Category Archives: Marketing

My best weekend read: Web Designs for Different Generations

My favourite blog post from this weekend’s reading list, by far, is Web design across different generations by Danny Bluestone, published on Econsultancy.

The article focuses on website design and how important it is to know who your user is and what they need from you.

Know your user, and don't make them think #greatwebsitedesign
Know your user, and don’t make them think #greatwebsitedesign

In my experience it can be tough enough to identify and then agree internally who your main user is, never mind keeping them front of mind during a long, arduous development process.

That’s why the five categories of website users proposed by Bluestone, based primarily on age, is useful.

The categories are:

  1. The Silent Generation (born in 1929-1945) lived just after World War II
  2. Baby Boomers (1946-1964) during the economic recovery
  3. The sceptical Generation X (1965-1979)
  4. The more technologically savvy Generation Y (1980-1999)
  5. The immersed Digital Natives (from 2000)

Like all simple customer categorisations there will be boundaries that blur and characteristics that don’t fit but having a place to start – and come back to – during those internal discussions is very useful.

Bluestone highlights the different  needs and expectations each type of user has of a website, and how they are likely to use it, for example:

“This generation [Silent Generation] is likely to blame themselves and give up when a website fails to perform, rather than searching for another option. They have a hesitant, careful approach to websites, double-checking forms before submission, so it takes substantially more time to complete tasks. “

As well as the usability elements raised in this article* I was struck by how different the branding – visuals, tone of voice, language used – might need to be for the different  categories.

*another great read about website design is Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think.


The rock star partnership of sales and marketing revisited

This week I’m going to a seminar on marketing for SMEs and entrepreneurs run by Ulster Bank in conjunction with SmallBusinessCan which promises to be an interesting affair.  Some of the topics under discussion on the SmallBusinessCan website will be addressed, such as:

  1. Marketing or sales?
  2. Social Media
  3. E-commerce, designing your website, app or website?
  4. The classics
  5. Cloud, social media, software and systems

I’m looking forward to hearing what the panel will say about the first topic.  One of SmallBusinessCan’s founders says “My personal view is that a good sales person is worth 10 marketers.”

First of all it should never be an either/or.  Both disciplines have their place in any organisation and, at their best, complement each other well.  I wrote about this before (and not just so I could post a photo of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in full flow).

Secondly, it is better to make selling everyone’s job rather than marketing.  Developing everyone’s ability to spot a sales opportunity and nurture it to a certain point before passing to the sales team will reap more dividends.  The same cannot necessarily be said for marketing though.  It’s a rare outfit that allows everyone in the organisation to contribute to the Facebook page or Twitter account although hats off to those who do.  This requires good training, trust and a blame free culture.

A recent survey by The Channel Partnership in conjunction with The Leadership Foundation found that over 80% of sales and marketing professionals believe their activities are not aligned, no doubt having a significant impact on the bottom line.  More than half said that the lack of a clear strategy was a key factor in the development of co-ordinated plans, as was lack of time, budgets, structured processes and senior direction.

Hubspot, the lead generation software people, has abandoned the traditional silo structure altogether in favour of wrapping their sales and marketing functions around buying personas, effectively banishing any ‘us and them’, ‘sales v marketing’ rifts.  It must work for them – they’ve recently raised $35m investment money to expand into Europe.

So marketing isn’t quite dead yet, then.

What Quora says about how to market an app

Over a million apps but how do you market yours?
Over a million apps but how do you market yours?

The global apps industry continues to grow massively – iTunes approved it’s millionth app back in November – yet it is still in its infancy.  It’s a very exciting place to be working right now.

For hard working appreneurs the only stats that matter are the number of downloads and the rate of returning users  – these are the magic numbers that investors want to see.

And getting there means marketing.  Unfortunately there is a derth of case studies, research, advice and online chat about how to do this.

Most of the marketing advice tends to be either:

1.  Buy online advertising to get your users (as eshewed by those platforms with ad space to sell) or

2.  Get an influential person with large social reach to promote your app (as advised by smug people who’ve achieved this).

Neither of which is a valid strategy for most cash and time strapped start ups.

So, here’s a summary of a thread I found on Quora with a bit more useful information about how to market an app.

Essential actions to market your app

1.  Identify your target customers and the pain point your app is solving for them

2.  Articulate this in a value proposition and snappy description

Must do actions to market your app

1.  Provide awesome screenshots (not to be under estimated)

2.  Write a press release and other good PR fodder (research stats etc) and make easily available.  Post them on news distribution sites like, and

3.  Use social media to create a buzz – blogs, Facebook and Twitter were the platforms mentioned

4.  Write on and create new threads on forums like MacRumors, Touch Arcade and Tuaw

5.  Capture email addresses as soon as possible and ask early adopters for reviews

6.  Engage with app influencers to secure reviews

7.  Launch in phases

8.  Identify your (SEO) keywords so your app is easy to find in the App Store

Jury’s out on these actions to market your app

1.  Buy advertising space

2.  Focus all your energy on marketing within the App Store

3.  Learn how to do it properly by building one app purposely to throw away (Angry Birds was Rovio’s 57th game)

4.  Have a lite and paid for version of your app

Have-fun-but-not-high-hopes actions to market your app

1.  Get it featured on The Big Bang Theory

2.  Ask Stephen Fry to play with it

One marketing tactic missed from the Quora thread is the importance of email marketing to drive downloads and engagement.  Another is the clever (ie neither stalkerish nor  so infrequent it’s irrelevant) use of push notifications within the app to drive repeat use.

It stands to reason that best practice for app marketing will evolve in 2013 though, like SEO marketing, it may well be a moving beast as the boundaries and rules set by the App Store change.  But what then of Android?  Time will tell.

4 steps to a social media strategy (infographic)

The fifth and final infographic I wanted to share this week is another on social media.

This deceptively simple visual gives a good overview of what marketers need to consider when putting together a social media strategy.  It’s a good attempt at removing some of the complexity that can creep in.

I also like the objectives, strategies and tactics approach that’s implicit here.


Source:  Thanks to Marketing Profs for the share.

My infographic blog post series kicked off on Monday with The Social Sickness (social media personas) and Tuesday’s was Opinion Burnout (customer surveys).  On Wednesday there was The Evolution of Time Management Tools (self explainatory) and Thursday saw Common Phobias of Creatives (ditto).  I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

Opinion burnout (infographic)

In the second of my week of infographics here’s one I like about customer surveys.

In the olden days marketers used use postal surveys, people in the street with clipboards and inserts in newspapers and magazines as tactics to garner opinon from customers and prospects.

From creation and execution through to collation and consideration, quick and cheap it wasn’t.  Thought through, considered and pondered over?  Most times.  Maybe.

Nowadays, thankfully, we have ready made audiences primed and willing to converse.  We have templates for surveys and advice on question structure.  We have the internet to make it fast and free.  Which makes it (a bit too) easy.

But, as the infographic shows, American adults were invited to complete 7 billion surveys in a year, so it’s small wonder many get ignored.  The simple pointers in this visual are a reminder of how we can make ours stand out from the crowd and thefore increase the chance of completion.

opinion burnout

Image originally posted on Zengage, The Zendesk Blog

Source:  Thanks to Zendesk.

Yesterday’s infographic was about social media sickness.  If you don’t want to miss the other infographics this week just pop your email address into the box on the top right to receive these blog updates straight to your inbox.

The Social Sickness (infographic)

I’ve been collecting some great infographics for a while and want to share one here each day this week, since it’s nearly Christmas.

Today’s blog is about everyone’s favourite topic – social media.

Social media is part of most marketing job roles nowadays.  If you’re always online via your smart phone or tablet the temptation to throw out a little tweet, post, pin or share for your job when you’re online with your friends and family anyway is huge.

Here’s a list of ten social media personas and the unhealthy relationships they have with social media.  How many of these bad habits have you fallen in to?*


*hands up, I ‘fess up to one of these.  Ok, two.

Thanks to Marketo for the infographic and Rohit Bhargava for the original idea.

Tomorrow’s infographic is about customer surveys and how they can backfire.  If you don’t want to miss it pop your email address into the box on the top right to receive these blog updates straight to your inbox.