Reality Check: If you build it, who will come?

If you derive hope from the Field of Dreams story and  recite the ever popular “if you build it, he will come” quote as your reasoning for building without logical rationale, you may be in for a disappointment.

In a tech savvy, well-connected city of potential app users, you would think that your awesome app would be a hit. I’m sorry to say that even if you have the most polished, cleverly intuitive app, which serves a real benefit to users, you are competing for attention against not only other great apps, but also with a talking cat, a bunch of flying pigs and a red button that should never be pushed.

So building something good isn’t good enough. You have to also be good at messaging, marketing, sales, networking and a multitude of skills that have little or nothing to do with app design or development.

Plans are nothing; planning is everything.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Lessons learned from careful observation: Set aside a marketing budget. Plan for opportunities to get your product in front of your audience. Find a networker outside of your organization and get their support. If what you’ve built is truly awesome then it will sell itself, but not without some serious effort to get the ball rolling. Without proper planning, how will you gain traction in the first place?

Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.

David Packard

Another thought, though unproven, is that you might gain traction faster with a less connected, less tech savvy audience if you provide the outlets for use (ie. centers for access, device rentals, cheap device giveaways, etc.) because there is an excitement around using technology in these communities that is seldom found in our cities where we can’t even separate from our devices. Regardless of the audience, messaging and marketing are key components to success.

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