How to design an app, or a marketing campaign, or a business plan, or write a novel…

Otherwise known as, “Everything I needed to know in life, I learned in English Class.”

I am an English Major; some people see this as a degree in reading a lot of books and writing poetry (or essays).  I have sometimes made fun of it by saying it’s a degree in Professional BS: come up with stuff that sounds smart real fast. However, I have discovered that the basic, but often overlooked, skills of an English degree are data analysis and communication.  We take in massive amounts of data, cleverly disguised as characters and plot twists; analyze for patterns, significance, etc; strip down to the essentials; extrapolate applicable meaning; then massage and process that meaning into something easily digestible by the masses (or our professors).

What does this have to do with mobile?  Well, here’s the trick.  Whenever you sit down to write an essay, or a research paper, or a Post-Victorian romantic novel, you start with three basic questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is your idea (thesis)?
  • Why does your audience care (how will you  make them care)?

If you can’t answer these questions, you’ve failed before you began.

Guess what?  Designing a mobile app starts with the same three questions.
  • Who is your user?
  • What is the core functionality (basic idea) of your app?
  • Why does your user care? How does it help them?
Writing a business plan?  Same thing.
  • Who is your customer?
  • What is your product?
  • Why will your customer buy your product?
Designing a marketing campaign?  You got it!
  • Who is the target market?
  • What is the message?
  • Why does the target customer care about the message (why will they pay attention)?
This past year I’ve taken MCDM classes in business, marketing, and now app design.  While I’ve learned lots of amazing things, the overall top takeaway has been this idea.  Every endeavor starts with these questions, and these questions have to be answered from all sides of the equation: the business model, the marketing strategy, and the product design.  Fortunately, after a rigorous career as an English Major, I think I can handle that.
What do you know? Being an English Major turned out to be handy after all.   Now I just need to figure out the plot for my novel… (btw, that’s question two.)

3 thoughts on “How to design an app, or a marketing campaign, or a business plan, or write a novel…

  1. Great insights, Bizzy! After reading this post, I found out that we actually took many same classes over the past three quarters, didn’t we? haha. When you got those essential questions to start with, you will find that there are more things to break down. But basically its all about get the right people the right thing by using a right way.

  2. Great job distilling the approaches down. It almost makes me think that, as humans, we are wired to want to know these things. Is there a psychologist or neuroscientist in the house?

    • An observation worthy of a literature class. That’s actually the whole point of almost everything in English; what write, whatever it is, reveals things about ourselves and our world view. Patterns, therefore, reveal things about groups of people and a cultural worldview/need/etc. As an audience member for any of these projects, we want to know:
      – Is this intended for me? Do I belong or have I been included in this group?
      – What is it? (and yes, this questions is often secondary to whether we belong in the audience.)
      – Do I really want to be in this group, or do I care enough to stay?

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