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How do you market your app to your target customers?

I often feel like startuppers spend a lot of time building apps. But when it comes time to spread the word, we're often at a big loss over what to do.

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Lori Bitter
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Lori Bitter Advisor
Co Producer at What's Next Boomer Business Summit
I ran a major advertising agency, and then had my own firm. I observed exactly what you state - time and money to build an app with "marketing" considered at the tail-end of the process. The issue I see over and over is not involving the consumer at the beginning of the development process and letting that input inform what the app becomes and how it will evolve. This makes the communications to introduce the app so much easier because we know that we have developed something the consumer wants, has told us they will use, and our job is to tell them that it is ready.

So many apps represent a good idea in the mind of the creator. When they are finished they get handed to a marketing team to "roll out." The team flounders at finding the consumer because this is the first time any one is really thinking about how this app will exist in people's lives in a real way. Dollars are spent on tactics that may or may not get traction for a little while - increasingly only on digital platforms because we've mistaken media for the message. The great idea is getting buried, everyone gets frustrated, and THEN someone thinks it might be time to do research with some consumers. For many teams, it is too late. They've run out of money or investor interest.

Putting the consumer at the front of the design/build process and keeping them close throughout development ensures you have ambassadors when you are ready to roll-out. You launch with early reviews and stories from actual users. You can leverage free and inexpensive platforms because you have consumer-focused content. And you are handing the communications team powerful insights to work from.
Thomas Duffy
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Thomas Duffy Advisor
Telehealth365
that is why we have put together a strategy for start-ups to creat bu while they create the app or MVP
David Dallaire
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David Dallaire Advisor
Founder/President at Fennec Marketing Group
This is a common issue with ALL software-based start-ups. I've theorized over the years that it has a lot to do with not only being overly impressed with their own idea and some magical force that will cause it to "sell itself", but also because the product can be distributed online, making people think they can skip over a lot of the core steps involved in not only doing marketing, but designing the product in the first place and doing the required ground work for proper Branding and positioning.

I more often than not turn away work from software/app startups for this reason, but leave them with this advice:

Pretend you have to sell your product shrink-wrapped in a box through chain stores like Best Buy and Staples...then what would you do? Take the steps you need to make sure it is "packaged" and targeted correctly...that is what most start-ups omit and where they fail.
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