Posted by Alan Nazarelli ● Fri, Sep 07, 2012 @ 10:04 AM

Mobile Application Market Research: Disintermediated by a 99c App!

Mobile application market research can help guide software companies to market success. Here are the key considerations...

mobile2Enterprise and desktop software companies face interesting times ahead as they face an "appified" world and create app versions of their software for smart phones and tablets. Mobile application market research can help guide software companies to market success.

Here are some considerations based on our
client work in this area:

1. First and foremost, what is the "parent-child" relationship between the main program and the app? What is the ideal subset of functions provided in the app? How does the app interact with the main program? What are the core features executable only in the main program, and are they acceptable to the consumer. Remember once consumers begin to use the app, they will start seeing having to access the main program on their desktop or laptop as a workaround and a possible inconvenience. For example, on the Amazon Kindle, you can easily subscribe to a newspaper from the device. But the ability to cancel the subscription is not readily apparent on the device and requires logging on to your account through your browser. 

2. What is the appropriate price point for the app? "Appification" will definitely create downward price expectation in line with the costs of devices versus desktops and laptops. Is the app a free adjunct for users who have already purchased the main app? MindManager (from Mindjet), FastTrack (from AES) and OneNote (from Microsoft) are examples of apps that may make the price of main programs seem expensive. Customer acquisition strategy comes into play here-can the availability of the app generate demand and upsell opportunities for the main program? If so, how can app design elements be best constructed to achieve this? How can app adopters be persuaded that the main program is something they can't live without?

3. Does your app strategy need to be a multi-tiered one to maximize your marketing objectives. Along with the main program, is there a rationale for two apps-a free or near free one (see Dragon Dictation), a nominally and appropriately priced one and the main program. Once again watch the parent-child-grandchild relationship in this chain and ensure it is in alignment with providing customer value and being properly aligned to your customer acquisition strategies.

4. Lastly, what are the substitution effects of the app? What are the long term effects of continued use of app on the perceived utility the main program? How does this impact your product road map and more importantly, your revenue and profit model? What preemptive moves can you make now to protect these? And equally important, what is the impact of your competitors' "appification" moves on your business model?

The world of apps presents great opportunities to software companies to expand reach and scale markets like never before while providing users with significantly improved user experiences. The decisions on how to best execute cannot be left to chance or conjecture however. Customer input and rigorous consumer choice modeling are indicated as a prime decision inputs for these types of decisions to ensure market success.

Do you agree with our considerations? What considerations would you list?

Topics: Voice of the Customer, B2B, New Product Testing, Appification, Consumer Choice Modeling

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