How marketers can pitch apps to the board

There are plenty of reasons for companies to invest in a mobile app these days, but that doesn’t make it any easier as a marketer to secure the budget to do it.

Whether you’re working in a start-up that needs funding or an established brand looking to extend your customer engagement, you’ll need to prove your app is worth the investment.

Requesting extra marketing budget is always a difficult task, and when it comes to investing in new technology where there isn’t always a proven test case, it becomes even harder. So when you approach the board for funding, be prepared and make sure you cover these key bits.

The purpose

I think the first and most important question to ask yourself is why do you need a mobile app? Just like any other marketing request, if you can’t answer this question in a sentence or two, then you’ll find it incredibly difficult to sell the idea to someone else.

And it’s not just why you think you need a mobile app that’s important, you need to convince the board that your customers need it too. As marketers, we're sure you will never underestimate the importance of customer research.

Having a clear picture of how your users already interact with their mobiles and apps is key to understanding exactly how they will engage with your app - and this is something that can be done through collaborating with the company's tech team.

The bigger picture

Understanding your customers will not only help you sell your app to the board, but it will also give you a better understanding of how it will integrate into your existing marketing strategy.

If you’re an established brand, then your app needs to be an extension of your brand. It needs to engage your customers on a deeper level than social media and your website, but it still needs to fit into the entire strategy to work.

By showing the board how a mobile app will give your customers more than they already get, and ultimately lead to increased brand engagement or improved conversions, you’ll be able to begin proving the ROI.

The costs

Having the financials outlined at this stage is key to winning over the board. They’ll want to know exactly what it’s going to cost them and how you intend to make that money back.

At the end of the day, your app needs to support your key marketing goal. As well as defining how it fits into your strategy, you’ll need to show how it will impact your business

In order to get some project costs, you’ll need to liaise with some freelancers, contractors or agencies to determine the best route for development and to get some quotes.

As with anything digital, you’re paying for skill and time, and the figures will vary considerably between who you talk to, expect day rates from £300 to over £1,000.

When researching developers for your app, be sure to discuss support, security, ownership of the IP, features and analytics. Some agencies will charge different costs for different support and licensing agreements. Make sure you get all the facts up front so you’re confident costs won’t change.

It’s also worth taking into account the internal resource that will be required for the project, who will be needed in meetings during the development of the app, and more importantly, who will be responsible for the on-going management of the app? An app is a product, not just a project.

To keep your app users engaged and using your app, it will need to be continually updated, enhanced and updated. You should include this thought process within your pitch.

The outcome

At the end of the day, your app needs to support your key marketing goal. As well as defining how it fits into your strategy, you’ll need to show how it will impact your business.

It’s great to shout about all the things a mobile app could do, but the board will be interested in what’s in it for them. It will be much easier for them to sign off budget if they can see how the app will benefit the company.

Is it to improve brand engagement or to increase revenue? What results do you expect to see?

Although you’re selling your app idea to the board to get their buy in, you need to be honest with your reasoning and be realistic with your figures.

It’s a huge investment which needs to be executed well to be successful and you need to be clear about purpose, need, costs and outcomes.

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