Today, the gold standard for a successful digital marketing campaign is manufacturing virality and getting plenty of buzz.

Unfortunately, says Rameet Singh Chawla, founder of mobile app development agency Fueled, there’s no straightforward way to do this intentionally. So instead, you should just focus on building a really killer product.

“You can hire a PR firm or reach out to bloggers on your own to get the word out, but true excitement about a product occurs after something great is built and presented in a way that’s relatable,” he adds.

Rameet recently checked in with us to talk about Fueled, home-screen-worthy apps, and marketing strategy dos and don’ts for developers.

Tell us about Fueled … what services do you offer?

Fueled is a mobile app development agency and design incubator recognized for its mobile and web technology products. With teams of designers, developers and strategists based in New York, Chicago and London, Fueled creates intuitive and innovative user interfaces, helping both startups and enterprise clients turn their ideas into functioning apps.

In 2013, Fueled established The Collective, a shared working space for over 30 of New York City’s most innovative startups located in SoHo, Manhattan. We offer the usual services — WiFi, delicious coffee, an ice cream cart, and all the candy and coconut water one’s heart could desire.

Who should be using these services?

We work with budding startups and enterprise clients on everything under the umbrella of product, design and development. Whether a potential client comes to us with a fully fleshed out business plan or a single sentence pitch, we’ll consider taking on the project if we are able to align ourselves with their vision.

That being said, we challenge all assumptions by asking questions such as: Does this idea make sense? How will this idea be successful? Why will someone care about it? Fueled is a product-focused company and whether we’re working with startup or enterprise clients, that focus never changes.

You say you build the kind of apps that people move to their home screen … so what are those kind of apps? What makes an app home-screen worthy?

At Fueled, we use an intentional “utility-first” approach throughout all of our projects. Companies large and small approach Fueled with a specific problem to solve, and we develop the most straightforward solution while incorporating thoughtful designs to bring the idea to life. Apps that provide everyday utility paired with an elegant design are the ones that make it to the home screen.

What kind of apps are the most likely ones to be deleted?

There are a spate of marketing-driven apps that we refer to as “DSD” — or “Download Smile Delete” — apps. These apps may make an initial splash via clever PR or influencer-driven virality, but they’re then quickly abandoned.

The benefits of letting marketing drive your product are alluring. But as soon as the spotlight fades, you’re likely left with an expensive app and a handful of lonely users. The model only works when there’s real utility alongside a marketing strategy that drives downloads; that’s why we aim to build true utility first and incorporate marketing at a later stage as a means of user acquisition and increased conversion.

What are some of the most exciting or innovative apps you’ve come across (or helped develop) recently?

A couple exciting apps we’ve done recently include KeyMe, Amigo, and Afterlight.

KeyMe lets users scan keys and then order new ones right from a kiosk. It uses complex algorithms and intelligent technology to convert photographs into digital versions of keys. Our focus was to utilize this technology in creating a simple and intuitive user experience.

Afterlight was also an exciting and unique app for us to build. After skyrocketing to the top of the Apple App Store’s charts, Afterlight tapped Fueled to recapture lightning in a bottle for their Android version, and that’s just what we did.

Recently, we just released Amigo, an event app that allows you to casually plan events with your friends. It’s unique in the sense that it’s less formal than a Google calendar invite, but more deliberate than just texting a friend about dinner plans.

In terms of other innovative apps, Spring is an ecommerce app that lets you seamlessly shop on your phone from a carefully curated community of brands. The app is elegant, and it makes the ecommerce experience easy.

I’m also always interested in improvements in email, since it’s an ongoing battle trying to tame my inbox; so I’ve been trying out Inbox by Gmail recently. I’ll be publishing an article on Forbes as part of our “Fueled Fix” series that analyzes the pros and cons of Inbox.

Where do you start when developing a marketing strategy for the apps you create?

While the core product should be a startup’s biggest focus, a company can’t grow on a great product alone. Start marketing your product from an early stage; think through your marketing strategy carefully, considering your short- and long-term objectives. What’s perhaps most impactful is to develop a community of early adopters during your beta and testing phases who will support you and spread the news when your app launches publicly.

What type of research do app developers need to do about their target audience when figuring out how to market their product?

It’s important to identify your target audience early on. In addition to traditional demographic data, it’s critical to gather lifestyle data, which tracks consumers’ opinions, activities and interests. With your target audience in mind, you’re able to foster an early adopter community to test your MVP and gather the necessary data to improve your product. While this first market may be relatively small, the individuals in this group will be significantly more likely to install your program and use the app on a more consistent basis. Most importantly, they will become much-needed word-of-mouth marketers for your product.

What unique considerations do app developers need to keep in mind when marketing their apps?

The most successful apps to ever be downloaded via the App Store are designed so that users are intrinsically encouraged to invite their friends to download and join.

Once an app is launched, it’s important to remember that there are several steps toward onboarding a new user. Unlike web marketing — where you simply need to drive users to your website and gain a single conversion — apps require users to visit a website, download the product, go through a sign up process, and then become a retained user.

Because this is a longer cycle with a much higher threshold to get an individual onboarded, it may require several impressions via traditional online advertising or media-driven publicity. A built-in sharing mechanism or an app that’s designed with user retention in mind will often be more important to an app’s success than any marketing tactic. This is one of the reasons why peer-to-peer sharing and virality are so important in the app marketing space.

In addition, factors as simple as the price or name can have overarching effects on the ability to successfully market an app.

What are some of your favorite marketing tools?

The tools I use vary depending on the goals or tactic that we’re using. Some favorites include:

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