Stifled by a crowded market space and run ragged by the constant race to beat the competition, most marketers know there must be a better way to win the app marketing game. They just aren’t certain how to navigate out of dangerous waters into a calmer sea. In a previous post, we took a deep dive into what it means to work based on a Red Ocean strategy — defined by competing in an already crowded market and trying to beat out the competition in a race to the bottom — in the world of mobile marketing. Now let’s see what it looks like to define your own market, make the competition irrelevant, and generate new, untapped demand.
There is a way to change direction and sail into the clear waters of a Blue Ocean strategy in the mobile app space — a strategy focused on new solutions and differentiators, rather than trying to beat the competition at its own game. At the core of that solution? Partnerships.
The building blocks of a Blue Ocean mobile partnerships strategy
Very few companies do mobile partnerships well today, largely due to the perception of daunting complexity — at least, from the perspective of those who grew up in the web-based partnership world. Plus the technology to support the unique needs of mobile partnerships was simply not there in years past. But now, all of that has changed. Mobile partnerships can drive both seamless user experiences and powerful revenue growth.
While the idea of Blue Ocean strategy has been typically used to frame corporate-wide strategy, there is no reason why the same philosophy can’t be applied to departmental-level strategy as well. In this case, that means looking at new ways to create awareness, interest, and engagement with your app through mobile partnerships.
Pillars of a Blue Ocean app marketing strategy
A strong Blue Ocean app marketing strategy focuses on a few key pillars.
- Creating uncontested market space. This means taking an offering to market that does not compete in existing market space, but rather creates its own space. With most app and growth marketers focused on the Red Ocean space of traditional marketing methodologies like advertising, new apps would do better not wading into these shark-infested waters. Rather, they should focus on reaching audiences through the partnership channel, which is a largely untapped Blue Ocean.
- Making the competition irrelevant. Tap into a means of connecting with audiences that drives a deeper, more trusted relationship. Most of the competition relies solely on advertising, which feels increasingly irrelevant to younger, more skeptical consumers. That means it’s critical to look beyond the status quo to find new ways to reach your highest-value audiences.
- Creating and capturing new demand. Why fight to reach the same target audiences that every other mobile app in your competitive space probably targets? This is where the power of partnerships once again takes centerstage. Look to your partners to come up with innovative new ways to not only tap your known target audience, but perhaps find angles that you haven’t seen with their target audience. Or, partners may even spur interest from prospects outside of your traditional audience (which leads to a useful marketing exercise of rethinking whether who you thought was your target audience may, in fact, have been too limited, and your true target audience is actually far larger). By tapping into your partners’ audiences, you can reach entirely new markets.
- Breaking the value-cost trade-off. Throughout all of the above actions, aim to achieve differentiation and low cost simultaneously, instead of falling into the Red Ocean trap of “more value/higher cost” or “less value/lower cost”.
It’s time to make waves with your own Blue Ocean mobile partnership strategy
Partnerships represent an exciting opportunity, but it’s critical to be aware of the unique needs of a successful mobile partnerships play. To take full advantage of this Blue Ocean strategy and put the right tech in place to build your own, there are nine key capabilities to consider. (If you want to dive even deeper into the below, you can check out our full ebook.)
- APIs over SDKs. Choose API-based tracking solutions that will position you best for growth in the mobile partnership world.
- Simplified deep linking. Leverage a single link that can route your traffic to the most relevant place.
- Dealing with “app not present.” Optimize the user experience with deferred deep linking – even as the user passes through the black hole of the app stores.
- Deferred app install verification. Tie your acquisition payouts to in-app events that signal higher value traffic.
- Protection against install fraud. Be vigilant against bad actors who use a variety of techniques to falsify installs.
- Protection against install attribution fraud. Maintain a healthy program by keeping dishonest partners from falsely claiming credit for driving installs from others.
- Tracking with others. Employ tracking solutions that work well with the most common adjacent mobile technologies like MMPs and CDPs.
- Flexible contracting. Design contracts that incentivize not only in-app conversions but simultaneously drive installs (or vice versa).
- Cross-device insights. Ensure that you reward partners who add value to app conversions, even when the touchpoint occured on a different device.
When it comes to planning out a Blue Ocean strategy, it’s important to have a technology partner who can help you navigate the mobile app learning curve quickly and with ease. With the right mobile partnership solution, you gain the unique capabilities needed to support the full potential of a mobile partnerships Blue Ocean strategy.
Stay tuned for the next exploration of the Blue Ocean, where you’ll learn exactly how and why Blue Ocean strategies work, along with the key actions you can take now to build out your own strategy.
Can’t wait to take a deeper dive? Ask a growth technologist to help kickstart your app marketing strategy by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read part three in our deep dive into Blue Oceans and mobile partnerships.