Roger Wong is CEO of Dream N Act Company Limited, a golf product manufacturing company based in Hong Kong. I wanted to talk with Roger because of his early use of the Apple iTunes App Store to support his Drivemate Pro golf training aid.
Given Roger’s location and the crowded market for golf training aids he was looking for a way to stand out from the crowd. When the app launched it was the only app to utilize the iPhone’s accelerometer to provide feedback to the golfer.
The goal was to create market awareness for the release of their training aid.
The result: 5,000 downloads in 4 months and market research that was instrumental in improving their product plan. Not a bad $4,000 investment.
My interview with Roger provides a more detailed account:
Why did you decide to develop iDrivemate?
For two reasons:
- Because the Drivemate Pro is very unique, and we didn’t see similar marketing examples for similar products, we thought it would build awareness in advance of releasing the training aid.
- iDrivemate is designed to provide feedback for both bad and good shots and we learned two things. One is that the players preferred to be told what they were doing right, rather than wrong. It was discouraging to players and they became frustrated and lost in what they are doing wrong. Second, we found that most players weren’t reading the instructions very carefully so we are re-writing the manual to simplify and clarify the instructions.
Did you see others using an app as a marketing tool?
At the time there was no one releasing apps in support of a product. iDrivemate was one of the first, or certainly the first in golf. When it came to golf instruction the other apps were more like videos or books. Again, we made use of the iPhone’s accelerometer.
Did it increase sales?
Drivemate Pro is still being refined at teaching academies in the U.S.
What about a paid version?
We developed iDrivemate to help golfers understand certain basic fundamental of golf swing principals and to support the sale of Drivemate Pro. It would be a totally different plan if we were to add some entertainment elements to the game and try to charge for it.
How did you find your iPhone App developer?
I knew a programmer. But the harder work was designing how the game should work, taking pictures and getting the graphics prepared. The programming was easy in comparison. I spent a lot of time working with Pros in the U.S. and Hong Kong.
But now, compared to a year ago, it is relatively easy to find a programmer and much less expensive. I believe the same program would cost about $1,000 today compared to $4,000 a year ago.
Have you marketed the app outside iTunes and your own website?
During the development process we decided to offer non-competing golf companies a chance to include their logo in the app. Participation was voluntary and we just hoped they would do the same for us by telling more people about iDrivemate. I saw many of them sending out emails and posting something on their website which definitely promoted the app. I was very pleased with the results and I think they were too.
What about versions for other mobile phone operating systems like Android or Symbian?
With Apple’s iPhone, all the phones have built-in accelerometers. Other mobile phone platforms have accelerometers but not on all models. This creates a marketing challenge because you have to find a way to tell people your app works only on certain Blackberry phones or certain Android phones.
How many downloads in the US vs. the rest of the world?
About 80% of the downloads are from the US. Other countries include the UK, Australia and Sweden. So far we’ve had 5,000 downloads.
How long did it take to develop iDrivemate?
It was a three month development process.