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A recipe for a successful mobile app marketing plan – the secret lies in the ingredients – part 1


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This is the first in a training series discussing the optimal activities mix for your app marketing plan, considering objectives, budget and more. Before obsessively breaking down your app marketing plan to daily and even hourly activities (you might get there, I know I did) read this and easily prioritize tactics and activities later on

Starting with couple of comments to set expectations for this series of trainings (it’s Elli’s appetizer for each training…so bear with us):

  1. This is a high level free training. We are guessing some practical “know-how” questions may come up while you’re reading. Answers to many of these are provided in additional, dedicated trainings. Relevant links, as usual, will be included. 
  2. This training is both theoretical and practical. It’s designed to help you understand the main possible elements of your marketing plan and to prioritize them. This is the base to any established, ideal marketing plan.  In other words, after reading this series you should be able to decide on the right mix of marketing activities to use while pushing your specific app. 
  3. The ideal time to start planning is a few months before you start with the execution (launch, beginning of a year, or any other milestone). Why? Because planning requires some thinking time as well as time for dealing with logistics. 
  4. This series is relevant for ANY budget level. I am sure you will find it useful, no matter how limited or large your budget is. 

Take a large bowl and mix budget and objectives…

Objectives come first. Oops, no, no… sorry, budget comes first. Hmmm, hold on, wait a minute… budget is set by objectives, right? Multiply number of desired downloads by cost per download and here you go, that’s the requested budget. Walk in the park…

Well, we wish it was that easy…

It’s always “let’s take over the world”! The budget will come later on, once we prove we are a huge success.. Possible? Not really.. So, where should a marketing manager really start?

We always look at it as a top-down-bottom-up tango dance – the ideal situation modified by reality.

First set your high level objectives (usually around downloads, usage and revenues).  Then, these initial objectives will most likely have to be modified according to the actual marketing budget available and its limitations.


One way to plan your budget is to look at how much you need to fully reach your objectives.

However, this approach is usually not realistic as no one really gets what they initially ask for, right? If you managed to get “oh-close-enough” this is an amazing achievement, and we are proud of you!

You might be a bit confused at this stage. Everybody is, when it comes to budgeting an actual marketing plan. Should you or should you not calculate your budget by the variety of marketing activities you want to engage in to support your objectives? Or maybe you should set your goals according to a given budget? That’s the tango dance we were referring to earlier.

Here is what we recommend:

  1. Set the high level objectives (considering some general idea of the budget you will end up with)
  2. Select and prioritize the marketing tactics and tools you will be using (and whether you will use external help or do things yourself)
  3. Figure out the initial budget needed to support the above
  4. Adjust the budget, following discussions you will surely have with your management, investors, mom.. Whoever is in charge of the finances – it’s almost certain you will need to cut off your originally planned marketing spend. Meaning you will need to “sacrifice” some initially planned activities. While objectives can be moderated along the way, influenced by actual performance, budget is usually fixed with little flexibility. Why bother with #1-#3 and not start with #4, you ask? Well, in order to ensure you are making the optimal choices for your app, you need to understand the “price” of what you decide to “sacrifice”. Also, to enjoy the highest actual budget, you need to aim high from the very beginning, and this is not a cliché…
  5. Now, based on the budget, you will most likely need to refine the objectives. This is the “wake up call” where you set expectations for what you can plan for with the given budget. It can get a little unpleasant.. we know..
  6. Move in to the tactical plan (split the budget by activities, define step by step tasks, set schedules and responsibilities for each task, etc.)

So, as mentioned at the beginning, once you have your initial objectives ready, you must first get to know the variety of app marketing tactics and tools. We will dive into that in the following parts of our app marketing plan series. Be sure to check out part 2 of our app marketing plan series, where we will discuss public relations based tactics, from traditional PR, to industry events, social media and content marketing.

Elli is one of Co-Founders, a mobile expert and a mentor. Having years of experience in the mobile and marketing industry promoting popular mobile apps and B2B related services. Presenting specific expertise on users' acquisition strategies, PR, social media, product marketing, BizDev integrations and more
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