Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Mobile Monday Anniversary Barcelona

Rudy De Waele was kind enough to invite me to the Mobile Monday Barcelona first anniversary event on Monday. Great venue, cool city ...

I met Ajit Jaokar, a really great guy with an always-on blackberry keeping on top of his enormous inbox, writing notes for his blog Open Gardens, and responding to requests for speaking engagements to talk about mobile web 2.0, and Lucia Garate, a lovely lady from Vodafone who presented their Betavine project.

In the panel discussions, one question from someone in the audience that I remember in particular was: "For mass-market offerings, particularly those using social-networking, how can you achieve critical mass? How can you make money?"

In the blogosphere there is lots of talk about both the technical aspects of increasing user interaction, content generation and viral spread through the use of APIs, widgets, plugins, mashups, referencing, blogging and so on, and the marketing aspects of how to develop a unique selling proposition and deliver a targeted product that offers a real benefit to customers. It’s important to remember the basics of product and marketing strategy before jumping into using the latest techniques to boost your effectiveness in execution.

Those companies that have already developed a huge online presence are often the best placed to extend their social networking services to mobile and achieve a critical mass by playing off their existing online user base. Of course their particular service has to translate or extend well to mobile usage. Alternatively a company could offer a service that takes 10 seconds to understand and use and create lots of effective buzz using a very simple message (for example Skype: ‘Everyone around the world can talk for free’ or Twitter: ‘What are you doing now?’). Thirdly a company can target a slice of the market with a service that meets a particular social networking need such as dating, keeping in touch with friends, IM, business networking, and so on and focus on being the best.

The big companies ought to have found a way to make money online already. Going mobile is expensive. The ten-second services typically go for free with the hope of finding a business model later when they have gazillions of users. Few succeed thanks to the critical mass problem. And the targeted services should stand a good chance of success if they carve out their territory, relentlessly focus on their user’s needs and apply the rule of market pressure = force / area. The more resources you focus on a more targeted segment of users, the greater your impact.

0 commentaires: