing.

Why Vision And Marketing Are Important

Apps are no different from any other product. This means that a great product idea in itself is not enough to give a good probability of success. To succeed our inventor will need a lean, focussed and adaptive marketing plan. If you are interested in learning more about marketing plans, take a look at the Marketing Mix. The foundation of the plan will be a clear vision of what our inventor would like his product to be. The more specific our inventor’s vision is the better.

For example, our inventor might have a plan to create an App that helps anyone to navigate anywhere in the whole world. That’s a big product idea, but it isn’t very focussed. Rather than trying to include road, sea, cycle, walking, air, underwater etc navigation all in one App, our inventor should focus on the area that he thinks is most marketable? For example, there isn’t much in the way of Apps to help scuba divers navigate underwater. Maybe that would be a more focussed App idea. The benefit of focussing the idea more is that it will be much easier to market. If the potential market is “anyone in the world”, then our inventor’s marketing cost will be huge and he will be faced with a bewildering array of marketing options (TV, internet, newspapers, viral etc).

Doesn’t The App Store Do Your Marketing For Our Inventor?

Some of the inventors who call us up think that all they have to do is add their App to the App Store and Apple, Google. Microsoft et al will take care of the marketing for them. Sadly, this is not true. Let’s take our fictional Scuba Navigator App. Just because it’s on the App Store doesn’t mean that anyone will look for it there. Scuba divers would not generally think of an App Store as the first place they should look for navigation assistance. Inventors need to get the word out there that their App is available and generate some buzz and chat about it.

Doing The Maths

Our inventor needs to think long and hard about who your users are. Then he needs to do some basic maths. Let’s say he is planning to build an iPhone App. There are currently around 200 million active iPhones in the world (this figure is disputed and by no means certain) which means that 1 in 35 people in the world own an iPhone. There are about 22 million scuba divers in the world. Let’s say that 1 in 35 divers have an iPhone (the same as the general population). This means that our inventor can estimate that about 628,571 scuba divers own an iPhone. Assuming that at a price point of £10 (we would need to do some research to work out this price point) for the App we can sell to 1 in 100 divers, that will yield our inventor 6,285 sales with a turnover of £62,850. Phew!

Now our inventor can look at the cost of the App, marketing the App etc and work out whether or not he thinks it is going to be a good investment. For example, if the development cost of the App is £25,000 and the marketing cost is £30,000, then our inventor’s rough profit will be around £12,000.

Conclusion

So, before you go spending your hard-earned cash on developing a great App, ask yourself some basic marketing questions and do some basic maths. This will let you know whether your App will be the success that you hope it will be!

Next: Review The App Store Guidelines!

Our next article will be advice and guidance on reviewing App Store guidelines before plunging into development work.

Read Part II Now!

Nick is the CEO of McKenna Consultants Ltd, based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK. Nick is 1 of only 7 Certified Scrum Coaches in the UK. McKenna Consultants are a professional team of computer programmers delivering the highest quality software specialising in a broad range of technologies for windows, web-based and mobile applications, including apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile. McKenna Consultants also deliver Agile coaching, consultancy and training to organisations of all sizes. For more information on the services that Nick and McKenna Consultants provide, please visit: http://www.mckennaconsultants.com/