marketing

Twitter has a new analytics tool that lets you see how many people actually saw your tweets.  Danny Sullivan of Marketing Land reported that of his 390,000 followers, only 1.85% saw (not even necessarily read) a random tweet.  Ouch!

When we started feecha, one of the early decisions was what data to show users.  To be like YouTube, where you can see how many viewed a video; or to be like Instagram, where you have no idea how many actually saw a photo.

We decided to go the Instagram route because content creators need to feel like they’re being read to continue; once that illusion is gone, only the most strong-willed can keep going.  In the beginning, and especially with all that’s out there, most new start-ups will struggle getting engagement from users.  When the crowd is sparse, no news is better than bad news.  It’s better to keep your users guessing on how many they’re actually speaking to.

So why did Twitter make this kind of analytics tool available?  Advertising. I find advertisers’ interest particularly ironic; if they only knew just how many really saw their ads on TV or print…  390,000 Twitter followers sounds amazing, but it’s the 7,215 that actually matters.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the 1.85% seen ratio applies to TV ratings and print circulation numbers too.

You’re the most valuable technology company in the world.  What do you do?

  1. Launch a fashion accessory
  2. Extend from your core competency to a new, adjacent category
  3. Neither

How many raised their hands for 1?  Yet, that’s what a lot of smart people seem to be advocating for Apple and the iWatch.  Anthony Kosner of Forbes is the latest to sing this chorus.

How do you convince the mass of consumers to consider an iWatch to be a necessary accessory for 21st century life? Make it a fashion-forward, celebrity-endorsed object of desire. Make it aspirational (to use the technical marketing term.) And then, once its value and exclusivity is established, transform it into an “attainable luxury,” much like the iPhone has become. From this perspective, Apple’s fashion executives have a lot to do. To start with Pruniaux, perhaps Apple now intends to sell the iWatch through the same retail channels as luxury watches like TAG Heuer—Tourneau and high-end department stores.

Hmm.  I don’t think anyone will deny that brand is a big part of Apple’s success; Apple products are desirable and aspirational.  However, while fashion is always a differentiating factor for Apple, it’s never been the point.

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In yesterday’s post, we casually mentioned Tinder as an example of how a successful app is both great product and great marketing. Nothing just sells itself. There are lots of wonderful products that die a quiet death because nobody knew about them.

“Marketing” might be a misnomer, because technically product is part of marketing. What we mean is a go-to-market strategy: price, single-minded proposition, awareness building and distribution strategy.  Not only do you need product-market fit, you need an effective way for product and market to find each other.

Take Snapchat as an example. Snapchat, despite being the same essential product from inception, puttered along at first without any traction. In fact, Bobby Murphy, one of the co-founders, got a full-time job elsewhere while the other, Evan Spiegel, returned to finish his final year at Stanford. The two had basically given up on Snapchat. Then they got their lucky break: Spiegel’s mom introduced the app to her popular niece who went to a school where Facebook was banned; soon, all the students there used Snapchat. Murphy and Spiegel saw the numbers and realized they had a hit, and that the way of achieving it was through teens and schools. The rest is history.

Note: the big break wasn’t a product change, it was simply marketing.

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I had written a few days ago about how Microsoft took customer feedback too much to heart with the Xbox One, which resulted in an E3 showing that was too focused and none too exciting.  It’s only fair that I now point to where Microsoft has used customer feedback in exactly the right away.

Gabe is a comic book artist at Penny Arcade.  He went on Microsoft’s radar after he wrote a glowing review of the first Surface Pro; possibly the most positively influential of all the coverage given to Microsoft’s first gen device.  As a comic book artist, the Surface Pro’s thin-and-light tablet form factor and pen were transformative.  Not surprisingly, he liked the second version even more.

So the Surface team was likely looking forward to getting his reaction to the Surface Pro 3, which is a giant leap better than its predecessors.  Except, Gabe had a few major problems with it and posted a less-than-glowing review.

So Microsoft did the right thing and tried to learn what went wrong.  Check out Gabe’s remarkable update here.  Read it and mosey back.

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e27’s Echelon is the TechCrunch Disrupt of South East Asia; it’s the region’s largest and arguably most influential tech conference.

Echelon also has its own start-up battlefield, and in cornerplay tradition, we’re giving our high level assessment on the winner: Taamkru, an iPad educational game for kids five and below (iOS only for now).

In the words of the company:

Taamkru helps your preschooler achieve academic success in both an enjoyable and productive way while allowing parents to monitor achievement with personalized progress reports…Taamkru’s kid-tested inventory of nearly one million creative learning exercises has been developed by trusted child development experts and aligned with Ministry of Education standards. Our productive learning app has been carefully designed for preschoolers to use and help them achieve academic success with fun, interactive and premium quality educational content of increasing difficulty.

Taamkru is a worthy winner, but it wasn’t my first choice for the competition.

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I had an HTC One before it was unfortunately stolen out of my gym bag. I needed an Android phone, didn’t want to spend much on a replacement as I already carried an iPhone 5S and so got the inexpensive Moto G. An excellent phone for the amount I paid.

Price was certainly an important variable, so when the One Plus One was revealed it caught my attention in a big way. This is a phone with the internals of a Samsung Galaxy S5 but with the amazing price of $300. Wow! The company can’t be making much money at those prices.

But if it’s too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. In the case of the One Plus, the problem is that it’s almost impossible to actually buy.

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A quick refresher: in December 2012, Facebook created a clone of Snapchat which at the time was growing quickly but still relatively small. Some thought Facebook would crush the little start-up with its version, Poke.

Fast forward to yesterday with Facebook officially pulling Poke from the app store and all but declaring loss in the ephemeral messaging war to Snapchat.

So, this is proof giants can’t beat the little guys right? Innovator’s dilemma and all that?

Well, not quite. As we’ve seen, the product is easily copied. Facebook took just 12 days to develop Poke. But to beat Snapchat you need more than just a similar product.

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