RWDevCon 2016 Inspiration Talk – The Weird and Wacky World of App Marketing by Jeremy Olson

Apple Design Award winner Jeremy Olson shares how he made the journey from app maker to marketer and reveals the secrets he has learned marketing Tapity’s top apps. By Christine Sweigart.

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Note from Ray: At our recent RWDevCon tutorial conference, in addition to hands-on tutorials, we also had a number of “inspiration talks” – non-technical talks with the goal of giving you a new idea, some battle-won advice, and leaving you excited and energized.

We recorded these talks so that you can enjoy them, even if you didn’t get to attend the conference. Here’s our next talk – The Weird and Wacky World of App Marketing by Jeremy Olson – I hope you enjoy!


Note: The audio is missing for the first 20 seconds.

Let’s talk about getting featured.

A lot of people say, that getting featured is about luck; you kind of get lucky. I don’t agree with that.

I think that getting featured is something that’s repeatable, it’s something that you can do again and again and that you can learn how to do. That’s because every app that I’ve released has been featured, both by Apple and the press.

So what is the key?

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Let’s go through a few candidates:

Build a great product, so that’s the easy one. The one that everyone’s going to say, you need to build a great product that has great design, that solves a real problem.

That’s very true, if you don’t then you’re not going to get featured, so that’s true.

Here’s another one: localize. Something interesting, a really interesting data point, I just launched an app last Friday, which I was not planning to do right before this conference but it turned out that way. It’s been getting lots of downloads lately because of the launch, but I looked at the numbers and guess what percentage came from the US? It was just 15%.

A lot of that was because we had localized the app, so we were getting featured in app stores across the world. You might not get a homepage feature or even the press talking about you, but you still have a chance to get featured all over the world. We’re in a global marketplace, so localize your app.

  1. Here’s another candidate: utilize new technologies and solve trending problems. Apple loves it when apps use their latest technologies and you’re more likely to get featured. Also trending problems, so you know there’s something going on in the industry and your app addresses that. The press loves that stuff, they eat it up. So that’s another candidate.
  2. Another candidate is make a big marketing splash. You’re building up buzz over time, this is something I talk about a lot. It’s actually in Ken’s book, he’s going next, the Marketing Crescendo. How do you build up to your launch and have a lot of buzz and come out with a big splash? When you do that, you do your own job at marketing, then the press and Apple are just going to make a bigger wave for you. That’s true too.
  3. Let’s talk about another candidate: create great looking screenshots and helpful press kit. This is a practical one, yeah you need to do this. If you don’t do this you’re probably not going to get featured.

What’s Really the Key?

These are all important, but they’re not the key. The key that I want to talk about is one word.

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I’m going to give you one word right away; first let’s talk about Star Wars. This is actually really relevant – I didn’t just throw this in to mention Star Wars! (Well, I might have.)

The moral of Star Wars: what is it?

If you analyze it, I think everyone would agree that the empire is trying to re-brand themselves but they’re having setbacks blowing up planets and stuff. They have some major PR problems. Everybody thinks about this empire like this black box, they’re not relatable. The storm troopers, you can’t even see their face! That’s a problem.

The moral of Star Wars is that you need to go deeper. You need to see behind the mask, see who these people are. These are real people with feelings, with hopes, with dreams and they’re people just like us, right? What you really need to do is get to know them a little bit. That’s the moral of Star Wars.

What is the key? The key to getting featured is people.

What about TechCrunch?

Now that seems really simple, but let me explain. When you think of TechCrunch, what do you think about? What comes to your mind?

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Is it the big conferences they hold, is it the craziness of being on TechCrunch? What is it that you think of?

Well when I think of TechCrunch I think of the people I know at TechCrunch, the inside of TechCrunch. Who are the people that make TechCrunch, TechCrunch? Sarah Perez is one of them, Matthew Panzarino is the editor of TechCrunch. I’ve gotten to know them over the years.

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Those are the people that I think of when I think of TechCrunch. You’re not going to get featured unless you get featured by real people. You’re not trying to get featured by TechCrunch, what you need to start thinking about is:

  • how do I make something that will appeal to
  • how do I really get to know

these great people who are in our industry? Actually they’re really fun to know. So, that’s the key.

What about Apple?

What comes to your head when you think of Apple? Maybe it’s their cool new campus coming out, their sleek devices or mistakes. When we think of Apple, they actually haven’t helped with this image that they’re this black box, you cannot get access to, it’s so hard to get in touch with a real human being.

When I think of Apple, I think about the people of Apple.

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I made sure that I protect my contacts there. I’m kidding, these aren’t my contacts. But there’s people at Apple and that’s who you need to get the attention of. They have goals, they have careers and they want to do their job really well.