Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Custom apps, online marketing and the unique customer experience – 3: making crowd sourced development work

Posted in strategy and planning, Web 2.0 marketing by Timothy Platt on January 20, 2011

In a fundamental sense this posting is about completing a cycle and creating sustaining value-based visibility in the marketplace. I have written two postings so far on custom apps with:

Custom apps, online marketing and the unique customer experience – 1 and
Custom apps, online marketing and the unique customer experience – 2: empowerment from the crowd.

They deal with issues of what custom apps are and how they can fit into an organization and support it. They also look into some of the issues of in-house versus crowd sourced app development. But they leave a very large gap in discussion coverage: marketing effective apps that will help both your business and members of the marketplace you seek to reach.

There are tremendous numbers of apps to chose from and certainly for the more widely used handheld platforms with their connectivity protocol and other requirements.

• If you have a great app to share how do you effectively get word out about it, so people will load it onto their handhelds, and not competitors’ apps or apps that may have been developed in the crowd with you in mind but that offer a dissatisfying experience?

An obvious place to start is with your own web site and through the Web 2.0 and interactive resources you manage and maintain for public use. But you also need to identify and work with the resources out there that people in your marketplace would turn to when looking for new apps to try out per se, with links to download the apps themselves and reviews and other commentary about their pros and cons, and about real world user experience.

Apple has its App Store and Google has its app marketplace. There are a growing range of sites and venues that apps can be found through, including direct searches of apps from businesses they would connect you to, or that support their markets. I write this paragraph from the perspective of the person looking for an app and the business offering them needs to think like one of the consumers they would reach out to here.

• Learn what is out there and how it is labeled, and particularly where app names and branding for apps that would not help your business could be confused as coming from your business or connecting to it. This can mean defending your name and brand from infringement and it can also mean selecting names and app branding that would help make you stand out as unique and readily identifiable.
• I wrote that bullet point in the order I did with looking to see what is already out there and then building (or crowd sourcing), naming and branding because you have to make your entries work in an already busy field of app options.
• And make distinctiveness and clear connection to your business as core component to the app and its user interface per se.

As a final thought here I cite what to many has simply become a buzz word but that does have valid meaning – viral marketing. Reach out to your early adaptors who self-identify from the ways they interactively reach out online with you, and to the hub networkers you identify (see Social Network Taxonomy and Social Networking Strategy.) Enlist their help in your marketing yours apps, and offer inducements such as preview testing status and the option to help contribute to the final working design to members of your target marketplace who would value that. Be creative and allow the people you would reach out to, to be creative with you.

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