Category Archives: Mobile Apps

There is constant pressure on companies to come up with new product ideas. But the reality is that the journey from the initial idea to a successful product launch is difficult and paved with many complicated challenges.

Every year, 30,000 new products are introduced to the market, and 95 percent of them fail, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. What separates successful product launches from failures is very often a structured approach for creating a comprehensive product marketing strategy.

This article explains what goes into developing a successful product, highlighting the importance of pre-launch marketing.

1. The Journey Begins with In-Depth Market Research

The success of a product idea doesn’t depend only on its technical merits. If that were the case, Betamax would have defeated VHS, nobody would wear mechanical watches, and Apple products wouldn’t be nearly as popular as they are today.

For a product to become successful, it must—first and foremost—be a good fit for the target audience. The problem is that many companies never bother to validate their business ideas, analyze their competitors, or even identify target audiences before they waste millions of dollars trying to figure out how to market a product that nobody wants.

Market research as a part of pre-launch marketing

Sometimes, when marketing a new product, business owners dismiss developing an actual product marketing strategy and rely too strongly on their gut feeling and expertise, arguing that Steve Jobs never bothered with market research so why should they. What they don’t realize is that Steve Jobs launched numerous product failures because of his disdain for product idea validation, including the Apple Lisa, Macintosh TV, the Apple III, or the Power Mac G4 Cube.

Of course, it’s entirely possible to achieve great success by saying, “I have an idea for a product!” and throwing a large amount of money toward it, but this has been proven time and time again to be an inefficient waste of valuable resources.

“There are two ways to achieve product/market fit: adjust your product to fit what the market wants or move the market to align with your product. The former is a whole lot less expensive than the latter,” says Bret Waters CEO of Tivix. “No startup should build a product or develop a service without thoroughly testing its assumptions, given the tools available today and the low cost associated with gaining valuable insights. But entrepreneurs continue to overlook this important starting point—particularly when they have significant venture capital in their bank account,” he adds.

A good product development strategy always begins with in-depth market research and product validation to ensure that the right solution is being created. Is the product intended for an oversaturated market? Competitor analysis can reveal the answer. Are there some missing features that could make the target audience like the product even more? Target audience analysis can provide useful hints.

By establishing a partnership with a full-cycle digital marketing agency like ComboApp during the pre-launch stage, companies can clearly define the opportunity through market research and effectively position their products to meet the wants and needs of their target market.

2. Marketing and its Role in Developing a Product Strategy

A product strategy should be driven by the needs of real users—not assumptions as is often the case. “Assumptions are a double-edged sword. In some cases, they are those crucial eureka moments—sheer genius that strikes like a bolt from the blue. In other cases—as the product launch statistics indicate—such assumptions are dangerous indeed,” explains Neil Patel, the world’s leading online marketer and New York Times best-selling author.

Well-thought-out product strategy is like a map

A well-thought-out product strategy is like a map that guides each and every step of product development, from the very early stages, through the first product concept, to marketing. This map helps create alignment between marketing and product development teams, which is key because it allows the company to focus on the needs of its target market, instead of spreading itself too thin and achieving far worse results.

“Since markets have become increasingly global and complex, and the levels of competition have reached staggering heights, this outdated concept has, out of necessity, fallen by the wayside. It has become increasingly mandatory for marketing professionals to drive product development and product life cycle functions within the organization,” states Darrin C. Duber-Smith, M.S., MBA, is a senior lecturer at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s College of Business.

“Alignment between marketing and product development teams is the key because it allows the company to focus on the needs of its target market, instead of spreading itself too thin and achieving far worse results.”

Marketing a new product is always far easier if it has been developed with the target market in mind. Every business strategy should revolve around a clearly defined vision for the product. It’s the vision that helps the marketing team create engaging messaging and the development team to create marketable features. The vision should be described in a product roadmap, a high-level visual summary that maps out the vision and direction of the product over time.

How to market a product effectively

In addition to the vision, this roadmap should also include information about the target market (demographic, geographic, behavioral, and psychographic), describe where the product will fit into the current market, explain what the product does and what makes it unique, specify what value it brings to the consumer, set out key dates the company needs to hit for the release of the product, and outline the resources required.

3. Optimizing Before Launch with Focus Group Testing

According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, market research itself can be deceptive because consumers don’t go about their shopping by conforming to particular segments. “The fact that you’re 18 to 35 years old with a college degree does not cause you to buy a product,” he says.

“It may be correlated with the decision, but it doesn’t cause it. … We realized that the causal mechanism behind a purchase is, ‘Oh, I’ve got a job to be done.’ And it turns out that it’s really effective in allowing a company to build products that people want to buy.”

Conduct focus group testing before product launch

Focus group testing involves a group of users talking about their experiences and expectations as a way how to acquire feedback regarding new products. Focus group testing is best performed during the early stages of product development, when companies are trying to develop their product strategy and optimize their products before launch. When done correctly, focus group testing helps determine how to market a new product and generate as much interest in consumers as possible.

The story of Sir James Dyson is a great example of why optimizing before launch and understanding what it is that customers really think is so important. Before the famous British inventor created his first successful bagless vacuum cleaner, he went through 5,127 prototypes.

After the success of the DC01 upright and DC02 cylinder cleaner, Dyson, who believes that it can take a very long time to develop interesting products and get them right, wanted to maintain its market-leading position with more, innovative products. Market research quickly became the main drive behind product development at Dyson, and the rest is history.

By including customers in the development process with focus groups, surveys, and usability testing, Dyson not only discovered an extremely effective strategy how to market a new product, but the company single-handedly reinvented a mature market.

4. Creating Success with Pre-Launch Marketing (Landing Page, Content Strategy, Link Building, SEO)

Success creates more success—not only in life but also in business. Customers are influenced not only by marketing but also by the behavior and decisions of other customers. For example, the goal of pre-launch marketing is to tell your target audience that you have an idea for an app and make them excited about it. When the app is finally released (provided the pre-launch marketing was successful), customers will flock to it, increasing curiosity around the app and convincing even more customers to check it out.

“Those who underestimate the importance of marketing in product development and skip such important activities as pre-launch marketing may discover that customers are simply not interested in what they have to offer.”

Many pages have been dedicated to how to market an app before launch, and it boils down to these four components:

  • Creating a landing page: A landing page is an important part of pre-launch marketing because Studies show that marketers capture leads at a higher rate by sending them to dedicated landing pages, rather than sending traffic to the home page. Landing page testing (A/B testing) helps increase the effectiveness of a landing page and, consequently, the ROI of online advertising.
  • Coming up with a content strategy: 87 percent of visionaries and 81 percent of leaders keep content at the core of their marketing efforts because content marketing generates three times the leads per dollar spent over paid search marketing. There are many types of content to explore, from blog posts to podcasts to YouTube videos, each serving a slightly different purpose but all falling within the realm of content marketing.
  • Practicing link building: Link building can be seen as a by-product of a successful content marketing strategy. Even though links are no longer the most important Google ranking factor, they can still help spread the word about the product and drive engagement.
  • Implementing a cost-effective SEO strategy: SEO isn’t just about keywords. It’s about making a website accessible for real users and search engines alike. It reflects the fact that most users come from mobile devices and won’t recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive.

Develop SEO strategy for marketing a product

Pre-launch marketing, just like all other marketing efforts, should be driven by the overall product marketing strategy. Companies that would like to maintain sharp focus on product development instead of worrying about how to market a product a long time before it’s ready, can turn to a full-cycle digital marketing agency with extensive experience in developing, executing, analyzing and fine-tuning search engine optimization and providing content management solutions for both B2B and B2C clients, such as ComboApp.

5. The Journey Ends with a Marketing Feedback Loop

Since the dawn of our species, humans have been thriving on feedback. In fact, all biological systems operate on a mechanism of inputs and outputs called a feedback loop.

“Positive feedback loops enhance or amplify changes; this tends to move a system away from its equilibrium state and make it more unstable. Negative feedbacks tend to dampen or buffer changes; this tends to hold a system to some equilibrium state, making it more stable,” explains the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College.

Capture user feedback to adjust and optimize product roadmap

Feedback loops can also be incorporated in product development and marketing, allowing companies to continuously optimize their products after the launch by gathering and analyzing user feedback. For marketing feedback loops to work, companies must actively ask customers to leave feedback because that’s the only way how to get enough data.

As revealed by research from Apptentive, most brands hear from less than 1 percent of their customers. However, the number jumps to 70 percent when companies actively seek out customer feedback. Every post-launch marketing plan should include strategies on how to keep the target audience engaged and how to capture feedback to adjust and optimize product roadmap.

Once marketing feedback loops are in place, informed decisions can be made to better satisfy customers’ needs and create closer relationships with them.

Summary

It takes a lot of work to develop a successful product, but all the hard work can go to waste if the company behind it doesn’t know how to market a new product. Companies that have a marketing team on board from the very beginning and throughout the entire lifecycle of a product (regardless of whether it is a website, app, or something else entirely) have a much greater chance of achieving their goals and emerging as market leaders.

On the other hand, those who underestimate the importance of marketing in product development and skip such important activities as pre-launch marketing may discover that customers are simply not interested in what they have to offer. The good news is that all companies can effortlessly come up with an effective way how to market a product by partnering with an end-to-end digital solutions agency like ComboApp.

Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. We look forward to helping you become the next unicorn!

Acquiring users for free-to-play mobile game is hard, but keeping them engaged is even harder. A mobile game need to have an active and loyal user base in order to be successful and profitable.

How can you get your game discovered and bring it to a new level? The trick lies in finding a balance between acquisition and retention, tracking in-app analytics and using additional marketing methods.

We share 5 smart steps for growing mobile game user base on Appsflyer blog.

The key to MWC16 day four is a large cup of coffee (or two) and an extra pair of legs to walk endless exhibition halls. On the last day, we decided to visit the Gamelab Mobile event and take a look at the most curious projects. Once again we saw that mobile is everything. Mobile drives forward services, wearables, communication and fun.

A game you can … wear

This year Gamelab Mobile explores the innovation in gaming that changes the way we interact with games.

MadRat Games presented a Super Suit, which is a wearable gaming device for kids that consists of gloves and a vest. It works as laser tag now, but provides an open platform for any game development. This wearable should help with the problem of kids spending 8-12 hours in front of the TV, an iPhone, and/or tablet screens.

RoBoHoN from Sharp is a kind of smartphone robot that you can carry around and use as a virtual assistant. It will have an open platform by the time of release in Japan in a couple of months. Would anyone want to make calls using a tiny robot and carry this robot in your pocket? We’ll see.

A brave new world of smart devices

AT&T is now providing connectivity for Audi cars. We checked out the Audi r8 2017 and it felt (and looked) pretty good.

Nokia’s smart projector, beta-version, reminds us of the Minority Report movie:

Etisalat’s virtual mall allows users to interact with chosen stores and make purchases anywhere. For example, while you are waiting for the bus or navigating the subway. The idea is to make the online shopping experience easier and faster instead of scrolling through items on a website. You literally put products into a 3D shopping bag

After the success of PetCube, it became clear that animals could be a great inspiration for smart devices. LG presented a Rolling Bot that works as a sitter for your pet while you are not home. It works through the smartphone’s Bluetooth. You can keep an eye on the house with the camera and use the laser pointer to play with a pet. Isn’t that cute?

While watching various presentations and testing multiple devices was fun, it encourages us to form thoughts on the future of IoT and wearables and the role of mobile marketing in it. We are excited to be a part of this cutting-edge technology ecosystem and support innovative software that drives us forward into the connected future.

The MWC event is incredibly enormous and so is the potential of ideas and projects that people share at this event. You can see the wireless projector from SK that projects HD video on any surface, has a 2 hour battery life, and fits in your palm of your hand. You experience a Virtual Reality rollercoaster with Samsung’s ‘VR Feature with 4D’.

We were excited to visit the Wearable Technologies conference and confirm our expectations of how the smart and connected world of things is evolving. Below is what Comboapp liked most:

1) Smart watch revolution

Smartwatches are all over news titles and blog reviews and there is a good reason for it. This device becomes a main connector between the human body and monitors. It can track almost anything from sleep quality, like the app we worked with – MobileSleepDoc, to emotions.

MainTool says that smartwatches are supposed to be the next big thing. Geeksme claims that even love can be measured. Apart from fitness and sleep tracking, their watch is designed to track intensity, speed, quality of sexual activity, and help evaluate the way a person felt during sex. 

2) Fitness moves wearables forward

Sport and healthcare industries were always early adopters of new technologies. Now they inspire companies to create futuristic wearables.

Kinematix designed smart insoles that track a person’s movement. This is very valuable information for runners as this insoles show the behavior of both feet on the ground. With the information received, you can build a personalized running plan and avoid injuries from bad running technique. 

First V1sion presented Smart Jersey, an actual jersey that tracks sport activity. It weighs 300 grams and has a battery life of up to 2 hours with a full HD camera. Yes, a jersey with a camera! There are also different versions for each sport type, as fabric should vary depending on type of activity.

Talking about fabrics, one more curious device from ComfTech was the smart garment with sensors that are integrated into the fabric. As a result, you get an imperceptible and easy to care wearable that also serves as clothing.

3) Smart headphones for adults and unborn babies

IBM has displayed headphones with 4GB memory, a heart rate monitor, mic, and oxygen saturation sensor. These are basically microcomputers that lead us to the era of cognitive Internet of Things. 

We couldn’t ignore the presentation of the already famous Babypod. This is a device that helps broadcast music to an unborn baby. With positive reviews from BBC, Guardian and other major media sources, we expect it to be very popular.

4) One more time about connected everything

We talked about connectivity as a trend in a previous post, but when it comes to world-changing technologies, it’s never enough.

Atooma presented a cloud that lets you manage all of your devices, IoTs and apps. It claims that big companies, like Samsung, will create a global ecosystem where things will interact with different devices, connected cars and homes through apps.

According to PWC, the connected living market is estimated to be worth 1 trillion by 2020, connected cars will triple over the next 5 years and new digital players will enter traditional markets.

App marketing agency Comboapp shares hottest trends and news from Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona. VP of ComboApp Group Julia Guzunova and Director of Strategy Consulting Dmitry Bondarenko

The event gets bigger and bigger every year, both in terms of number of attendees and the importance of ideas presented. Mobile conquers all aspects of our life and things are changing at light speed. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to gather and analyze the enormous amounts of data that are generated on a daily basis through mobile. This year’s MWC is not about the future – it is about now – for every team member from senior leadership to development to marketing.

Everything at MWC is on the cutting edge, including technology and marketing strategies, and all these innovations are focused on helping companies plan for their actions in the market, right now.

We won’t talk about how Mark Zuckerberg Helped Showcase Samsung’s Gear VR  and other top news stories; we’d rather share some of the trends we see as most impactful from Mobile Media Summit Outtakes:

1. Mobile marketing is all about data

Programmatic marketing is definitely the future of marketing, even creatives are becoming programmatic. You need to send right message to the right person at the right time. The next wave of marketing is highly personalized: it’s 1 on 1, in both content and delivery.

2. Mobile first

This one is not new, although many brands and companies ignore this new paradigm. Facebook generates 80% of revenue from mobile. 60% of sales of UK Shop Direct Group come from mobile. Most brands are starting to realize that mobile should be a priority, if they want to reach users at the right place and time.

Jill Cress from Mastercard says that mobile is at the heart of engaging the consumer. Ross Sleight from SOMO claims that mobile doesn’t replace other media – it works with conjunction with it and augments it.

3. Connectivity of everything

The era of connectivity is here. Toothbrushes connected to your smartphone? OralB presented an interesting case of connected healthcare devices: a new toothbrush that tracks your activity on a smartphone. And if you think this ends in healthcare or toothbrushes, you’d be mistaken – everything will soon be connected in your home, office and everything in between.

4. Voice for multi-screen interaction

There were a lot of comments on the Amazon Echo device – a smart speaker that allows you to control your entire home. Many believe it revolutionizes the way we interact with devices – your voice will eventually drive most of the multi-screen interactions.

5. VR and AR

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can help brands create very personal and powerful storytelling, but they are still untapped. Brands can add utilitarian value to a user experience. A good example is 360-degree advertising by Corona, Nescafe and Samsung.

6. Beauty industry facts

An amazing presentation from CMO L’Oreal Spain stresses that “Ecommerce is everywhere commerce”. Did you know that Youtube is the most influential source when people are considering purchasing beauty products? Some other facts on beauty industry:

  • 5 billions searches a year
  • 45 billion videos
  • 160 million beauty addicts on Facebook
  • 80% find out about new products online
  • The world’s Top 5 beauty Vloggers rack up 3.4 billion views on Youtube

Follow Comboapp on Twitter for live updates from MWC16: https://twitter.com/ComboApp

Bad interface creates one of the biggest barrier between the mobile app and its potential users. Users don’t like to find out how app works. Most apps fail, when it comes to UX design, because they are developed by small teams, who don’t have resources for good in-house designers.

However, it is possible to avoid common pitfalls, if you know about them. Our Head of Design, Vadym Shcherbakov, tells about typical mistakes in designing user interface. Read in our Medium blog.

Everybody wants their app to go viral. It`s like winning a lottery: you just sit still and watch your user base grow without any efforts from your side. The cost of acquiring new users decrease with each user, attracted through social channels.
Now, the only thing you need is to add some share buttons to your app and wait for users to invite their friends… Right?

The truth is, it`s not so simple. In order to gain virality, you need users to:
 

  • feel some emotions they want to share, like joy, amazement or pride;
  • propel vanity;
  • reward user for inviting a friend;
  • Read more on Tune blog.

Retail apps win the holiday season one more time this year. 92% of Millenials use smartphones during offline holiday shopping, mostly to compare prices, research products online, find special deals and store locations. More and more customers rely on smartphones for making purchases, so brands and retailers can benefit greatly from creating mobile apps that will provide additional information and services and increase loyalty.
 
December is a proper time for brands to catch the attention of mobile customers since there is less competition in mobile holiday marketing. Comboapp reveals 5 steps retail apps can take to win the rest of the holiday shopping season: read more.

Choosing the right monetization model for an app is crucial. It will either work effectively and in chime with app`s features, or will disrupt user experience and bring no revenue. Apart from several standard monetization options, app developers can choose among trending ones, like paywalls and sponsored ads.

What are the main things app developer should pay attention to before implementing monetization model? What are the latest industry trends?  ComboApp answers questions and talks about 3 Best Monetization Models in Meduim Blog.

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