This is a great piece by Kevin Smotler asking a marketing question I have always loved – that is too seldom asked. Smotler discusses the rise (surely not a bubble?) of location based apps and review services – Groupon, Foursquare and hundreds of new startups and variations on existing platforms such as Facebook. What is the point?
What is the value? What does a user receive from the service apart from slightly more targeted spam vouchers? The question that Smotler poses; “What are the benefits of your app?” He also reiterates the value of the network and quite sensibly points out that people receive no value from a service or system if their friends and contacts do not share it too. He points out that it is user generated content is the valuable fuel that powers such apps. However a ton of poor or spam type content that does not offer genuine value is simply the 21st century junk mail – lots of communication but not a lot of benefits. There will be a lot of losers amongst the also rans and a few winners in user generated location based services. Smotler’s view gets nearer to the best marketing discipline that is too often ignored. A marketer should simply and accurately define the user / buying statement: “I will use this brand because…” and “I will use this service more than Brand X because it…”. If you cannot answer such basic questions quickly and in a compelling way then the app, product or service is really one of two things. Either just a technology (always ‘smart’ of course) that is still waiting for a market – or an offer that may on the surface look interesting but does not really at its heart solve a genuine consumer need. In the app and social media world I see this is a massive trend. Too many reskins, too many ‘me-toos’ too many ‘smart’ systems that have no bearing on the consumer. Perhaps, instead of trying to jump on another app or social media bandwagon that has already overtaken them on the technology road, marketers should instead try to come up with their own original idea to solve a genuine consumer need – and build something that is valuable to the user. Now, that would be something to update on your network. Click on the link below to read the full article by Smotler. http://feeds.paidcontent.org/~r/pcorg/~3/Jw1Q-WX77d4/