Friday, September 04, 2009

Marketing 3.0 - there's an app for that?

All signs are pointing in the same direction: Apple's App Store is briskly on its way to two billion downloads, Forrester has just reported that gadget craziness is going mainstream, and now even the scientists have gotten hold of the fact that there's something significant going on here.

Especially the New Scientist article, here's the link again, is worth a read. It pretty much describes what happens to you if you enter app land and start leaving browsers and the internet-as-we-know-it pretty much behind you.

And let's face it. Apps, little icons on your always-on, always-with-you smartphone that have exactly the function you want right now, one touch screen click away, are so much more convenient than firing up a browser and doing a search or accessing a website. And that is precisely how they eat into quality time you used to spend on your browser, on Google, on Yahoo or other portals, or on any of your other favourite websites.

This has enormous consequences for marketing. Life ain't easy for today's marketer, who has already had to adapt from the traditional media to search marketing, maybe just got used to it and now has to completely change over again. It's also interesting to see that no one has really figured out how to adapt to the new model yet. Display ads in apps? Forget it,it's not happening, at least not yet. Selling your products via apps? The only examples I've seen so far are clumsy attempts to mimick a magazine or catalogue, or inane little gimmicks, like having your product (which happens to be a watch) function as an on-screen clock.

The best exception I've seen so far is Nike, with the iPhit Fitness Tracker, a nifty little app that lets you track your running or other fitness exercises in combination with a sensor in your Nike running shoes.

There's no quick-and-dirty way to figure out how to let your brand enter consumers' minds via an app that really has an impact on your target group's lives. It's more like guerilla marketing: a different approach for everybody. But great riches await those who get there first.

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