Category Archives: product marketing

The lure of mobile apps

The internet is dead. Or rather, it has evolved and moved into the mobile world.

There was once a time when the idea of viewing a website or any online content on your mobile phone was an uncomfortable and unproductive experience. Not anymore. Today, if you website is not mobile friendly, you are in trouble.

Even if your site does not “look good”, if it is easily viewable on a mobile device, all is good.

But more and more businesses today are discovering the power of mobile apps. It does not take too much to get a simple app created. It can be for iOS (Apple’s iPhone range of products) or for Android. But the important thing is, if you have a simple app that your customers or even business partners can download, it can make doing business with you that much more attractive. After all, who would mind downloading a new app for their latest iPhone or their cool Samsung Note 3 or 4 or 5 for that matter!

But what should you put on the mobile app?

I have some ideas and you can add to them if you have more:

  • Interactive catalogue
  • Product update
  • Technology news specific to your industry
  • Ordering product
  • Shipment tracking
  • Help (product, service or even people directory)

Surely, there must be more!

Why Personal Video Conferencing Does Not Take Off?

I asked myself this question, about why personal video conferencing does not take off. Even at the Corporate level, it is not as common as faxes, email and telephone calls.

Actually, my answer is quite simple. Assuming that most people will have 3G, smart phones and so on, why don’t they use video? Well, the most obvious really, is the AUDIO part of things. We are all used to holding the phone to our ears to talk. But for Video Conferencing, the phone is held in front of us.

This brings up two possible issues:

1. We are not used to holding it in that position for a conversation
2. The phone is not against our ears, so its either a speakerphone or a ear-phone.

The first is easy. Do it often enough and it becomes normal. The second question is harder. Having wires dangling off the phone is not comfortable. Many people still do not use a ear piece and bluetooth seem to have some issues.

In the end, it is a matter of whether we are willing to change the way we work and live.

Any ideas?

Product Innovation: Get Out of The Box

Anyone who has ever done product management, product marketing or just tried to create their own product or services will understand the problem.

When people are used to doing something in a certain way, it is hard to change. It took almost 50 years for the Telephone to become accepted and used. When the PC first replaced the type writer, jokes of putting white-out on monitor screens abound.

Now, the problem is not just about people adapting to the product. Sometimes, in the product creation process, the creators themselves are stuck in a known paradigm. Then, it becomes a problem that grows in complexity. Why?

Within a fixed and known environment, there are rules and assumptions. Trying to do something different not only affects the thing that you are attempting to change, but will affect all the supporting elements surrounding it. It is hard to explain, but let me try to use this example of flying cars.

For many years, ever since the invention of aeroplanes, there have been dreams that one day, there will be a flying car. So, designers have been trying to create just such a product. Cars with capabilities of an aeroplane, to fly. Aeroplanes with the capability of cars, to be driven on roads. Some created a helicopter modification.

You see, these creators are now stuck in the following boxes: car, flying, aeroplanes, helicopter.

What happens next is predictable. Aviation rules need to be explored. Traffic jams are bad, but at least, we can wait it out. Aerial traffic jams would be disastrous, even if the flying cars could hover. In fact, now, we can have “traffic accidents” in all three dimensions. The entire concept is mired in a lot of other issues

This is what I was talking about when you try to innovate a product. By creating a product innovation, you turn the entire eco-system upside down. Nothing that supports the proper functioning of the system (road transportation) will work because a fundamental has been changed.

One method of breaking out of the box is to take a daring step and be “silly”. For example, all the innovation so far have been focused on the car – to make it fly. Frankly, that is no longer a challenge. Personal flying is already possible. Small tiny personal planes. But they do not “replace” the car in the way envisioned. So, to get out of the box, let us imagine that we now innovate… the road.

How about that? Change the concept of “air traffic lanes” and make them literal?

My simple take: road with electro-magnetic fields, cars with corresponding capbilities and you get floating cars. Multi-tier the roads, adapt the concepts of on-ramp and off-ramps and you can have a much more complex “road” system. Car parks of course will have to adop similar changes.

Of course, this is a silly idea as it will entail billions of dollars. But it is possible.

My point is, sometimes, solutions outside the box are dismissed because people take one look at it and say:

1. That is silly
2. That looks like a railroad (or whatever is equivalent in each scenario)
3. That is not as good a solution

But mostly, we are trapped in our own little boxes. So, want to be the next Alex Bell, Bill Gates or the Wright Brothers… then dare to be “silly”.

Have a fantastic new year in 2009!

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Do you know what your Product Experience is?

I read a really excellent article over at Marketingprofs.com and it really struck a chord with me. I have always like the idea of a Product Experience, or a user experience tied to the use of a product. But many companies seem to miss the point.

They focus on “userability studies” and have a slew of technical tests. But these are simply technical measurements that does nothing for the user unless there is an overall experience tied to it.

The article was about “How Packaging Your Offering Enhances Your Brand” by Anthony Cirillo and it really is about why some companies are able to sell their products/services at a “higher price”.

Those who understand the concept of “selling the experience”, understands that when you purchase a product or service, it is not just the here and now or the physical product that you hold in your hands. You see, when you buy an ice cream, it is not just the brand you are buying – Is it the flavor? How about because you liked the kid behind the counter?

As you walk down the street, which ice cream stall would you stop at on a hot summer’s day? Heck, which one will you stop at in winter?

As Anthony mentioned in his short article, the overall experience that a user has with your product will determine his overall satisfaction. You may have the best brand, the best flavors, the most attractive booth and the lowest price; but if your staff give service with a snarl, how long do you think your ice cream stall will be there?

It is no longer enough to talk about Product Marketing, but we need to be aware of Experience Marketing and how the overall user experience factor into your product. I know of companies who rest on their “product excellence” laurels and fail to understand this. Don’t be one of them.