My question is do we need to pay for a marketing team when the team already contains a group of competent marketing majors from my university.
As others have stated, this heavily depends on what they are really bringing to the table. Success here will rely on two things:
Surely your team has some time and some expertise, so there are a lot of partial solutions (which others have suggested). There are a few questions you can ask yourself.
Further we have the university system as the base to validate our concepts before we move to the larger population as a whole.
Why would I pay someone to do something that we can already do on Twitter, Instagram, Google search.
There's a lot more to marketing an app than just posting on social platforms and some SEM. What you'd be paying for is either:
This is my initiation into this market so i'm sure you are sensing some naivety but I am quite confident in the capital conservative approach since I believe the app will spread like wildfire anyways from word of mouth.
Since you are early in the process of proving out the market, being conservative makes a lot of sense. However, in my experience, strategies that consist of "it doesn't matter if we market because this will just go viral" are almost always doomed to failure. You are basing the entire success of your product on a "wish," and have no actual plan to make it happen.
Viral campaigns almost never happen on their own, and they take an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes crafting, management and influencing. I'm not saying it can't happen, but if you don't actually have a strategy to enable, promote, and guide your new community to promote your product for you, they aren't going to go very far on their own. Word of Mouth marketing can do wonders, but it isn't hands-off.
- How will people share (in app, FB, social groups, etc)?
- Who will they share with (are you building a community in the app, sharing to FB/Twitter friends, to phone contacts, etc)?
- What elements in the app reward and incentivize sharing?
- Will you onboard referrals differently?
- Sharing among "regular" people generally has so little influence that it'll almost never reach critical mass. How will you identify major influencers and turn them into evangelists to share to many people very quickly and enough to spread elsewhere?
- What message/branding do you want them to share (are they promoting a feature of the app, sharing because of your company story, etc) and how will they get that message (are you using rich sharing elements like twitter cards that can include video, image, or other elements. What does your invitation email say? What does the onboarding process look like for them)?
- How does the "viral" and sharing parts of your campaign support other marketing elements, and vice-versa.
"I'm quite confident in [not spending money] since I believe the app will spread like wildfire due to word of mouth."