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Use apps and tools used by your customers

Have you any idea how many apps there are in the Apple appstore not to mention the Android one? I’m not going to tell you because it will be out of date as soon as I do. It’s actually very easy to make an app. Which is why so many market research agencies are getting them made. And therein lies the problem. Because an app which is only used for a specialised purpose and not by many people will never be as good as one that people choose because they use it for their own purposes and they find it addictive.  The moral for marketers is that unless what you want to know can’t be found out with a common or garden app you should use what your customers use. Like what I heard you say? Well pinterest and tumblr are useful blogging platforms which have been made to work as apps on mobile forms. They’re great because they privilege pictures and links rather than writing which is perfect for mobile use. You will need to wait for your customers to get home before they pour out their hearts to you in purple prose.

The metaphor of the pinboard is actually the same as the good old fashioned mood board, the difference being that it is the customer who gets to populate the board and put their pinterest where others can see and borrow images.  But there are many others.

Notability allows forwarding and sharing which is why when I go to conferences I find myself taking notes on this at the expense of tweeting – a measure of how it has come to replace typing into a blog on a laptop or for that matter taking notes on a pad – and tweeting at the same time.

I am a fan of Siamack Salari’s Ethos the ethnographic app. And one reason I trust it is because he’s taken ages putting it together and he sells the app to people who have no interest in ethnography but like the ease of being able to share videos, photos, audio entries and text all with keyboards with a network of friends.

I don’t want to get stuck on apps though. Google Hangout effectively democratises the video conference and webinar format. The only catch is that you can’t stream the event to Youtube more than 10 minutes of video a time unless you are a video enthusiast like me and Google have lifted the 10 minute limit. So look for best selling apps for collecting data – and borrow them for talking to customers. And as alternative look at what you find useful and see if you can find customers who are using that.

I saw a great demo last week for an application which scrapes data from all sorts of sources. Very clever.  All £1290 pounds of it. And well worth it for a pro like me. The catch is that with a little effort I can probably find a 3rd party tool designed to monetise from customers and mass take up which will do the same job  for a few pounds. This levelling factor of the publically funded application is a major lurch in business to business markets towards the consumer space.  Increasing the risk taking for  B2B innovators massively.  If you want to make money – then monetise the public domain. You have been warned.


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