Some application developers not as familiar with marketing may ask why anyone should spend time developing a marketing plan. The thought of creating a plan conjures up ideas that a marketing plan must be huge, painful, and lengthy. This is simply not true. A marketing plan needs to be long enough to define a strategy and the components that will give your application a good chance of sales success. It does not need to be binders full of lengthy information. Don’t worry about the length of your plan. Rather, make sure that your plan defines how you are going to achieve success selling your application.
Some developers can cite all kinds of examples of successful applications that don’t or didn’t have any kind of marketing plan. This is true, but they are the standout applications that got a lucky break when the application Store was in its infancy.
A marketing plan is going to improve your chances of getting that lucky break. Remember what Thomas Jefferson said about being lucky? “I find that the harder I work the more luck I seem to have.”
The first point to understand about a marketing plan is that there is a difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. A marketing strategy can be defined as a summary of your company’s applications and their position as they relate to your competition. Business web directories are another great way to promote your product.
For example, if you are a developer of game applications, you could define your marketing strategy as geared to a male, teenage audience in the category of racing games. You marketing plans are the specific actions you intend to take to meet the goals of your marketing strategy. Your marketing plan might include releasing a new racing game application every three months so that you have four applications within the first year of business.
Another marketing strategy could consist of someone developing the best financial iPhone/iPad application on the market in your category on the application Store. The marketing plan then spells out how you intend to make the strategy a reality, such as partnering with a major bank or other financial institution to distribute the application to realize thousands of downloads.
A good marketing plan will help you to improve your odds against more experienced competitors on the application Store (EA and Sega come to mind) as well as newly emerging ones. The marketing plan enables you to recognize and take action on any trends that other application developers may have overlooked and to develop and expand your own select group of loyal customers now and into the future.
The plan also means that you have carefully considered how to produce an application that is innovative, unique, and marketable, improving your chances of stable sales and profits and providing incentive for customers to stick with you for the next release or new application. So, following the popular Top 10 List format, here are the top 10 reasons you should create a marketing plan along with some explanation for each item.
Having a marketing plan helps you focus on your target market and identify any gaps in the market that could provide new or unique opportunities for you. Many developers have an idea for an application in their head, and they think they’ve got it all figured out without taking any time to assess their market. Does the application idea in your head address a few thousand people, or does it address hundreds of thousands? Is the idea going to applicationeal only to a small group of hobbyists, or can the idea be global? “Just build an application, and they will come” is often what developers think. A marketing plan will cause you to carefully outline your target market and help you make the decision whether to proceed with your idea.
Without a marketing plan, your application may turn out entirely different from where it started. This may be okay if you produce a better application, but in most cases the application ends up being somewhat disjointed and unfocused without a plan. Your customers will immediately recognize this, and the reviews will not be favorable. Start out with a clear idea of who you are developing the application for and what benefits they will gain from using it. Having a written record of this will help you gain a competitive advantage in the application market.