Whether you’re launching a muffin flavor or a high-tech piece of software, properly researching your market is the first step in the process.
Unfortunately, most mobile app developers don’t have the know-how that lets them optimize their products for the right audience at the right time. Coming up with an idea on your own is a pretty personal matter, and making it an actual application that can be downloaded by any number of people does very little to make it seem less proprietary.
If you do plan to make a profit or at least try and launch an idea into the world, market research is a must-have. Where to begin? With a little something called a SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The order in which you consider these is unimportant – as long as you make sure to think about them all before committing to an idea.
This simple tool does something incredibly relevant: it makes you view your app as a potential business, allowing you to place it correctly in a market that will help it flourish.
Here’s an example: Say you’re using one of our amazing Ionic themes to make an app for sharing content – nothing too out-of-the-box, but definitely intended for a niche audience. It’s an app for sharing cat photos with like-minded people, and it’s definitely got some cool features to offer.
Let’s say you start with your strengths – what makes your idea stand out?
One answer could be the simplicity of the UI or the ease of access to adorable cat content. There doesn’t have to be a single answer, although less ambiguity lets you focus on growing your strengths more.
Weaknesses would be anything that could use some extra work or areas where you think you might have missed something. Opportunities might be external, like using the cat-tastic content to drop into some other markets (like dogs or hamsters or snakes in hats), or it could be internal: taking advantage of an experienced new team member that can make your app faster perhaps.
Threats are pretty self-explanatory: that which can destroy your idea or make it irrelevant is a threat. It could be a competitor or a trend where people stop sharing pet photos for strangers to see – you never know what might happen.
Now, the beauty of the SWOT analysis is that you can do it whenever you like, not just at the very beginning. If you’ve launched something and it doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves, try analyzing it. Are your strengths being utilized? Are the opportunities clear? Is there a weakness you didn’t notice before, or a threat that just appeared?
In any case, take a moment to survey the situation and adapt to it. Use your strengths to minimize threats and take full advantage of any new opportunities. Eliminate weaknesses where you can and build on them.
It sounds a bit like a war plan, right? Most of the time, this kind of thinking is handled by the business side of mobile app development, and the developers themselves don’t really participate. Understanding the process, though, can not only make you more likely to create a hit app but also understand what kind of idea might work next.
Inspire yourself – you might be onto something big.