I was lucky enough to attend a free webinar two days ago hosted by Seth Godin, discussing the concept of the meatball sundae. If you are unaware of the meaning of the “meatball sundae” then I suggest you check out Seth’s Squidoo lens on the subject. The overall concept of the meatball sundae is that you can’t just take an old product and apply it to a new medium and expect success. Midway through this webinar it became apparent that the iPhone app store was a perfect example of people creating meatball sundaes.
THE ALLURE OF NEW
The iPhone and the App Store both suffer from a common occurrence in technology, the allure of new. But new tech is not enough to drive a successful marketing initiative. Choosing to jump on the hype-wagon like this is a surefire way to waste time and money. If you have been following the articles about iPhone developers you are aware that in the beginning they were all making money based solely on the allure of new tech. However, as the store filled with applications and people tried to game the system that has drastically changed.
PRICING BATTLES ARE ANYTHING BUT MARKETING
Currently the app store has become flooded with weak products and cheap gimmicks that are fighting a price war down to the lowest amount possible. This is being done to not only under price the competition, but to reach the top 100 downloads list and gain exposure. All good marketers know that price is never a good selling point; anyone can come along and be cheaper.
It is in this environment that marketing is really going to sell apps. It is the applications that can find an audience based on their value not their position in the top 100 that will ultimately end up being the most successful.
How will this be achieved? I believe it will be done through design thinking.
DESIGN THINKING FOR THE APP STORE
No one understands this better than Apple. It is exactly why they have been using the phrase “the iPhone – solving life’s problems one application at a time” in their commercials.
- What problem can this technology solve that it is uniquely suited for?
- How can the iPhone solve a problem in a way that no other offering can?
Too many applications on the app store exist solely to exist. These developers are trying to play the law of averages and hope that just being in the app store will equate sales. I have even read articles where developers have stated that they love the app store because it means they don’t have to market their apps. They believe the closed system helps them sell their software; however what they are really missing is the sales they could be getting if they did think about their programs like a designer or marketer.
SCARCITY VERSUS UBIQUITY
Application developers who can create a program that lands in either one of these camps will find that their programs are the most successful. As you will soon be able to see, the vast majority of the applications on the app store fall somewhere in the big meaty death zone in the middle of the curve.