Category Archives: location based app

From Tech Failures to Tech successes

This video from the RSA really resonated with me.  Tim Harford talks about the challenges of success and how long it takes to reach success by failing over and over again.  It very much reminds me about what is happening in the social media app landscape right now.

Problem solving in a complex world


In the social media world, we are really critical about applications that rise quickly to glory and then fade almost as soon as they appear.  Think about all of those apps you signed up for – apps that you never use now.  Friendster, where are  you now?  Why didn’t we fall upon SixDegrees when it was launched in 1997?  Think about all that hardware you rushed to buy – which is now becoming obsolete. Think about the announcements from Apple earlier this week, which might become obsolete soon.   Think about the development work to make these applications work.  Think about all of the mistakes to make the product better.  Think about all the failures in product design which have been modified and improved.

As Tim mentions, Gutenburg ,who made the moveable type printing press went out of business.  Nobody wanted to buy one of his bibles and his business failed. Thank goodness he persisted.  Thank goodness Tech Bubbles didn’t exist then.  thank goodness Gutenburg built upon his failure and persisted with his printing press, modifying the output until he hit upon something that made him some money. 

This has so many parallels with the Silicon Valley start-ups who innovate, fail, innovate, fail.  It’s a good job they keep on trying.  Their apps might be years ahead of their time…

The Barcode was invented in 1948.  Back then, computers weren’t capable of reading and processing the information.  Complex problems solved – but the infrastructure just wasn’t there.  Now think about barcodes that can now be embedded with social objects and information, a simple app on your smartphone which allows barcodes to become information repositories.  Thank goodness someone gave the barcode a second try.

And some of these obsolete apps will reappear, they’ve failed in their current state, they are being modified, adjusted, and made better.  They are evolving through failure.

And as Tim says, its only through failure, you can eventually succeed. Whether it’s printing presses, toasters or mobile apps. 


Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.



The Rise of the new Social Shopper

Image Credit: Flickr


When we think about how we used to make online purchases, its amazing how far we’ve come from the ‘Click to Buy’ transaction a few years ago.  Social commerce has brought the opportunities to make the emotional connection with the vendor before we buy. The new way of classifying goods for sale democratises data, allowing it to be shared with our friends and colleagues. 

Good marketing campaigns get much further reach and a greater awareness than ever before, and peer recommendations encourage further sales.

The challenge that marketers have is our current mind-set.  We’re unsure what’s happening to the economy.  When will it recover?  Will it recover?  How are we going to manage right now.  Our survival instinct kicks in, we tighten our belts and we stop purchasing the very things that marketers are trying to get us to buy.  We search for more affordable things – and this drives our behaviour. 

We use comparison websites, we surf channels for the best deals.  Our purchase decisions are all driven by the bargains we can get.  Consumers are often not making the decision to buy something in the shops – the impulse to buy is delayed until they have done some research online, read the reviews about the product before they make their decision.

The way we shop has changed too.  There are 3 roles that consumers fall into:

  • The end user:  For them shopping is done almost exclusively online.  They shop from home and they use price comparison websites extensively
  • The shopper:  They walk around town, visiting shop by shop to see what’s on offer.  They then use the web to see if they can get a better deal online
  • The buyer:  They buy physical items in real shops.  Yes, they’ll shop around, but they make the purchase at a physical store.  Its a real experience for them

The challenge for the marketer is that the power has shifted from the brand to the consumer.  The consumer makes the decisions about where, when and how they will shop.  With over 300 million applications for smartphones and tablet devices like the iPad, media has shifted from Marketing media to My media, to Our media (through sharing).  The right technology allows consumers find the best product for them and buy it at the right brand.  It allows them to build a relationship with these brands. 

So how do you break through all of your competitors, and the competitive clutter to target your audience with relevant messaging from the brand?  how do you enlist your brand advocates to spread the word on your behalf?

Brand advocates are really important in your marketing and advertising efforts.  Getting a good dialogue with your brand evangelists as I talk about in my book is key to broadening your message out beyond the first tier of connections.  Your message gets shared and amplified.

Factor in these 5 concepts to connect with your customer.

  • Every customer has a lifestyle which goes way beyond your product.  Study their lifestyles to really understand how to market to them.  If you know your customer

    well, and know their lifestyles, then you will know what they want to buy/

  • As a marketer, you have an opportunity to delight customers by providing timely and relevant content in the right place – on the right device.  Make sure your content is compelling and interesting.
  • Social Coupons which can be shared – and can go viral are much better than paper based coupons.  They have a huge reach and return.  See the reach that Threshers had with their very successful viral coupon campaign and the associated commentary here and here wondering whether it was a genuine mistake or a fake viral campaign
  • Consumer promotions and brand advertising work well together and have a higher return that just a TV campaign on its own.  Think about a co-ordinated approach similar to the Old Spice US marketing campaign
  • Give them the campaigns that they want- in the form factor they want – on the device that they want.  Don’t make them change their behaviour to suit you


Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach. 


Strategic Value of Social Media workshop


Image credit: flickr

I’m delivering a strategic workshop in London showing you how to get your social media strategy up and running and aligned with your business.   So many social media courses focus on the tools used and focus very much on the how to.  I’m going to look at the evolution of Web 2.0 and talk about why your strategy is so important to your business. 

This course will benefit decision makers in your organisation who want to implement social media correctly throughout the business – avoiding the pitfalls and challenges that companies without a strategy have encountered.

This is an intensive session that incorporates subjects covered in my strategy and architecture workshops for clients.  It will give you comprehensive guidance on the steps you need to take to get things right first time.


This session is a one day workshop in Uxbridge and the session price includes a signed copy of my book for every attendee.  Here are the session details:


The Strategic Value of Social Media: Changing the face of customer and partner connections  

Social media is not a fad. This is not something that will pass you or your company by. Social media has far reaching effects that will permeate into every business, reaching all job roles. It is worldwide and pervasive. The new way of communicating will not go away. So what are you doing about it? We will discuss strategic practices from leading companies, review what other company leaders in B2B and B2C are doing today to integrate community marketing and social media to engage, share and drive conversations with customers and partners online. You will gain insights on how to leverage community, engagement, marketing and using social components to drive your marketing efforts to capture mindshare and increase customer satisfaction. We will start to define your outline implementation plan to include advocates and community influencers and consider cross team roles and responsibilities to execute your strategy.

The workshop will cover:

  • How to use social networking as a business enabler to generate business impact
  • Defining your social community strategy and engagement framework
  • Security and privacy,
  • Policies and guidelines
  • Social commerce and Social CRM Issues, reputation management and crisis management
  • Tools and strategies to amplify your brand

Benefits of attending
This workshop will help you achieve your goals using social media and Web 2.0 to find and engage with customers, identify your influencers and gain advocates for your brand. You learn how to improve satisfaction and perception about your brand and create a vibrant community using Social Media to amplify your message and improve the quality of your connection to your customers.

I’m only running a couple of sessions of this class, so I’d urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and leave with a workable and effective framework for your strategy and a social action plan for your business.


Social Commerce opportunities with mobile check-ins

This is quite an interesting infographic from SxSW courtesy of the Next Web.  It certainly demonstrates the human need to connect with others at public places like events.  Have a look at the ice cream truck checkins!

Location based devices and location based apps give B2C companies an amazing opportunities to provide offers, discounts and coupons.  There’s a great compete angle here too – imagine how much business the competitor to the ice cream truck could have got, with strategically placed signage or location based offers.

Imagine a location based groupon app offering competitive offers to customers in the immediate vicinity.  Imagine an app with an alert system whenever someone checks in. 

There’s such a great opportunity out there for retailers to give amazing offers to their customers using the most powerful tool you carry in your pocket – your mobile phone.

The future of mobile commerce is in the palm of your hand… Smile