Category Archives: Marketing

More on iPhone App Store Pricing

The conversations about the App Store and the drive towards 99-cent applications continues. Here are some more thoughtful posts:

And from 37Signals:

Ok, I lied. That last one isn’t about the App Store—at least not directly. ;-)

German Interview with Google’s Eric Schmidt

Google CEO Eric Schmidt sat down with the Frantfurter Allgemeine (FAZ.net) to discuss things mobile and social networks among other things.

On mobile:

Just take the success of the iPhone: It has the first really powerful web browser on a mobile device – and many more are still coming. Nokia has one coming, Blackberry has one and Motorola has one. They are all supposed to be released this year. By these products, the advertising gets more targeted because phones are personal. So targeted ads are possible. And that means the value of the ads will grow. The next big wave in advertising is the mobile internet.

On social networks:

MySpace did not monetize as well as we thought. We have a lot of traffic, a lot of page views, but it is harder than we thought to get our ad network to work with social networks. When you are in social network, it is not likely that you´ll buy a washing machine.

Some good stuff in there. I recommend the full article.

iPhone Owners Spend More Time on Phone For Things Other Than Voice

“A survey of 50,000 U.S. households conducted by iSuppli Corp. in the fourth quarter of 2007 found that iPhone users spent just 46.5% of their time on the device making calls, compared to 71.7% for the typical cell phone user. The rest of the time, they were reading and sending e-mail, browsing the Web and checking out Google Maps, among other tasks.”

Via BtoBOnline.com

Google = :CueCat? You call this news?

I had started a rant on the frustrating coverage that Google has started to include QR Codes in print advertising. CrunchGear, Read/Write Web and even one of my favorite bloggers, Joel Spolsky have jumped on a meme that Google’s inclusion of QR codes is the same as the failed :CueCat business model from the 90s.

Thankfully, the All on Mobile blog Read/Write Web’s own predictions for 2008 said highlighted used of QR codes. So one day the publication is calling QR Codes the future. A couple of weeks later, they’re ridiculing Google for using them.

Brand Affinity and Brand Fans

Everywhere I turn lately, there has been a discussion about brands and our relationship to them. One of the co-founders of Cloud Four, Lyza, wrote about Brand Affinity recently. My ex-coworker Chris Higgins picked up the theme on Mental Floss. Finally, Facebook’s recently unveiled its big advertising push with an emphasis on “Brand Fans” and “Fan-sumers.”

When Lyza and Chris write about their brand preferences, I find myself thinking that, yes, I indeed follow brands and buy brands. However, when I first read about Facebook’s new advertising plan relying on me declaring myself a fan of a brand, I laughed aloud. Yeah right, how many people are going to take the time to sign up to become a fan of Coke.

But if you read Jeremiah’s article on Facebook, he provides some convincing supporting data in support of Facebook’s brand pages. In particular, he points out that people trust the recommendations of friends and acquaintances more than any other source of information. Because of this fact, having your friends endorse a brand on Facebook would make a big difference in your decision-making.

The data is right. The conclusion is wrong.

Few people have blind loyalty when it comes to brands. I generally like Apple products (as do both Chris and Lyza), but I would never buy nor recommend that anyone buy an iTV. Because I generally like Apple products, I will look at their new products, but I don’t purchase them blindly.

And when I like something, I evangelize specific products, not the brand itself. I think this is true of most people whether we talk about Apple or Coca-Cola. People like specific products created by companies, not everything the company has ever done.

This is why I think Facebook is on the right track, but misguided in a fundamental way. They have taken a marketer’s approach to creating a relationship with brands when the real value comes from recommendations at the product or service level.

True Impact of TinyURL

Slashdot today has an article asking the question, “Do Tiny URL Services Weaken Net Architecture?” The argument in the Slashdot article is pretty hilarious (Short version: TinyURL goes down and the Internet crashes). Instead of chicken-little scenarios, let’s talk about the one significant way that the growth in TinyURL-like services is changing marketing.

Shorten url services are all the rage these days. The key factors in their popularity are the increase in mobile devices, especially text messaging services, and emerging technology like Twitter and Pownce. When people use these systems, a premium is placed on short messages. Shortening a url to save characters becomes a necessity.

The impact of use of TinyURL-like services is that it becomes much more difficult to track the conversation surrounding your company or product. Savvy marketers today have multiple searches set up to scour the web looking for urls that point to their web sites. However, when people use TinyURL and other services, links to your web site are impossible to detect because the TinyURL is random.

This makes it more critical than every to watch incoming referring urls to find Twitter references and other places linking to your site. My testing shows that the referring url will show up correctly in web analytics despite the use of TinyURL.

Analysis of iPhone Price Drop PR

Brian Solis has again posted an insightful examination of crisis communication. This time he has taken a look at the iPhone price drop, the customer outrage, and Steve Jobs’ brilliant open letter response. This is particularly timely because Apple today announced the details of the $100 store credit for early purchasers of the iPhone.

Brian’s article doesn’t cover the one question that I’ve wondered about since Steve’s open letter—would Apple have been better off having the store credit ready when announcing the iPhone price drop or not?

Most of the coverage has pointed out that Apple dropped the ball when the iPhone price cut was announced by not having a plan in place for early adopters. Yet after the uproar and subsequent Apple response, Apple is seen as a company that listens and responds to its consumers. And as Brian points out, the letter “turned a negative into a business and vision discussion about how the iPhone is going to capture significant market share.”

So my question to you (and particularly to Brian) is would Apple have been better off addressing this ahead of time or has their brand and corporate image improved more by responding successfully to the upset customers? If you were at Apple and you could turn back the clock and do it over, would you?

Applying a Social Computing Strategy to the entire Product Lifecycle

Jeremiah Owyang has published an exceptionally detailed article tracking the different ways to engage in social media during a product’s lifecycle.

The article has a raft of good ideas in it including this insightful quote:

1. Listening: The most important step
This is one of the biggest problems for communicators today, just like a real conversation, is learning to listen. Any savvy party goer knows to listen before jumping into a conversation at a cocktail party. Marketers, MarCom, Integrated Marketing, Advertising, PR, have forgotten (or never knew) that by listening to the needs of the market will help them to create more effective messages and then evolve into a conversation.

Listening is the most underdeveloped skill in business today. Whether it is listening to our customers or listening to our coworkers, finding people who can listen well is difficult.

Listening to a market is a different skill set (rss, bulletin boards) than listening in a meeting, but both rely on true listening—active listening.

Active listening requires you to not only have heard what is was said, but to listen intently enough that the people speaking know that you have heard and understood them. Only after someone knows that they’ve been heard will they be able to engage in a conversation.

In social media, it isn’t sufficient to simply monitor the conversations. You need to understand and internalize the values, concerns and fears of the people involved.

The first time that a marketer speaks in a social network, it will be readily apparent those involved in the network whether or not the marketer truly gets what they are about or not. Marketers need to take the time to listen and to make sure that when they engage in the conversation that their audience knows that they have been heard.

I was pleased that Jeremiah listed listening as the most very first thing on his list. The rest of the list is just as insightful so read the full article.