From Concept to Delivery - Marketing, Measurement and Budgeting

This guide is split across 4 parts and provides you with an end-to-end overview of developing an app.

Over the 4 parts, we will cover following things:

  • Product Discovery & Definition
  • Marketing, Measurement and Budgeting
  • Design and Development Plan
  • Monetisation

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In the previous blog, which can be found here, we talked about Product Discovery and Definition.

In this part 2, we will cover Marketing, Measurement and Budgeting

Marketing Activities: Pre and Post Launch

Running an awareness campaign before your product launch should be a part of your marketing strategy. Marketing is an ongoing process that should usually start a few months before the launch of your app and continue far past the original release date. Some effective pre launch marketing activities include:

  • Teasers and early sign-up pages
  • Press kits & collateral
  • Leveraging social media channels
  • Paid advertising
  • Websites or landing pages

The steps you take to prepare for your app launch may have the greatest effect on its ultimate success, and getting your marketing department involved early in the process is one of the most important.

Establish An ASO Strategy
You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your app, so how you do you make sure people see it? App Store Optimization (ASO) is a great way to boost your app’s visibility. ASO is the means of optimizing varied elements of your product listing to achieve a higher ranking in an app store’s search results. Here are some factors that will affect your ASO strategy:

  • Keyword Search
  • App Name
  • Description
  • Screenshots & Video Preview

These ASO strategies are an inexpensive and effective way to ensure that your app gets seen in app stores.

Plan Your Launch Strategy
Once you have all the pieces in place, you will need to focus on going to market in a way that will set up your product for success. This means making decisions about launching with an MVP or more mature product, and choosing a hard or soft launch strategy.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Launching an MVP with a core set of features allows you to test and validate key concepts early so you can improve your product with each iteration, while also reducing time to launch and cost of development. The product discovery phase should include your prioritized product roadmap, which will allow you to determine what is needed for your MVP.

Soft Launch
A soft launch is when you release your product to a restricted audience or market prior to launching it fully. Soft launches are often limited to a particular area or a small segment of ideal users and customers. Advantages include:

  • Identify bugs & feature improvements early in a smaller market
  • User feedback gained to apply to future iterations
  • Marketing acceptance
  • Better preparation for a hard launch

Hard Launch
A hard launch is when you release your product fully to the market, with the corresponding marketing push to match. Hard launches are more expensive and typically used by larger companies with the necessary budgets or more mature products. Advantages include:

  • Competitive advantage (harder to replicate ideas)
  • More feature-rich, developed products
  • Hard marketing push for more rapid user adoption

Preparing a launch strategy may not guarantee that your app will be successful, but it does significantly increase the chances. At the very least, it helps you to avoid common pitfalls that result in product failure.

Measurement

The app market is saturated with products that fail to meet user expectations due to a lack of value, poor usability, flawed design, and many other common pitfalls. To avoid these oversights, it’s imperative to measure in-app analytics that will reveal patterns of user behavior and app performance so you can take actionable steps to optimize the overall user experience.

Some common metrics to track include:

  • App Functionality Metrics
  • User Acquisition
  • Daily Active Users (DAUs)
  • Session Duration
  • Lifetime Value (LTV)

These metrics will allow you to better understand your users so you can make data-driven decisions to will improve the overall user experience and meet business goals.

It’s a good idea to use an app lifecycle management platform such as Localytics, Google Analytics, or Crashlytics.

Budgeting

Mobile app budgeting is a task not many companies are adequately equipped for. Despite the prominence of mobile and the number of organizations that are realizing its importance, it’s surprising how little is understood about what it takes to build a fully functional, user-ready mobile app. The result of this knowledge gap is that many underestimate the time, resources, and budget they require in order to build a useful product. In our experience, the biggest mobile app budgeting mistakes people make are:

Ignoring Backend Development and Service Integration
One of the biggest mobile app budgeting mistakes people make is assuming that it is a standalone product consisting of only the screens that users interact with on their devices. The reality is that the user-interface of the app is a very small part of a larger machine that allows the app to function.
There are a variety of moving parts: the content management system (CMS); the backend infrastructure APIs that handle business logic (cloud-based); and third party integrations (user engagement via push, analytics for data capture, Facebook login, chat, etc.)

Many make the mistake of considering only the front-end when determining a mobile app budget. By doing this, they are ignoring the largest cost factors, which typically lie within the backend infrastructure and integrations that aren’t immediately visible.

Thinking Mobile Apps and Websites Aren’t Much Different
Not only do apps require the backend infrastructure, all of these different components need to be integrated and work together in order for the application to function.

Ensuring that all of the moving parts – the front-end, CMS, third party services, the backend – work together seamlessly requires a lot of time and effort; much more so than a website. There is limited real estate on a mobile screen, and the user experience is vastly different. Information needs to be more focused and content delivery needs to be faster. Mobile apps, therefore, make network calls more frequently and require services that are able to support this.

Failing to Consider Cross-Department Involvement
The old adage “it takes a village” could not be more apt for mobile app development. Much like there is diversity in the technical components needed for an app to function, there is a need for cohesion across internal teams for the app to be successful. Development is only one part of the picture.

Lack of Marketing Budget
Marketing will play a key role in driving user acquisition and growth. The app market is highly competitive, and like any other product or service, your mobile app will need to be promoted in order for it to be successful. All too often, the marketing function is an afterthought.

The cost of marketing your mobile app should be considered very early in the process when you are determining what your success metrics will be. Do you want to drive a certain amount of revenue in the first 6 months? Will you measure success by a certain number of app downloads or users in a particular time frame? Goals are essential, but the marketing budget needs to be commensurate with these goals.

Customer Demand For Constant Updates
Continuous delivery is an important part of sustained success for any mobile app. Users are demanding, and with mobile technology evolving quickly, you can’t expect to retain and delight users with a “set it and forget it” mentality.

As this is an ongoing approach, the needs to support it should be accounted for when planning a budget. Again, the numbers may not be exact at the outset, but developing a longer-term strategy with a product roadmap will give you a good idea of the effort and resources required.

These mobile budgeting factors are often completely absent when budget proposals are being created, even though they typically incur the highest cost. If you haven’t considered them, you have only budgeted for a small portion of your project, not a fully functional, sustainable mobile app.
Keep in mind that these will not all be upfront costs; you are preparing a budgeting framework that will allow you to sustain and improve your product in alignment with your overall mobile strategy.

So, that’s the end of the "Marketing, Measurement and Budgeting" phase while planning to build an app.

If you directly landed here, you may want to check out our previous blog. In that article, which can be found here, we talked about Product Discovery and Definition.

We'll soon be coming up with the next article which deals with Design and Development Plan part of building an App as well. Till then stay tuned!

If you liked what we’ve written, there is a slightly higher chance you’ll also like what we’ve built. Check out Gridle by clicking here; it's a Unified platform for your teams to collaborate and communicate to accomplish more!