One of my themes on this blog has been, “You need to spend on marketing if your web app is going to succeed”. There are exceptions to every rule, and these exceptions are most often the “Success Stories” that get press. This does would-be (naive?) entrepreneurs a disservice in my opinion because it sets false expectations for people building and releasing new tools.
Ryan Carson – who is almost single handedly trying to dispell these kinds of mistruths with his Bare Naked App project – just posted a piece that describes some of his growing pains with Amigo and how he is coming to the realization that spending on marketing may be necessary. It’s a good read and the comments are interesting too.
I replied and said this:
Great post…I think a lot of web app developers will be wrestling with the question of “how much to spend on marketing” over the next few years and I think that is only a sign that the web app space is growing up a little…and that’s a good thing.
Here is a post I wrote a while back that touches on the fact the you need to spend:
So, if you want to bootstrap and grow organically (which is a wonderful way to run your own business, it just takes a little longer than the traditional VC route of FAST, FAST, FAST), then challenge is finding your balance between spending and not spending on marketing. It’s a tough balance, but definitely something you will need to put some thought into as more and more apps are released and things get crowded.
I also touched on some of these things in a Work Happy interview here:
Probably worth a look for anyone starting a web app.
This trend is something that was inevitable and it is something I touched on a while back in my From the Web 2.0 Trenches: How to Build Real Businesses post/essay last November.