Mobile Strategy: Know Your Customer

decline-of-web-rise-of-apps-02-300x200It is an old matra dating back to Socrates who said not only to know thyself, but to know the soul of your counterpart, in this case your customer.  When new medium such as mobile is introduced, this throws a new variable into the mix.  Different audiences will react and adapt differently and it’s up to you to evaluate the behavior of your target market, given this change, and adapt your company to meet their evolving needs.

Let’s take video rentals for example.  Blockbuster was very poor at understanding their customers.  When DVD came in, they were slow to switch from VHS.  When downloading came in Blockbuster didn’t have an offering, but Netflix, who was renting DVDs via mail, saw the opportunity to evaluate their customer’s behavior given new variables.  As bandwidth improved, suddenly it became feasible to stream video entertainment real-time over the internet.  Brilliant!  Netflix went after it, and now they are the leader.  But how did they know to do this?  The knew their customer.

There are many ways of getting to know your customer, but one way is to watch what techies do.  If techies like streaming video and have a great experience in 2005, then perhaps if a company made this easy to use and offered it in 2007, it might take off.  Did Blockbuster think of this?  They had a me-too offering to complete with Netflix, but it didn’t go anywhere because they were late to market.

Furthermore, Blockbuster was plagued with operational problems that any customer satisfaction survey could have caught.  For example, if a customer hadn’t rented a movie for a few months, they needed to fill out a whole new application before they could rent movies again.  A lot of customers revolted and walked out.

Finally, knowing your customer involves seeking them out and interacting with them.  For example, the Wall Street Journal today said that P&G has seen poor results in China.  The CEO, David Taylor, said that the company hasn’t kept pace with the market there.  “He said he spent time at the home of a 33-year-old mother who doesn’t buy P&G products which she considered old and outdated and not high-end enough.”  Therefore, more than brilliance it takes energy to reach out to your audience.

Mobile is now changing the world faster than any other revolution.  How is your target market using mobile?  How is mobile changing their environment?  It’s closing old doors and creating new opportunities.  Do you know how your world will change in the next year?  Best to put forward some energy and find out.

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Podcast Directories: Places to Submit Your Podcast

I haven’t blogged on this site for a while, so here goes.  This site is currently half broken and we’ll be shaping it up in the next few days.  I’m in the process of submitting a podcast to directories and thought, “Why not share my practices?”  I’m going to update this post as we go, so it’s “living content.” The first thing you should know is iTunes podcast directory rules the bunch. I’ve already submitted there back in December 0f 2013.  You can still get a significant amount of audience from other directories and a lot of inbound links (back links), so here goes.  I’m submitting the podcast Mobile App Development TV.

Word to the wise:  Be careful with your submission!  Don’t throw the task over the wall to your intern.  If you mess up your podcast submission, it can be very hard to correct and you’ll miss out on the audience and links you could have had.  Keep track of what you submit and to who.

Podcast Alley – I used to submit there (I’ve run a podcasting agency since 2005) and I looked there recently and I don’t see any updates since 2010.  It looks dead.  Skip.

Podcast411 – This used to be an OK site, but most of the content hasn’t been updated in years and I no longer see a place to submit podcasts.

Alltop – They have a podcast section and here is the submission form.  The site is run by Guy Kawasaki.  You need to create an account and this will create your Alltop page.  Here’s my Alltop page.  Submitted on 2/14/14.  We’ll see when it shows up.  Update: They approved it later in the day!  After looking at the contenders, it seems like you have to have pretty good content to get listed here.

Ok, that’s all for today.  More later (stay tuned).

Ok, here’s more.  It’s Saturday and  I’m going to try for a few directories listed by Andrew Zarian.  I almost forgot, as FYI, to submit to iTunes here is the link.  Be very careful with your submission here.  Unlike a web page where you can “hack it until it works,” a podcast submission is more like submitting a press release: it goes out and you can’t get it back.  For example, Chevy Volt botched their podcast submission in 2008 and it’s still up there in the iTunes store as a broken feed (it’s 2014 now).

Zune Marketplace – Ok, the Zune device is dead, but the media distribution software lives on, and according to Andrew Zarian, you can get some good audience.  I almost didn’t do it.  There is no web directory for Zune and therefore no “link love” (inbound links).  You need to download the Zune client from here.  Inside the podcast section, you’ll see a button to “submit a podcast” so I clicked it and submitted mine (2/15/14).  In order to download a podcast you need to create a profile – I didn’t do that; however, the directory looks active so we’ll see what happens.  By the way, there is no way to tell how many downloads a particular directory is providing, unless you bifurcate your feed and submit a unique feed to each directory – then watch your web log files.  If you want me to do that, please let me know (it’s a lot of work – email me: john at [domain] dot com).  I’ll then report the results here and that will provide a sense for which directories are worth bothering with.  I suppose one positive thing about the Zune podcast directory is it looks like you can get podcasts on the Xbox.

Blackberry Podcast Submission - Ok, I just submitted (2/15/14), and it’s in pending status. You need to create an account and they want to be sure you own the copyright to the content.  Here are their technical specifications, and FAQ.

Stitcher - Looks like this one is audio only and they have an app to help distribute podcast.  Thankfully, we also produce an MP3 version of our show.  Here is my audio only feed.  Submit your podcast here.  They have a long contract.  I submitted on 2/15/14 – we’ll see when they get back to me.

TuneIn Radio – To get listed, you send an email here.  Include your feed, description and Podcast Name.  It looks like it’s audio only.  They also have a Broacaster Help page.  Wow.  I heard back from them within 10 minutes, and that’s on a Saturday!  They say my podcast will be live here.

doubleTwist – I checked out their site and this looks like music only, which doesn’t apply to me, so I’ll skip.

Details About My Podcast Submission:

As FYI, here is my feed URL for Mobile App Development TV:  I include this because maybe some of you don’t know what a feed looks like.

Things to clear up:  Most people seem to have the impression that podcasts are only audio podcasts.  That all changed in 2007 when video podcasts were introduced, so a podcast and be an audio podcast, a video podcast or both.  I’ve been speaking at trade shows on podcasting since 2006, so I’m not a newbie here.  The definition of a podcasts is:
- Audio or video.  If audio it is always in mp3 format.  If video it is mp4 or mov format.
- Syndicated.  This means you create an RSS file (really simple syndication) and your podcast is distributed via podcast directories.  iTunes is the foremost podcast directory.  A lot of folks that don’t understand podcasting put a downloadable or streaming audio/video file on their site and call it a podcast.  It’s not and these folks are making a fool of themselves in front of a social media audience.  The missing ingredient is RSS.  You can have it on your website but it needs to be syndicated to call it a podcast.
- Free.  If you have to pay to get it, it’s a paid download, not a podcast.  I didn’t invent this stuff, but this is the way the podcasting standard evolved and how directories work.  There is no mechanism to pay for a podcast, either in a podcast directory or a podcast catcher (client such as iTunes). iTunes follows the conventions as they evolved and it is impossible to list a paid podcast in the iTunes podcast directory. This belongs in the TV show or Movies section if a user has to pay for it.  If you want to have a paid download, that’s fine, but don’t call it a podcast – you’ll just be showing the world that you don’t know what you’re doing.

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New Report Shows Business Related Online Video Consumption Increasing

Forbes just came out with a study showing C-level executives are using video more and more for business purposes.  Among the insights are that executives (especially young executives) are influenced to action after watching a business video.  Also interesting is that executives are slightly more likely to watch videos on Facebook than YouTube.  The top four categories of videos consumed on business sites are business news reports (74%) business insights/expert advice (64%) Speeches, event presentations, panel discussions (57%) and case studies (56%).  Still older executives (50 or older) do not seem to be as comfortable with video as younger executives

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