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Ideas

You are relaxed and more likely to be yourself. If you really want something and it is your sole focus you tend to try hard and that can quite easily come across and needy and desperate. However if you are more casual and non-plussed in your approach you can actually come across more suitable and well rounded person.

Not trying your best is not something that I would advocate however I have had several successes when this is the case.

Everybody wants to be cat

Forgive me for drawing on my own experience however when applying for my placement year I put my absolute all in to somewhere between 50 and 100 job applications of those many became interview that involved early starts, overnight stays, days of prepping presentations and many hours spent on the train across the country.

Toward the end feeling disheartened  and running out of time not having found a job, I continued the hunt but realised that it should not be at the expense of completing that years course work. Application became haphazard and send off without extra proof reading. I almost declined interview and the preparation was not taken seriously. This is all leading up to my interview for my placement with Microsoft. Two days before was the university clubs and societies ball, The day before was a day hungover on the sofa researching Microsoft. The actual day was almost missing the train and then spending the time between assessment activities and interviews reading through my latest coursework draft.

All of these factors added up to me thinking that I should not be there and that I am in no way going to be offered a decent position this late in the game. Because of this during the interview with, who turned out to be my hiring manager, I sat back in my chair and was able to have a very casual, open and honest conversation covering the basic stuff whist enjoying discussing our common interests in technology.

This has happened several times since, rushed and non plussed application have landed me interviews and I have heard similar stories from friends.

I often hear on the news tennis players recounting how they tend to do well when they go out to just have fun and not focus on the winning, wild card players beat or come close to winning against high seeds and world champions.

To sign off I’m going to quote Val Wilder – “Don’t take life to seriously you will never get out alive.”

My sister was typing this as I dictated so any out of place sentences are accredited to her.

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All the way through my life I have noticed that the key to get people to take action is to educate them. As an example this is the main issue with getting people to cook for themselves more and understanding the lower cost of cooking instead of take out…

I came across an article in Wired, that summarised this argument (the discussion type not the Monty Python type) really well …

John Armstong argues that capitalism has gone wrong not because there are not enough regulations on business but because there isn’t enough education of consumers. The solution is not to ban McDonalds, but to educate our desires that we may “freely” consider alternatives. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jun/28/search-civilization-john-armstrong-review

That summaries my thoughts quite well.

A recent online copyrighting course really hammered this point home, they were applying the ‘AIDA‘ framework to email marketing and in the ‘Interest’ section the key was to educate the people, give them a reason to care, why are they going to read this email. It is like a lite form of content marketing. I will cover this in more detail soon!

April 12th Marketing week made the connection with educating consumers in two of the articles I read.

Firstly based on 36% 35 year the conclusion drawn was that this was down to trust and security issues and some education of the older generation would need to be done to increase adoption.

The second one was about companies expanding into international markets and the need to understand local markets their needs and to educate consumers how a brand fits into their lives. The customers need to understand the appeal and basic benifits of something they may not have tried before or they will revert back to what they already know.

To conclude: Let’s teach our people something!

After listening to a couple of webinars (on demand – this means I intentionally miss the live version so I can watch the recording that allows me to pause and make notes.

There are a couple I have listened to discussing the mHealth (mobile health) space.

The most recent one is – ‘What makes a health app effective’

Recording – http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=375664&s=1&k=4606AB7B03874AFBF0A00BF178AFF2BE
Slides – http://event.on24.com/event/37/56/64/rt/1/documents/slidepdf/what_makes_a_health_app_effectivefinal.pdf

Any who, this is what I have learned – and I’m sure can be applied to any industry with the correct research backing.

Number 1: Select your goals and the reason for creating an app. What is the benefit to your business. Make sure there is a connection between the activity and your bottom line. other wise what is the point. Please bear in mind that brand awareness can be included on your balance sheet, but don’t just jump on the ‘app bandwagon’.

Number 2: Select a theme / the area that you want to focus on, remember keep it simple there is so much to choose from if people have to learn they will not bother.

Aside over, if your all sitting comfortably then I will begin.

Make use of the potential for contextual based information, education and learning (this can work both ways.)

Contextual based services have always been the challenge of marketing but now is easier with mobile devices. With the tracking abilities you can find what people like and give it to them when they need it. not just put it in a repository/shop and hope they see it or pick it up.

Leverage mobility to deliver personalised and contextualised information to the consumer, unified from disparate data sources (that is all probably a quote) but deliver the information when the information matters e.g. if you have an app tracking sleep in the morning after a shorter sleep is recorded you can provide actions and advice that can be taken that day to improve the users sleep that night.

Example – ‘MyWellness’ (This is not mine by the way, credit where credit is due and all that)

‘Check in’ How are you feeling? based on the users responses you can provide recommendations. This can be information, services or your own products.

I noticed that there is the opportunity to link to partner with other apps here. That is you could link up with an existing sleep app with an established user base (go where the users are) you can then gather the data and add value based on what you find.

Make use of ‘Social Currency’. It has been proven with energy saving that when people are pitted against there peers they tend to make more of an effort as there is a credibility to be gained by doing better then your neighbours. Relating this to health there is the option to track training goals or eat better by sharing pictures of your food. If someone “forgets” to post their lunch you can bet they ended up in McDonald’s.

The more serious Stuff:

Set your success metrics! Number of downloads and how long it is kept for.
If you have an app for a chronic issues you need to have it for several months, but the previously mentioned slides show that there is a huge drop off after the first month of use so make sure you have the staying power for the action you are trying to instill.

Distribution Vs. Value – The easiest way to get the most people to use your app is to make it free, however people tend to value something that they have paid for. so make a choice, there is always the freemium option.

FDA – beware of the approvals needed for a medical app. but don’t let this hinder your development, Massive Health have throne caution to the wind and fought back against the powers that be in favour of a more agile iterative development process rather then the waterfall process that is easier to track but harder to give the users what they want. In the former there is more opportunity to keep returning to your user group to gather feedback.

Connected/Disconnected – Disconnected is the encyclopaedia or the Microsoft Encarta CD you used to use to look up information. Connected is Wikipedia. Disconnected is slow clunky and is hard to update. Connected is cheap, social, can have more functionality and much easier to change/update to roll with the times.

Care plan managers are a good option for both parties, This would be reactive after a consultation so people will have a vested interest in using the app and from the practitioner or organisations point of view there is a database of information that can be tapped into to improve your product or sell for research purposes.

There is also the likely hood of overloading users with apps and the the ‘street cred’ of using them is going to be diluted. Your app needs to be useful and easy, if it is another thing to learn then they are not going to bother.

Ways to encourage continued usage as well as the social aspect is create a gaming culture with the use of leader boards and provide the feel of moving to the next level after completing set challenge. You can also add peer review to this for example your spouse gets a reminders of you forget to log something and they can contact you. This is a lot more powerful than just an automated email.

The app needs to be able to be personalised and pull the most relevant information – there is potential for creating an service that can pull data from different sources that are relevant to the user. e.g. mapping and weather you can choose to pull pollan or UV information, or track you diet with the correct food stuffs for managing weight or health. This is relevant and therefore more useful! It means you know what is being used when to improve offerings or special deals.

This can also be great for the patient but also for the practitioner. During consultations if practitioner can have a dashboard of what the client has logged in the last month then the visit is going to be a lot more valuable, and if the client knows their practitioner is going to see that information they are going to behave better.

Creating apps can hopefully aid the shift from reactive to proactive, with the use of a common connected platform.

If you are set in your ways and like things the way they are that is fine, but when the market changes you will be forced to make a decision; roll with the times or quit.

If you are willing to hire a young team of web developers to run your online presence whether you like it or not this may be the only way to keep your brand in the public eye.

If this is not for you then that is fine also you will just fade into the background and be surpassed by the people that are willing to roll with the pinch.

Do you think that any of the people that run the Saks Fifth Avenue Facebook page are in any way related or even born when the store first started advertising.

Having a vision is great as it creates something special and inspires other people, however if the time comes you need to be able to change your vision if for example the main focus of your brand awareness moves online this is where you may have to take it. Even in the short term if cannibalises your business model. If not someone (a competitor) will come and take it from under your feet. For example Love Film and Netflix. This raises the question why did Blockbuster not create this.

Love Film and Netflix are digital versions enabled by the Internet and the near marginal costs that it allows. (There are some more in-depth consumer behaviour points that I would like to include here, but they are not mine from when I started writing this almost a year ago) These services offer unlimited renting and multiple views before you return them with no late fees – to quote the adds.

Blockbuster would have been reluctant to adopt this because they had a large infrastructure in physical stores, staff and stock that would have become redundant and require deconstructing. But instead of embracing the new technology and business models that it presented, Blockbuster left the door open for others to move into the space and Blockbuster are all but gone from our highstreets!

Another prime example is the media industry that is still living in the stone age in the way content is produced. The hierarchy of organisations and time it takes to get stories out in print. I’m not saying its dead it is just not keeping up and needs to adapt. It can’t keep doing things the same way when the world and more specifically consumption patterns are changing. The real challenge is cutting thought the noise and perhaps this is where print will always have a place. no more ’20 more tweets’ since you searched.

As data networks improve and streaming on the fly becomes available, native catalogue and music libraries will become a thing of the past and move in the direction of Spotify and Last FM (much more social). iTunes needs to become software plus services and have the distribution and the clout with the record companies to carry it off, but will they ever make the leap. me thinks not this kind of this is usually taken by a new company who will follow the business life cycle and be replaced.

Will Apple undermine their business model, that ultimatley saved them and put Apple back on the map, to keep them top of the game? What I mean is that they will move away from charging from tracks and albums, which is just a digital version of what we had in the first place. This will most likely be something that will be determined by the age of the population and their shopping habits.

Note – what is interesting since I drafted this post November 2010 (Evernote is great for storing ideas but it has left me with a year of unposted content.) Apple has release iOS 5 that goes someway to solving this problem and providing part of the service that I had in mind.

P.S. Having just listened to Chris Anderson’s ‘Free’ There are a couple of good points that I would like to include.

The theme of this book is the concept of ‘Free, Gratis, Libra and £0.00’ and how the zero (or near zero) marginal cost of the digital word has facilitated an economy around the cost of free or zero pounds and zero pence (or whatever you currency of choice is).

The first point that struck a chord with the theme of this post (that I’m quite glad of as it has added a lot of credibility to what could otherwise be disregarded as a my general musings) is how incumbents in a certain market would be unwilling to embrace to concept of free and incorporate it into their business model.

The main reasons they would reject this echos the sentiments above and how embracing this concept would cannibalise their current business and reduce or remove their current revenue streams completely.

The best and most common example of this is the music industry, that are unwilling to give their music away and monetise through gigs and merchandise as they are so used to charging for the CD they can bring themselves to give them away!

The example discussed in the book, this the death of the encyclopaedia industry that used to make a lot of money for a few people but has been replace with a little immeasurable increase in wealth for a lot of people, in Wikipedia.

This leads quite nicely into this next point, when the technology changes and jobs get taken, because they are automated by machines, and become obsolete you need to move upstream and in Chris Anderson’s words apply yourself where the human touch is still required. This has most recently been brought to light here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15486300 showing the 25 years since the ‘Big Bang’ and the trading City of London was computerised.

That was almost a post in itself, but thought is was worth adding!

I was recently working with a friend of mine on their marketing strategy so here are my lessons as a ‘marketing consultant’!

17.26 pm I receive a message from my cycling/snowboarding buddy Liam who is one of the Founding partners of the Academy of Exercise Studies.

19.15 Liam meets me with his bike we pick up some beers and head to his mates house for a discussion with the other two team members and there fellow marketing types.

After discussing what activities they had already been undertaken the following ideas can up.

Content and Links -write about what you know and this will be useful for your audience.

Rules of thumb:

  • blog once a week
  • FB several time a week (3)
  • Twitter twice a day!

Exercise studies are a training provider that provide quality over quicker courses. The biggest challenge is what do attendees do after they have qualified – these people needs support.

Talk to you market and focus on the:

  • Benefits of your product (USPs)
  • Price
  • and the outcome of using your product.

Networking – If this does not exist for your market then set it up! Free networking events for you and you competitors and prospective clients. If you are in charge then you call the shots!

    Focus on the basic of what you teach and then you can plug – think of an interactive whitepaper – and you can enjoy a beer at the same time.

We also came up with some other more guerilla tactics but keep those on the QT for now, comedy is not a funny the second time round, stay tuned!

looking forward to the next meet!

Time to ride home,

"keming"

We need to be able to search for keywords that are spoken, images can now be searched but can the spoken word? When somebody says something on the radio you have to record the programme and then skip back with a fiddly slider and have to guess at what time code you heard it at. How impractical is this. This is the same as good old VHS! In summary:

  • old
  • broken
  • needs fixing

Solution: ACR audio character recognitions similar to OCR that enables text in images be turned into text that is searchable.