Mobile Monday London‘s meeting last night was themed ‘200,000 apps, where’s mine’ sponsored by BlackBerry.
It was a panel event including Mike Kirkup of BlackBerry, Chris Bourke from Mobext, Eli Camilleri of Vision Mobile, Dave Burrows from Interchange Group, Alyssa Tisne from 7digital, Tony Pearce from TeePee games and Ben Scott Robinson from We Love Mobile as the panel chair.
The panel started asking why people use apps as opposed to the web (mainly usability and discoverability) and went on to talk about demographics, why develop (for the iPhone) when no clear ROI (mainly for kudos), apps as marketing tools and marketing in general.
The evening was very generic and I thought (as did some people I spoke to afterwards) that conversation didn’t dig very deep or give many solid examples. Nevertheless, there were a few interesting things I did pick up on…
- Dave Burrows gave some insights from developing for B2B as opposed to direct with consumers. In B2B the people buying are generally not the end users. Often B2B customers see the phone as a platform and want to remove access to the phone part.
- It was concluded that marketing mobile has the same problems as normal product marketing and there can be lots to learn from other industries (another great generalisation).
- Eli Camilleri of Vision Mobile gave the observation, from their latest developer research, that ad funded has not made the money people expected.
- There was mention of the sponsorship model for launching an app where a brand gets together with a content provider to provide mutual benefit.
- There was brief talk on using multi-platform app generation tools. We were told by Chris Bourke that they almost always ‘break down at edges’. In other words, the detail is often missing and the resultant apps tend to be more suitable for organisations who have lower aesthetic needs or less concern for app detail. A tools vendor in the audience commented that these tools can be tough, complicated and costly to create.
- There was also some chat on moving apps from iPhone to iPad and whether the iPad is a different genre altogether and hence needs a re-write of most apps (to make most of the iPad) even though a literal port might take a very short time.
- There was also talk about metrics and how small companies might talk to their own end users rather than relying on existing costly market metrics. There was also mention of crowdsourced mobile testing and the need to ignore ‘the (tech) press’ who tend to produce random noise on technologies (such as html5).
Given that some people came away wanting a bit more on how to market an app, I have put together some past thoughts on areas where I think I can provide a bit more detail…
- Contact review sites (not just blogs) that specialise in reviewing apps
- Your marketing strategy can be part of your investment Strategy. As I previously mentioned, seek investment from partners who have more to offer than just money and the usual business expertise. Marketing success also often comes through who you know.
- Create a great app. The buzz from being the ‘best’ app rather than a mediocre one can often be the best kind of free PR. Related to this is creating what customers want, not what you think they want and providing a great user experience.
- A lite version of an application is often a quick and easy way of increasing visibility of your application.
- Think about motivations for creating free applications.
- Think about paying to promote you application.
- Think about cross mobile/PC marketing campaigns.
- Think about app cross promotion.
- Think about ‘Less than Free’ strategies.
- Dig deeper into freemium.