I've built and published an iPhone app that I believe has a market potential. It needs exposure though. I'm an engineer and don't understand marketing very well. I'm thinking about partnering with a person or a company to have them market my app, with a condition that they'd get paid with a partial or even full revenue from the app sales for a period of time (e.g. 6 months). You can assume that the initial sales are negligible. So the money made by this person/company would directly depend on how well they market the app.
Is this a reasonable approach? Should it be modified in any way, and why? Where should I look for such a partner?
I am not a marketeer, but I suspect this approach would not be attractive to anyone who is actually capable of successfully marketing a product.
It's hard to give specific advice without knowing the type of app/target market, but take a look at how competitive products are being marketed, which might give you an idea on the basics.
The simplest thing you can do is:
I would add one more point: the time period selection. The "6 months" (or any other timing) is arbitrary. Even if you can base yourself on some averages for similar apps, it will still be an arbitrary guess - and it will be unsecure for both, you and your partner. Consider these possibilities for the sales from "D + 1 Day" to (let say) "D + 2years": a) Sales are linear. If the partner is happy with the 6 months of revenues then OK, it's a win-win solution. Probability: LOW
b) slow and gradual sales increase = less income at the beginning, higher later. Your partner will probably not be happy. Probability: higher than a)
c) the app creates buzz, immediately high revenues then buzz disappears. After 2 or 3 months, the app is on the road to the tomb... In this case it's you who will really not be happy... Probability: higher than a)
So as you can see, all these extremes are possible in this kind of arrangement. And if it's 3 months, 6 months or one week doesn't make a difference. It will change for every app but the final situation remains the same = Lottery. (OK, you may win but still, it's not a good idea to build a business partnership on lottery)
You can promote your app yourself.
There are a thousand and one good websites that can help you make the app known. Ad networks/PR websites, social bookmarking websites, app review websites, related forums, social media, thematic blogs, and more, and more. Write press releases about the app and submit them around the web, participate in discussions and react to the feedback.