Successful apps rarely get to where they are without a little outside help.
Take Slack, for example.
The wildly popular messaging service wanted to develop a better work collaboration platform. But they knew they couldn’t do it alone.
partnered with the design agency MetaLab to help them come up with the right UX design and branding for the app.
And they delivered in spades—Slack is now a billion-dollar company.
That’s the power of consulting. It could take a promising app idea and make it fulfill all of its potential, and more.
Unsure yet if consulting is right for you? Here are some reasons you might need it.
Doing market research for the app
Market research, a part of the
discovery phase, forms the foundation of your entire app development. Needless to say, it’s one of the most critical steps.
Understanding your target audience is a prerequisite for building a successful app.
It allows you to uncover your users’ pain points and goals so that you can create an app experience catered to those goals.
But basing your app’s core idea and marketing strategy on the
wrong assumptions is also one of the quickest paths to failure.
Indeed, it’s no surprise that a lack of market need is the number one reason startups fail.
Linda Grasso / CB Insights
The importance of market research cannot be understated. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult tasks to do.
market research takes time, effort, and skills to pull off. You don’t just release a survey and call it a day.
You must plan your study, pick the appropriate
research methods, and analyze the results.
Most companies, especially startups, usually don’t have the time or workforce to dedicate to these tasks.
On top of that, most market research methods cost a lot of money. Here’s a sample breakdown of the resources you’d need if you did it in Australia.
And you should see similar rates in other parts of the Western world.
If you’re paying high fees, you must ensure it’s giving you the insights you need. Hence, it’s critical to hire a consultant if you’re inexperienced.
A reputable consultant can help you gather data from your target users to get to know them better.
To do that, the consultant will perform thorough market research that tackles the four key areas of user data—
geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral.
Knowing these four segmentation types is important because it’s difficult to gather meaningful insights with just one of them.
For instance, let’s say you want to build a fitness app. How do you identify people who are into fitness?
You certainly can’t do it with geographic and demographic data alone.
After all, the desire to lead a healthy or active lifestyle spans multiple age groups, gender, countries, and income levels.
A better way would be to look at their psychographics—their interests, beliefs, and attitudes. You can also look at their behavior for clues.
If they already pay for a gym membership, chances are they care about fitness.
Aside from analyzing your users, a consultant can also help you do competitor research.
Looking at your competitors’ actions can be a gold mine of information. You’ll know what’s working in the real world (so you can improve on it) and what isn’t (so you can avoid it).
Best of all, it’s free—your competitors have already spent the time and money, so you won’t have to.
The bottom line is that market research is crucial to your app. If you had to hire a consultant for only one aspect of your development, this should be it.
Planning the mobile app strategy
Creating an app is relatively easy – anyone can do it. But a
successful app? That’s a different story.
It takes plenty of planning and brainstorming to develop an app with a powerful core idea, delightful user experience (UX), accessible user interface (UI), and effective monetization.
Not to mention the app needs to be as bug-free as possible.
That’s why one of the best things a consultant can provide is a solid mobile app strategy.
An app strategy is your roadmap during development. It tells you how you’ll approach everything, from app design to testing and launching.
Creating a plan alone can be difficult because there are many things to consider. Should you go
native or cross-platform?
What’s the merit of going with an
F-shape layout over a Z-shape pattern?
When is the best time to do
A consultant can give you direction and clarity. They can advise you on the best methods based on your project’s needs, budget, and situation.
Moreover, app development is riddled with obstacles and challenges that might not be apparent if you haven’t created one before.
Here are some examples:
A mobile app consultant has experience working with the entire app development cycle.
Hence, they know the roadblocks you’ll encounter and can devise an efficient plan to eliminate or minimize them.
For example, UX is one of the biggest contributors to an app’s success. One often-quoted statistic is that for every $1 spent on UX, you’ll get a return of $100.
Of course, the flip side is that bad UX can also derail your app.
A mobile app plan can help improve your UX with various methods. One is wireframing, which is a rough outline of your app.
The tool can help you test your app’s UI so that you can spot UX mistakes early.
However, one of the critical parts of a well-laid-out mobile app strategy is the
This short sentence encapsulates the biggest problem your app is trying to solve, how you’ll solve it, and why it will benefit your users.
In many ways, the problem statement is the heart of your entire app strategy. Everything you do must contribute to fulfilling it.
Another crucial aspect of a mobile app strategy is your technology stack. It’s important because it can affect your app’s stability, performance, and security. Let’s discuss that in the next section.
Selecting the right tech stack for the app
Your tech stack refers to the technologies you’ll use to build your app. These include your preferred programming language, third-party tools, frameworks, and services.
Tech stacks are important because they determine what your app can do.
For example, C++ is the preferred back-end language for financial apps because of its computational speed and efficiency.
That’s required for the intense data processing and number-crunching in most financial software.
However, your app’s tech stack is perhaps the most difficult aspect to determine without experience. That’s because it requires a high degree of technical knowledge.
How do you know whether Java is a better language to pick over Kotlin for your Android app?
Well, you need to know the strengths and limitations of each and match that with your project requirements.
Consultants can help you decide because they often have experience
using these tools, not just reading about them.
For example, if your focus is bringing your app to market faster, then Python is a great pick due to its ease of use and excellent debugging tools.
On the other hand, if security is your primary concern, Java would be a go-to choice.
Different programming languages will fit different use cases, as shown below:
Another difficult decision is whether to go native or cross-platform.
It’s critical because each approach has its tech stack. For instance, building a native iOS app requires Swift or Objective-C.
On the other hand, cross-platform development uses different tools, like React Native.
Going with either native or cross-platform depends on several factors, including your project’s budget, timeline, and goals.
Consultants can consider these and advise you on the best approach.
But arguably, the most important tech stack decisions are security-related. Let’s discuss why that’s the case and how a consultant can help.
Improving mobile app security
Everyone knows that security is a crucial aspect of any modern app.
That’s because malicious attacks are widespread in our world today.
ransomware costs businesses $20 billion worldwide. And this figure is expected to rise to $265 billion by 2031.
Even big businesses aren’t safe from cyber attacks. In March 2021, computer giant Acer was hit by a ransomware attack.
It cost the firm $50 million—the largest ever paid to a ransomware demand.
And that’s just the beginning. You also need to worry about other attacks like phishing and malware.
Indeed, security is so crucial that attempting it on your own without proper expertise is risky. You might end up having vulnerabilities in your app that attackers can exploit.
What’s more, hackers get more and more sophisticated every year. You need to keep up if you want your app to remain secure.
A consultant with cybersecurity experience can do this for you.
They can advise you on the must-have protocols to implement in your app, such as
biometrics, two-factor authentication (2FA), encryption, and more.
However, any good consultant will also tell you that security shouldn’t be limited to the app itself. You should also consider the ecosystem the app occupies.
For this, you need a framework called the
seven layers of cybersecurity. This framework considers all the elements in your app network you need to protect.
If you’re planning to create a fintech app, you must also be aware of financial regulations in your market.
These rules can often be complex, and you must work with a specialist who knows his way around them.
Hiring them might be an added expense, but the cost of violating these financial regulations will be much higher. So, bear that in mind.
However, you need to ensure your consultant is reliable when it comes to security. Checking their past projects and their certifications (if any) is a good practice.
Security is a critical component of your app, and you must ensure it’s working and updated. And the best way to do that is with a consultant.
Marketing the mobile app
“Build it, and they will come” is an often-heard phrase in business. It means that once you launch something great, people will automatically flock to you.
Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case in practice—especially with apps.
No matter how innovative your app is, you
must work hard to market your app to prospective users.
Easier said than done, however.
Marketing is a multifaceted discipline that involves many moving parts. Just look at the tactics involved in a typical app marketing plan.
What’s more, every marketing strategy requires specific skill sets. It’ll be nearly impossible to do all of it on your own.
Hence, a consultant is critical. They can help you build a marketing plan that fits your budget and market. They can also guide you with the specific strategies that will help you.
For example, one common approach is
app store optimization (ASO). This is where you tweak your Apple App Store or Google Play Store listing to get more visibility and downloads.
But more than marketing, the real value of a consultant is to help you track and measure your efforts.
That way, you’ll know which tactics are working, so you can dial them in and get more results.
Why you need a consultant more than ever
The truth is that anyone can create an app independently if they have enough time, money, workforce, and expertise.
But in today’s competitive market, not everyone has all four.
And that’s the value a consultant brings to the table. They can compensate for the resources you lack, so you can still deliver a quality app to market faster.
So, don’t shy away from hiring a consultant – even if you feel you don’t need one. Who knows, they might have a unique perspective to help your app succeed.
Need an app consultant? Consider DECODE.
We offer a free consultation session or two (fully NDA’d, of course!) to assess your project and determine what it needs to succeed.
Schedule a call with us today, and let’s get started!