One of the most dangerous approaches to making apps is the field of dreams school of app development. This is the approach whereby you focus solely on delivering the technical solution, i.e. your entire time is spent on:
- Creating a functional and usable design
- Developing an awesome solution
- Creating a fantastic architecture
As a developer (or creator of apps) the there is a definite desire to focus on building a great product, to the detriment of marketing or business model planning…this is a sure fire way for your app to fail. That is not to say that those things aren’t important because they most definitely are, but the other aspects of your app is equally important.
If You Build It, They WON’T Come
For the vast majority of apps, building a great product and shipping it is not enough. There are 2 extremely important aspects of making apps that need your atention:
Business Model Development
The early stages of your app making process should clearly identify a business model, and this business model should evolve as you learn more about the market in which your app is in. The business model should identify key factors such as the problem you’re solving, your competitors, how you’ll make money and how you’ll measure success.
The term business model sometimes conjures images of lengthy, stuffy business plans – but this isn’t what I’m talking about. A length, written business plan is of little value to an app project, I’m talking about something like a lean canvas for your app. The lean canvas is an excellent way to identify your business model, find the risky elements of it and do it quickly.
Ignoring your business model will likely leave you without a realistic revenue stream, out-played by competitors and without any idea who your customers really are.
When people think of marketing, they often relate it to the parts of marketing they recognise:
- Paid Advertising
- Direct Mail
- Email Spam etc
The world of marketing is far greater and with is generally focused on delivering the right product, to the right people. When making an app marketing should be there from the very beginning, and right the way through to the end:
- During app idea selection you should be researching the market, idnetifying sales channels, finding your customers and looking at the competition.
- During the design phase you should consider customer personas and feature sets of competitors.
- When shipping your app you’ll need promotion, influencer realtionships and early adopters
The list goes on of all the aspects of marketing that will carry your app to success.
Ignornoring app marketing will generally result in you app not being found – it does not matter how good your app is if nobody ever finds it.
I call it the field of dreams approach to app development because when developing an app its tempting to focus on delivering the best app possible, and assuming that becuase its awesome that customers will just appear….’if I build it, they will come’…..believe me, they wont!