At an event designed specifically for startups, David Truong teamed up with Cyril Gaillard and David Chiapoco to create an app to help young kids do better at maths.
Broccol-E-Games is an educational app development business born out of a Startup Weekend event that took place in Melbourne. The result of the three co-founders’ collaboration at the event was ‘Math with Springbird’, an app that takes visual cues from Angry Birds to help young kids learn how to solve basic maths problems.
As most of the design and development of the app was done in-house, the co-founders were able to spend much more time focusing on marketing and market research.
“So far we’ve only been doing grassroots-type marketing – trying to keep our costs really lean, whether that be on Facebook, or joining certain groups,” says David Truong.
“Our approach to marketing is focused on parents and teachers; getting in contact with parents and teachers on Facebook. We’re also finding blogs and communities online, interacting on there, and chatting to them. There’s a lot of review sites out there that have mothers that are reviewing apps, so we got in contact with them and got their feedback on the app.”
A major challenge in the marketing of the business has been finding a way to get a broader appeal than the Apple App Store and grassroots marketing methods allow.
“With the App store, because you’re selling the app for $3-4, you can’t spend maybe a dollar or two dollars on a Google SEM ad, because it’s not worth it,” explains Truong. “So our marketing is mainly focused on organic growth – rather than putting up a billboard, we’d get in contact with certain ‘ambassadors’ in the schools and parent groups, and they’ll end up sharing with their friends and family.”
Truong’s main piece of advice for shoestring startups is to be careful to avoid traditional small business costs unless you can be sure that they’re absolutely necessary.
“Don’t follow the traditional marketing mechanisms if you can’t measure them, because quantifying ROI, especially for an early-stage start up, is one of the most important things,” he says. “If you’re Nike or Coca-Cola, you can spend money on brand awareness, but as a startup, you don’t have that luxury.”