Tag Archives: apps

Relevancy is not enough!

Why brands should give consumers what they want, how and when they need it.

The above screen grab is from an appeal that Maura Johnston made yesterday evening on her Twitter account. Whichever site she was clicking on, her frustrating customer journey simply illustrates what some marketers and publishers have failed to grasp: relevancy is key to what people want in media.

Since its origins in publishing, content marketing has become one of the latest buzzwords in marketing. Google has recognised the importance of the relevancy of content in their latest search algorithm updates, as have so many other parts of the PR, marketing and retail industries.

Social media has had a great deal of influence in this growing tendency due to its capacity to allow family and friends to efficiently share the latest products, videos, news and entertainment with their network. The keyword here is efficiency, as time-hungry consumers dislike jumping hurdles when trying to get what they want.

Relevancy in content

There’s no secret to what used to make print publishing so successful, as at the core of all successful publishing products we will find relevancy of content. Publishers (should) know their target market inside out and so the content they produce ought to meet the reader’s expectations.

In the past, all this was relatively simple as it all came together in one channel, the printed magazine or newspaper. However, as we all know too well, the multitude of communication channels has piled much pressure on publishers and marketers to reach their audience by way of different platforms, each with their particular costs, challenges, etiquette and limitations.

Efficiency in the user journey

What marketers and publishers should not forget is that relevant content alone is not enough to satisfy consumers. A simple and straightforward route to access it is key to ensuring the content reaches them and serves its purpose. Otherwise, we are just wasting time and money in creating good content only to have customer journeys that frustrate the target audience, especially when venturing into the digital arena. You might have a very engaging video about your brand or product to excite consumers, but making them download an app to be able to see it is a one-way ticket to a negative customer experience.

This is all the more important in a world that is increasingly mobile. According to Google research, 72% of consumers want mobile-friendly sites (see study here), so if you’re looking to go digital with your content, make sure that it’s tailored to being accessed on mobile devices, especially smartphones and tablets. Although use of apps to showcase content is on the rise, more and more brands and their agencies are realising that a good mobile-friendly website is just as efficient in achieving campaign objectives, hereby sidetracking the many challenges of an app-centred content marketing plan.

This does not mean that every single website should load, by default, in mobile-friendly format when a consumer arrives at it. Some people with large screen smartphones and on tablets are more than happy to access websites in their “full fat” version. What’s important is give the consumer the preference and not dictate it. The consumer knows what (s)he wants. All you should do is be there to provide it how and when they want it.

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The new iPad comes with 46% less memory?!

The ‘resolutionary’ screen is clearly (no pun intended) the main selling point in the new iPad. Contrary to common-sense, I feel this new resolution is a curse to all those early adopters that are already swiping away at their new iPads (after having wiped the drool off the screen).

Today, Mashable highlights the fact that ‘magazines look terrible on the new iPad′s high-resolution display’. The current exception seems to be Vogue, which had already optimised its edition to take full advantage of the retina display in the apple of Apple’s eye. However, this came at a ‘price’, as this edition now occupies 408MB of the iPad’s flash memory, up from the 280MB needed for the other iPad versions.

This means that we are getting the same content as before (albeit at an eye-candy level of clarity), but at the cost of sacrificing an additional 46% of the flash memory of our device. Why then would you buy the new iPad if you are limited to a maximum storage of 64GB? How many optimised applications, games or magazines will you be able to fit in your new tablet? Would Steve Jobs have gone ahead with a new product knowing that it is not the best it can be, by matching a bump up in screen resolution with proportionate amount of adequate memory storage? Is it really fair to assume that each time you double your iPad’s capacity, the real cost of the flash memory costs goes up by £80 each time?

The half-promise of a content El Dorado

These questions have obviously not stopped this new toy from becoming a wildly popular cash-cow for Cupertino’s consumer darlings. Yet in bowing to the pressures of having to lead the tablet market, Apple is selling a product that half fulfils a promise. Consumers have bought a ticket to the El Dorado, but they’ve been made to wait at the outskirts of the city, despite being able to see the bright lights and excitement it has to offer. And they’re having to put up with a lot of heat to be able to be there.

Yes you can already see high-definition content on your new iPad, but you can’t store it for long if you want your next fix of new content. Yes, your new games and applications can be ‘resolutionary’-ready, but you’ll have to get rid of other apps, photos or videos to be able to keep using or playing them. Yes, you can keep your ‘un-optimised’ content, but it will look underwhelming on your fantastic screen.

The curse of the new iPad is its greatest asset. To experience the true benefits of this display, consumers will have to wait until the flash memory on the iPad matches those of ultrabooks or the Macbook Air. This may not be too far down the line, since Toshiba already features high capacities at the top-end of their Solid State Drive product family. Only when we have NAND flash memories upwards of 128GB will the iPad finally fulfill its potential of a post-PC device. By then, though, we will already be talking about the new ‘new iPad’, and I suspect it will take at least another year to get there.

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Digital Publishing and its many guises

apple iPad

After two days of near continuous bombardment of new tendencies, a cornucopia of packed and insightful seminars and keynote speeches, (the usual) overpriced bites to eat, and “market-leading-solution-we-are-the-answer-to-all-your-problems” sales speak, I am just about to start browsing the piles of magazines and literature that I’ve amassed from the Publishing Expo as well as the TFM&A.

Having spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Earl’s Court 2 (an improvement on the slightly run-down Olympia from past years), I would like to just summarise a bit of the whirlwind of developments that the content marketing and digital publishing industry are having to take in.

Before I go into more detail, there are two glaring points about the Publishing Expo I would like to make:

1. Adobe was indeed the overall event sponsor, but I was surprised to see they were not exhibiting. Is this a sign they are getting comfortable with the lead their publishing suite, including Adobe DPS, has over the competition?

2. The iPad was the reigning tablet to showcase mobile publishing and marketing solutions. Not a single Android tablet to be seen, even in the cases of developers having solutions or working towards versions of apps for this platform.

And now on with the show…

What’s your flavour?

If the explosion of apps wasn’t concern enough for a professional trying to get their brand, creation or deliverable out there to the time-hungry and fickle world of consumers and punters, we now have the benefit (and perhaps headache) of having multiple routes we can go down in the quest for the publishing and marketing ‘silver bullet’.

The exhibitors at the show cater to different budgets and objectives, most of them squarely aimed at the tablet publishing market. Some are effective and simple (or reductive, depending on your view of things);  others have a cornucopia of bells and whistles to choose from: Mag+, Readz, Dennis Publishing, Zinio, Yudu, Pressrun, Pagesuite, eMagCreator, Magazine Cloner, are examples of the different approaches used.

If I were to add to the mix the suppliers that I have come across in past exhibitions, case study presentations or on projects I have worked on, the list goes on: eDition, Onswipe,  Issuu, Flipping Book, and numerous other big and small operators. In the case of Readz and Onswipe, for example, we’re not even talking about an iOS or Android app, per se, as these are nascent examples of web-based or web-optimised content browsing solutions, that are becoming a valid alternative to your ‘traditional’ platform-based application solutions.

Brave New World

All of the above-mentioned suppliers are clambering for their share of the ever-evolving and increasingly inter-woven market of ‘grabbing people’s attention and making them do something after seeing your message’. The result is that most brands, agencies or publishers can no longer lounge in the luxury of being a platform or iPad-only specialist.

For all of us with any kind of history in the communication, media, publishing or marketing industry, we are riding the tidal waves caused by the speed of change in the last few years. We are coming to realise that survival lies with a varied mix of multi-platform, integrated, attractive, informative, engaging, entertaining and easy to navigate information and content. And if we can have that with some magic pixie dust in the form of viral content, social media buzz or mass-market news exposure, then we’re one step closer to marketing zen, publishing nirvana or brand heaven.

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