“Three is a magic number” – Schoolhouse Rock
Since I’ve started writing my marketing blog, I have come to realise that other blogs that I have visited and read have this common habit of writing lists. Lists are rather useful ways of distilling a multitude of thoughts about one subject. From topics such as the top three inbound marketing strategies for mobile apps to 25 sneakers to own before you die, lists are a useful way of increasing visitor traffic, gleaning reader’s opinions and objections to your ‘definitive’ lists and generally showing you know your topic (supposedly…). Ironically, from my own general reading and discussions with a good friend of mine on the field of marketing has highlighted some interesting points in this current
internet/ data/ technology era (I deleted all three because I couldn’t make up my mind). Anyhow, I digress. Here are the three elements that a modern-day marketer should consider for future market and business development.
1. “Free” products
When you consider how some ideas were conceived (i.e. Dropbox, Spotify, Farmville, Google Docs, etc.), they created services that people could utilise and get to grip with for ‘free’. The ‘Freemium’ model is a useful model, especially for start-up companies, to acquire a large user base where a portion of them can be converted into paying customers.
Consider Dropbox for example, which is a cloud storage service where users are initially offered 2 GB free storage. For a user to increase their storage capacity, they can either through referrals (500 MB per referral, up to 18 GB = 36 new users) or by subscribing to their ‘Pro’ plan for even greater storage (starting at 100 GB). Dropbox is an exponent of the ‘freemium’ model, taking advantage of rapidly decreasing prices in storage space and the shift towards cloud computing to increase the number of users and to generate income from power users derived from their user base.
Such models do need to be scrutinized, as they can be rather costly if they are not ‘leveraged’ properly in terms of the product/service offering, however they can be very successful for growing a business, as Dropbox can testify.
2. Marketing the product OR the product does the marketing?
Some companies are market/marketing driven whilst others are product-driven, relying on its relative strengths for the marketing sales pitch. Take Microsoft and Apple for instance. Here is the Microsoft advert for their Surface tablet.
Microsoft Surface Commercial
Apple iPad Commercial
As you can see from these commercials, Microsoft has gone for the more visual, dramatic, let’s-put-on-a-song-and-dance approach in showing off their Surface tablet, whereas Apple have gone for the ‘Let’s show you what the iPad and the iPad mini can do’ approach. Microsoft package and wrap up their product in the most glamorous fashion, marketing it in a way where it sells you the dream. Apple’s approach is clean and minimalistic, showing the product in action and its features. There’s no right or wrong way in how to market or promote a product, however the approach a marketer should decide on depends on how they want to present their offering to their target market and customer.
How were Nintendo, Nokia and Google initially founded? Nintendo initially started by making playing cards back in 1889. Nokia’s first steps as a company was as a Finnish paper manufacturer back in 1865, and Google’s story started as an search engine called ‘BackRub’ from the creative minds of Larry Page and Sergey Brin back in 1996.
Where are they now? Nintendo is now one of the biggest computer game console manufacturers across the globe, creating iconic characters such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong. Nokia is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of mobile phone devices, creating classic models such as the 5110 and the current Lumia 920. Google is now the web’s go-to page for search results and has expanded into other areas, from creating the Android mobile platform to offering map services on the internet. Despite Nintendo and Nokia being many years older than Google, who are the gifted genius wunderkid, what has kept these three global icons continuing their longevity is innovation.
Through constant change and adapting to future needs and disrupting existing business models and paradigms, these companies have survived the test of time whilst maintaining their brands by pushing new boundaries and frontiers in their respective fields. Who would have thought Google would be competing with Nokia in the mobile industry?
These are my thoughts on the elements that a modern-day marketer must ponder in order to create new markets and develop and grow their business respectively.