Here is a scenario that is familiar to most app developers: You create a new app, plan a marketing strategy, and finely-tune the details of the rollout. Then the app hits the market and focus shifts to updates, support, and (perhaps) the next app launch. As a result, the initial marketing strategy stays in place even months or years after the debut.
Just because something is the first app marketing strategy does not mean it should be the only app marketing strategy. Just the opposite. Sticking to one strategy delivers diminishing returns, lost opportunities, and disengaged users. These are some of the consequences that come from a set it and forget it approach to app marketing:
The Default Settings Stop Cutting It
An automated marketing campaign relies on targets, triggers, and settings to determine when it acts and what it does. Those settings are determined using upfront forecasts or sometimes by simply following industry standards. And while they may be adequate to capture the first round of users, they won’t apply to the users who are actually compelled to use the app. Leaving the default settings in place rather than adjusting them based on user analysis makes them more irrelevant as more time passes.
New Users Defy Expectations
The rollout marketing strategy for an app is only applicable to that unique phase in the app life-cycle – the rollout. After that, marketing strategies must evolve to continue capturing new users and to keep existing users engaged. Those are entirely different initiatives, and they won’t work if the initial marketing effort is still in place. Marketers must learn from uses to determine what they really want and need. That must then be reflected in the ongoing engagement effort.
Business Strategy Suffers
Once an app is released to the market, it’s up to the developers and marketers to follow the app in whatever direction points to success. The initial plans provide a road map, but often the most lucrative or strategic opportunities arrive unexpectedly after the app has built up users. Mobile application marketing must take into account the changing priorities of the business and opportunities of the app. Otherwise, marketing efforts reach the wrong users at the wrong time in the wrong formats.
Problems Plague Users
The beauty of automated marketing is that so much of the work is handled for you. The side effect is that campaigns go days, weeks, or months basically without any monitoring or maintenance. We have established how the messaging goes stale, but it’s also possible for important features and displays to break down. If no one in-house is aware of the problem, then it affects the widest number of users the most times possible. Even if a strategy is not regularly overhauled it must be regularly inspected.
Losing Out on Testing Opportunities
The beauty of automated marketing is not that it makes the effort easier. It’s that is makes improving the effort easier. Since these campaigns are so much simpler to operate there are rich opportunities for testing campaigns and identifying what really works. That is the best kind of marketing because it eliminates the assumptions. The users themselves tell you what works. Not surprisingly, every one of the KPIs goes up as a result. Keeping the same marketing strategy in place ignores the potential of testing entirely.
The temptation of set it and forget it is obvious. But the fact that this approach is ineffective is just as obvious. Since marketing is important to the success of the app, it must evolve and grow along with the app.