After deciding to go all in on launching Chore-inator, we knew we needed to get in front of people, face to face, and in large numbers so we started looking at opportunities to attend or exhibit at relevant industry conferences. We had a few requirements in mind to help us with the goals of our overall marketing plan mentioned in Stumbling Through the World of App Promotion – Part One when researching.
- Timing – the Universal port of Chore-inator must be complete
- Low registration cost
- Minimal booth cost
- Consumer audience
- Influencer audience
- National and local media presence
- Networking opportunities within consumer app industry
The process of choosing where to exhibit begin last summer while Chore-inator was still in development yet far enough along to be able to show some of the major features.
It’s going to take a lot of sales at $2.99 to make a living off of Chore-inator let alone recoup our investment so we first looked into influencers of moms and dads, influencers with a wide reach. Who else than mom/dad/parenting bloggers. Why wouldn’t they want to share this awesome new product that turns a crazy chaotic home full of kids into one of peace and serenity and perfect order? (You gotta see the trailer video!). They would become every parents hero and we would be on our way to the dream beach house. Right? Not so fast…
Mom and Dad Bloggers
Since we did not know any mom/dad bloggers, we decided to attend a couple of conferences first. We picked one smaller event and one larger event, both were within driving distance. Our goal was to meet the bloggers, understand them, get to know how they work and what motivates them, all in order to figure out if the parent blogger community is a good channel for promoting Chore-inator.
What we learned is that the mom/dad blogging community is a bit tricky. I will spare the unsettling details for another post. Suffice to say that you can’t put bloggers in a box and finding the right ones to work with will be a long process, mostly because it’s mainly pay to play and often the line between editorial and paid for content is blurred, which is something we are not willing to compromise on. While we continue to build out this channel, exhibiting at a blogger conference is not a good fit.
- Timing. There are plenty of conferences throughout the year.
- Depending on the conference, attendance is 100-1000 bloggers. Some with a large reach.
- Expensive. $5000-$125000 for one of the larger conferences. Way outside of our budget.
- Of the 100-1000 bloggers, only a subset will have a large reach and only a subset will be app savvy.
- We need to create all marketing materials for the booth.
- While parents attend, they are there as bloggers first.
- Almost all bloggers are trying to land big brands like Disney, who have deep pockets. $$ talks.
No national or local media. No networking with other app developers.
Another market that both Home Inventory and Chore-inator resonate well with is professional organizers. I am involved with our local Richmond chapter of The National Association of Professional Organizers, so have experience with and understand this market better than the mom/dad bloggers. We have had some success. Again, it is about finding the right organizers to work with. The ones who are app savvy and communicate with a large online following are awesome. And most organizers understand that using and recommending a good product that can help their clients adds credibility to their own business.
NAPO has an annual conference that attracts organizers worldwide. However intriguing, after looking at the cost as compared to the other requirements for exhibiting, we felt that this was not a good option for us either.
- Timing is good as the annual conference is in May.
- Though at the top end of our budget, we could make the exhibit fee of $2500 work.
- Roughly 1000 organizers attend.
- Sponsorship, swag bad inserts, and other upgrades $2000-$17000 each.
- Of the roughly 1000 organizers, only a subset will have a large reach and only a subset will be app savvy.
We need to create all marketing materials for the exhibit booth.
- No consumer attendees.
- Only a subset of organizers focus on technology to help get organized.
- No local or national media presence.
- Networking with other developers is limited to Evernote. It seams every app savvy organizer endorses Evernote. We need some of that secret sauce!
The last option we explored is Macworld/iWorld. We’ve been talking about going to Macworld for years but to be honest, we were worried about the cost and after Apple pulled out and the conference became smaller, we weren’t sure it was the best fit for us.
What we found is that Macworld/iWorld is still a large conference, especially when compared to more niche industries, and is more consumer focused. And they now offer an opportunity for small independent app development companies like ours the ability to exhibit their apps as part of the Appalooza section in the exhibit hall. It’s a small kiosk, no booth setup or build costs needed or extra cost for art work, electrical, or display equipment. Brilliant!
Macworld/iWorld also provided a number of free promotional opportunities. Did I say FREE? Yes! They get it. They not only want to attract exhibitors, they want to attract consumers and what better way to attract consumers than to show off the latest and greatest in the market? It’s a win/win.
One opportunity that was attractive to us was their First Looks program. If your product was released within the last 6 months it could be considered for this. If accepted, it would be promoted on the First Looks wall at the entrance to the show for all to check out as they head to their destinations. A subset of the products included in the First Looks would then be picked to participate in an invitation only media event the day before the conference, the Pre-Show Innovation Showcase.
- Low cost to entry – Kiosks for Appalooza cost $900-$2200.
- Marketing assets for the Kiosk are included.
- 25,000 attendees expected. But not sure how many are parents.
- Influencers consist of media and consumer parents.
- 550+ National and local media expected.
- Appalooza is filled with small and large app development companies which offers a chance to network with other companies like ours.
- Free promotional opportunities if your product is chosen.
- Travel cost in time and money to and in San Francisco.
Since we planned to complete the universal port of Chore-inator about the same time frame as Macworld/iWorld, to be considered for one or both of these free events was a very attractive option for us. At the end of the day, Macworld/iWorld was our best opportunity, to not only exhibit Chore-inator but to officially launch Chore-inator.
Tips when choosing your event:
- Know your event budget, target audience, and goals early in the development cycle.
- When calculating cost, make sure to look at the fine print. Most often things like electricity, internet, furniture, decorations, or equipment are extra.
- If you are still unsure about an event, see if you can attend first. Pick local to keep the cost down.
- Choose an opportunity that coincides with a major release or update of your app.
- Look for free opportunities surrounding the event.
Next post – Launching Chore-inator at Macworld/iWorld.