The 4Ps of App Marketing Strategies

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Myntra, one of India’s leading fashion ecommerce sites (owned by Flipkart) has gone App-only.   While that is too extreme a step for most marketers, fact is that sales through apps are rising and are likely to be a large retail channel.  Many established retail chains like Shoppers Stop and Future Group are hopping to ecommerce with mixed success.  Why?

Because they are used to the traditional 4Ps being a factor for each sale.  For those of you who grew up with post-Kotler text books the 4Ps are Product, Place, Promotion and Price.   If the product is the same then online shopping makes it incredibly easy to find the lowest price and purchase it.  Marketers are of course under pressure to offer the lowest possible price and many are indeed in that downward spiral of reducing profits. But let’s take a hard look at all the 4Ps and see what can be our response to an app only world.


If your product is unique then of course price comparison is not possible.  This requires continuous innovation and the ability to churn out a large number of innovations across the entire product line.  These innovations do not have to be earth-shattering ones but even a superficial difference can make a difference.  If you find this hard to believe just look at the toothpaste industry – blue, shiny, red, sparkly…all variations of what is basically one active ingredient – fluoride.

You can also look at seasonal variations, time-based variants, fads…This also requires a good bit of branding and awareness to ensure that there is customer pull for this product.  Look at the frenzy for certain toys for Christmas! India has no equivalents to that. Yet.


Some retailers are fiddling around with “online-only” merchandise.  This may protect their distributor relationships in the short run but in the long run can only irritate customers who want to buy your stuff wherever they want.  From an online lens one can look at “app-only” and “site-only” offers too.  For example some offers may be available only on Groupon or a discounting site.

With the rise of micro-delivery firms like grofers you may soon be able to buy anything available locally – even apples and oranges – from shops that do not have an online presence.  Effectively, your competition isn’t online but with everyone.


Today most “promos” are price-based.  That is a dangerous path and not sustainable.  Standard promo techniques can be applied to ecomm too – twofers, bogo, bundling, coupons – all have not really been used to their potential yet.  Coupons are not as much a part of our culture as say, the US, but giving me an offer on a future purchase is a great way to keep me loyal.  Makemytrip does this but haven’t seen many others offer this.  Bundling is another way to make your product unique – today the ecommerce sites have a powerful recommendation engine that suggests related products.  But they do not offer me any special benefits for purchasing this as a bundle.  Nor is it sold as a set eg skateboard + helmet package.  A few have begun this eg MakeMyTrip bundles airfare + hotels, bundles atta+rice+sugar.  Alliances can be a key differentiator that can enable this.

Just as the “old economy’ retailers are pinching digital experts from the ecomm sites, the ecomm retailers would be advised to pinch the old trade promo folks from the brick-and-mortar retailers.


Discounting is of course expected.  While certainly comparison shopping with an app is harder than opening multiple tabs on a laptop, I expect the savvy Indian consumer to continue their searching, using – heaven forbid – a piece of paper to keep track of the prices!  All the more reason to get clever with discounting – look for options like cashbacks, coupons, interest-free EMIs and other ways to drop prices with some benefit to yourself.


Growing up I knew the baker, tailor, ice-cream man, book-binder and a whole bunch of other ‘makers’.  Buying was a social process and involved ambience, touching the product, haggling…And there were lots of subtle cues – if the shop was air-conditioned you could expect to pay more.  If you went to a mall, you couldn’t haggle.  If the shop spoke English the prices were definitely going to be higher.  If it was a brand you had seen in the newspaper or TV you assumed it was of a higher quality.  There was also the assumption that the older companies were more reliable.  We are now going to have to translate all of these cues into a tiny icon on a phone.  ‘Appy Shopping!


5 Ways To Make Sure Your Mobile Marketing Is Magical

Many of you are probably reading this blog on a mobile device, and you’re not alone. There are currently 7.2 billion+ mobile devices on the planet and that number isn’t slowing down (more here). Just thirty years ago that number was zero. On the receiving end of those mobile devices is a consumer that is continuously inundated with messages, content, and calls-to-action. Do you have strategy to break through the noise?

Mobile devices play a central (and growing) role in our lives. Once relegated to voice communication and text messaging, these devices are used for everything from monitoring our health, teaching us foreign languages, to decimating our productivity (I’m looking at you, Candy Crush!), and much more.

For today’s marketer, this represents tremendous opportunity, but also enormous challenges. In a world increasingly filled with noise, marketers face the challenge of consistently delivering compelling and meaningful content that drives engagement with their customers.

So how can a savvy marketer consistently deliver meaningful (dare I say, magical) experiences in this strange new world? I’m glad you asked.

1. Mobile Friendly is not Optional

Consumers increasingly device-shift. They may start on your website at their desktop, then continue reading on their mobile device, and continue their engagement on your native app.


2. Be Smart With Your Social Media

Keep in mind that the majority of social media users are engaging via mobile devices. When posting to Facebook or writing Tweets, be thoughtful to utilize links that deliver a high-quality experience on mobile. To create a seamless experience and minimize your bounce rate, try not to drop users onto a page that’s not mobile optimized. Additionally, optimize your content for mobile—including highly visual material that flows well on a mobile screen, versus asking your user to pinch and pull the window to the achieve right size.

3. E-commerce Should Be Native

When consumers are ready to make a purchase, they don’t want to switch devices. If you’re operating in the e-commerce channel, a native mobile app is not a ‘nice to have’, but rather a requirement to ease the friction of purchase streamline the overall experience, and drive conversion. Design your email communications to include links that drive the user to open the app. Additionally, consider the mobile experience for buyers who want to complete their purchase outside of an app, on a mobile browser and make that experience as frictionless as possible to increase conversion.

4. Measure Twice, Cut Once

Analytics (like ga) can help you measure the success of your mobile marketing strategies, this is especially important during coordinated marketing campaigns. This will allow way you to quantify the effectiveness of your cross-channel efforts, for example, number of conversions from email clicks, to website signups, or web page views, to app installs. Pay close attention to new visitors experiencing your site for the first time on their mobile device–are they bouncing from a specific page? Getting lost in your onboarding funnel?

5. Test Early and Often

As release cycles accelerate, it’s more important than ever that you catch bugs before they impact your (potential) customers. You don’t want to spend time, money, and effort to develop a new mobile app for a business, only to find out that there’s a design flaw that makes it difficult to use. Conversely, an amazing app isn’t going to be able to capture customers if the download page is confusing or difficult to use.

As you think through your mobile marketing strategy it’s important that it operates as a component of your overall marketing efforts. Mobile is not just another channel, it represents the most personal channel for many of your customers and a unique opportunity to drive lasting and meaningful engagement.

Are you interested in learning more about mobile marketing? Join us at the marketo marketing nation summit to learn more.

Published with permission.


Message to Mobile Operators: Monetize Personal Data

As the exchange of personal data becomes a lynchpin of the modern business model, mobile operators are confronted with new challenges and opportunities. At frog, we’re working with mobile operators on the challenges and opportunities in a world where a richer personal data stream is opening unprecedented possibilities for creating value.  This article explores the why behind the market’s development and how operators can use Leverage, Risk, Scale, and Tangibility to evaluate opportunities to create value from personal data. 

Personal data is the root of the next-gen business model

Twenty years ago, nobody imagined creating revenue from personal data. But a number of factors—the rise of the Internet, globalization of workforces, heightened access to capital, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit—changed all that by opening the way to rapid social and technological growth.  Enter Google, Facebook, Twitter, and a whole new era in the sharing and consumption of information (read: data).  All of these business models were predicated on the notion that if you can create a service cheaply and then offer it for free to establish a large user base, value would follow. And it has, mostly in the form of personal data monetization.

Now, by the time you read this, a huge trail of data will have been generated. Nearly everything we do in our daily routes—from checking email to buying coffee or driving to work—leaves distinct trails of data exhaust that describe who we are, what we do, and how we spend our resources. Today, your morning coffee not only gives you a buzz but also generates a rich personal data stream that can be logged, tracked, shared, and monetized.

As we continue to advance technologically and behaviorally, the opportunities to create value from personal data have become ever more real and exciting.  These include embedded computing, the cloud, streaming service delivery models, location-based services, and multi-screen modes of online access in combination with mobile-centricity, hyper-sharing, and rising demands around the quality and cost of technology. With all these technological and behavioral forces taking shape, more and more businesses are taking strides to get in on the data monetization game.

Mobility and a growing dependence on connectivity put mobile operators in an advantageous position in this changing market. After all, operators provide the backbone of a consumer’s digital life and they have high levels of trust concerning sensitive personal data, such as home addresses, billing information, location, calling and texting histories.

Yet it won’t be easy for a mobile operator to create new forms of value from this personal data, mobile or otherwise.  Operators must be willing to explore fundamental changes to the existing business framework, from new and different revenue models to new partnerships and customer segments (including B2B models). This will require more agility in responding to market dynamics.


Over the last few years, we have collaborated with mobile operators on adapting to these new market dynamics and the growing importance of personal data monetization. Our experience has led to a number of observations about the personal data value chain.
Personal data is not consistent enough in purpose and origin to ever constitute a unified dataset, nor should that be our goal. Andas the amount of data grows – from medical and social security records to transactional data – this fragmentation will only increase. Not all of this is equally accessible, because of necessary regulatory and privacy reasons and because companies will want to maintain control over their excusive customer base.
While the future will be driven by advances in the unseen systems that surround us, the objects that we touch and feel and interact with in our daily lives receive the bulk of our attention, love and loyalty. Operators must embrace these objects – our homes, cars and media centers – and the companies that manufacture them, to facilitate new services that will create value for consumes.

Strategy: How Operators Can Respond

These observations suggest that mobile operators should selectively pursue opportunities to cross industries or domains to create specific value for the consumer.  One issue we see with clients in this regard: they sometimes assume you can do nearly anything if you just collect some data.  But when pressed on what specifically can be done, there are often few concrete ideas.
To be actionable you must understand the needs of the end consumer and work from there.  Place the consumer at the center of your ecosystem and imagine which specific combinations of services would provide the most value to them. Once these have been identified, focus on the following factors: a strong operator presence with considerable leverage; low risk; scalability and tangibility.

Having leverage is key to any successful business model.  Relative to other types of stakeholders, operators have a lot of leverage when:

· Adding cellular connectivity to an existing service will create new value. One operator we’re working with is already taking steps to team with auto insurance providers in this way. Using cellular networks to tap into sensors in the car (acceleration and braking speeds, impacts, etc.), operators and carriers together can improve insurance underwriting, which can benefit drivers and providers alike.

· The reliability of the network connection matters. Another operator we’ve encountered is working with healthcare providers on connecting heart monitoring devices via the cellular network. Operators have leverage in this model because their powerful networks can guarantee the level of performance needed for this critical function where other networks cannot.

· Adding contextual information from the mobile will create new value.  For example, operators have an aggregate view of consumer behavior on the mobile. Operators can determine where a customer was located when they did X, who they called after they did Y, and what apps they use in conjunction. This information could be used (with great caution) to create enhanced service experiences for the consumer.

· An existing service can piggyback on the recurring billing relationship that operators have with the customer.  For example, partner service providers could add their bus or taxi fare to the operator’s phone bill and reconcile transactions on the back end to avoid building out consumer billing infrastructure and lower consumer barriers to use.

Identify additional levers that you have as an operator (relative to potential competitors that are not operators).  Then identify your levers as a business relative to other operators. These together will help you find points of leverage that will provide sustainable advantages.

In the example opportunities described above (i.e. connecting cars and heart monitors), the challenge for these operators will be to command value beyond just providing the pipe.  Providing the pipe is an easy foot in the door, but going beyond this to create new forms of value introduces greater risk. For an operator to begin to monetize the usage (data) on the network rather than just access to the network, a certain amount of risk is unavoidable. This is because the fundamental levers of an operator’s business model today (focused on monetizing network access) are quite different from the levers that drive the monetization of data:

The challenge for operators is to find opportunities that allow you to pursue elements of the data monetizer’s business model without undermining the core purpose of the business.

Maintaining a sustainable position in the market requires that all the activities your business undertakes have a high degree of consistency. For example, if the mechanics of your company’s business model are based on keeping your costs low internally in order to provide a value-based alternative to competitors, would the pursuit of the new opportunity be consistent with this model?  Would it reinforce it? Spend time articulating the core purpose of your business and identifying the principles of your strategy that should not be compromised, then evaluate the new opportunities for their fit within this to minimize your risk.

If you’re going to pursue opportunities to cross industries and monetize customer data, identify the levers that will create scale within an opportunity.  One of the curses of belonging to a multi-billion dollar organization is that opportunities worth (just) a billion may not move the needle enough to get behind.  Don’t lose months to detailed business cases, but do the back-of-the-napkin version to make sure the upshot is worth it to your business.  Don’t constrain measures of scale to just total available market; attach rates and pull-through for other (and potentially much larger) sources of revenue could be key levers in the modern operator’s business model.

Operators will be much better positioned to create new levels of value for consumers if they play a substantial role in the tangible products people use. Easy to say, but this represents a significant obstacle for operators, who traditionally haven’t focused on making tangible consumer goods. So how can operators respond to this phenomenon in a way that adheres to its core purpose?

Becoming more tangible doesn’t necessarily require that other core businesses that are unseen go away, but if a brand is to elevate its status, gain deep consumer loyalty, and earn the opportunity to generate greater and greater value for a consumer, it needs to remain as close to tangible as possible to ensure that users attribute their experience to that brand.  For operators, just one step removed from the consumer’s device, this leap may simply be a matter of revisiting positioning and branding strategies to shift consumer focus away from “five nines” and pipes, toward world class experiences that evoke strong emotion and loyalty, in order to gain the required mindshare.

At frog, we’ve learned that one of the most effective ways to prove a concept is to just do it. Market conditions change rapidly, and the timeline of the innovation lifecycle is shorter today than ever before. As the flow of personal data increases exponentially, mobile operators are in an advantageous position to seize the opportunity to monetize personal data and create value.  They can use their widespread connectivity and a broad consumer base to create, leverage and scale up new services.
To do that, operators must look beyond existing business models and frameworks to seek new partnerships, revenue sources and consumer segments.  They must be open to crossing industries and domains, and most of all, focusing on the needs of the end consumer and what services and experiences would be of value to them.


Published with permission from design mind


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