Marketing Observations: Why People Pay Ten Dollars for an App

March 27th, 2014
flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY license

flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY license

One of my colleagues, who religiously shops at dollar stores, purchased a $10 app, PYKL3 Radar, for his phone, a move I thought almost out of character for someone of his shopping habits. As someone who resolutely downloads only free apps, I was intrigued.  What does PYKL3 – and other apps – have going for it, and how could that be applied to overall marketing and PR lessons in general?

Fit a niche interest

PYKL3 is a weather radar app. My colleague is planning to be in Kansas in early May, and with tornado season in full swing at that point, he wants to keep track of storms. He also has some personal interest in tornadoes, and while he isn’t a storm chaser, the app caters to one of his niche interests.

An app or service that fits into a niche can help draw more interest, and targeting a niche audience with narrower marketing not only hones brand focus, but helps foster brand loyalty, which can help brands fare better when they premier an expanded product line.

Fit more than one niche

Another way more people pay for apps? It fits in more than one niche. In the case of PYKL3, it fits into several niches: people who live in areas prone to dangerous storms, people visiting areas prone to dangerous storm, emergency responders, and storm chasers.

Marketing to one niche can help build interest, but catering to multiple select niches with overlapping interest can really elevate your brand. If your service appeals to more than one niche, that will again assist your brand in eventually reaching beyond the niche.

Be so useful that the cost makes the price worth it

When you’re planning to drive down a turnpike during tornado season, there’s a major safety factor, so for my colleague, PYKL3 is so useful that the $10 price seems low compared to what the cost could be (like an untimely confrontation with a funnel cloud).

The price of something is just the dollar amount consumers pay, but the cost is what they stand to lose in time, efficiency, or health. Creating a service that people need and pricing it so that the cost of not having it is greater than having it makes the service justifiable and even necessary.

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