Finding the Right Price - Marketing Mobile Software – Part II, Price

Price selection can be the most difficult and elusive part of marketing. How do you know if your selection is right? What happens if it is too low? What happens if it is too high? What if you need to change it? Is it possible to market to all types of customers—those who want cheap, those who will pay more, or those who won't buy if the price is too low? Sometimes pricing feels like a shot in the dark, but it really doesn't have to be that way. This post will explore different ways of pricing software applications, how to modify them if needed, and approaches for setting pricing tiers to ideally attract as many customers as possible.

What Would Make the AppStore Perfect

This past week we finally experienced the opening of the much touted Apple AppStore for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. The AppStore does a lot of things right that developers have been clamoring for: it puts software right in front of every iPhone consumer, it makes it super easy to purchase and install apps, and it makes the whole process accessible for the majority of developers (no more carrier intervention, for example). However, the AppStore is like any piece of 1.0 software—it has it's 'bugs' and exploitations that can only be discovered by massive usage and adoption. This post will note a few areas of needed improvement.

Summary of Palm OS Software Sales Poll

We recently conducted a poll as to why Palm software sales were down drastically in 2007. Here's a synopsis and editorial of the results:

The recent poll we conducted resulted in a two-way tie, with two very close second place finishers. Two additional third place selections followed very closely behind, nearly resulting in a six-way tie. These results are not surprising--too many factors have played a part in this story. I suspect it was difficult for one to choose just one main factor. All the results tell a story of how things went awry with the Palm OS.

Native OS Windows Mobile Tops Developer Survey

Windows Mobile 6.0 comes up highest in native mobile operating systems, according to a recent Evans Data survey reported at InfoWorld. A worldwide survey of 384 developers was conducted worldwide in May and June. Since the results add up to > 100%, respondents were able to select more than one answer.

Introducing Cory Pratt

Cory Pratt, Chief Technical Officer of Creative Algorithms, LLC, will also be contributing to our Mobile Evolution blog, so I would like to introduce him. I've added a section about Cory on the about page, where you can read about Cory's background and interests.

Cory has an upcoming post that will detail how to build a data backup system that is ideal for use by a microISV, such as ourselves, but has the ability to be scaled for larger operations.

Ed Colligan interview by APC

Finally some news from Palm about their roadmap. David Flynn of APC, an Australian computer magazine, recently conducted an interview with Palm's CEO, Ed Colligan.

A peek at Nova:

"Colligan speaks of this as being a “next-generation operating system with much more capabilities, driven around the Internet and Web-based applications”. "

He further discusses the Centro:

Perception is Reality. Why Palm OS software sales have plummeted in 2008

Palm OS software sales are dead. Most developers will tell you that at the end of 2007 their sales dropped below sustainable levels, even below levels where support is justified. Some developers responded by offering existing titles for free with no support, others have closed completely, while many are looking to port quickly to newer platforms with greater potential. However, according to the buzz online, Palm OS has been slowly dying for three or more years now. And Centro sales have hit one million. So why the sudden sharp drop in sales?

Why do you think Palm OS software sales have dropped dramatically in 2008?

Delay of new OS (Palm II/Nova) until 2009+.
11% (10 votes)
Uncertainty of backward compatibility of current apps with upcoming OS.
5% (5 votes)
Why buy software when the Palm OS (Garnet) will soon be obsolete?
10% (9 votes)
Centro is marketed to different users who don't buy software (or are uninformed).
13% (12 votes)
Carriers are discouraging software with warning messages.
2% (2 votes)
Perception that Palm Nova is vaporware and Palm will soon die out.
14% (13 votes)
Users only buy "Designed for Palm Products"-designated software now.
0% (0 votes)
Palm Gear closed, giving negative perception of Palm's future.
11% (10 votes)
No press on Palm Nova status. (i.e. No news is not good news.)
2% (2 votes)
Software market is saturated--no new users adding software, current users have all they want.
13% (12 votes)
Freeware choices are better than shareware/commercial.
2% (2 votes)
iPhone apps are coming.
14% (13 votes)
What? Software sales are normal.
4% (4 votes)
Total votes: 94

Quick Marketing Tip - Daily Deals with Bits du Jour

One way to market your software is to sign up for one of the daily deals sites. One site we've used in the past is Bits du Jour. They promote software with deep daily discounts. The software includes Windows applications and also mobile software and web applications. We have an upcoming promotion for Trip Boss on May 12, for 50% off.

The ESD Equation - Marketing Mobile Software – Part I, Distribution (Place)

Does it make sense to distribute your mobile software via the Electronic Software Distributors (ESD's)? Are the commissions too high to be worthwhile? Can listing be a win-win situation? Many blogs and developers have vented frustrations about commission rate increases at the ESD's, typically those run by Handango and Motricity. In some cases, commissions and fees have doubled from 25% to over 50% in the past five years. Many developers have packed their bags and delisted. Others refuse to start listing. On an emotional and moral principled level, not listing may be the right choice. But does it make sense from a business standpoint? Can we quantify the effects of listing, not listing, and the commission hikes? This post will discuss the numbers as related to increasing sales by using (or not) the ESD as a distribution and promotional tool.

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