Given Suzanne’s work history, I am pretty surprised that she has not tried this kind of thing before. Perhaps it’s down to the near immediate success of her latest project, Frugl, the London Events app for people on a budget, taking up too much of her time. Frugl has to be one of the best marketed products on the London Tech scene right now, and we will shortly examine why, but still, 20 years as a top PR exec at a range of boutique agencies, working with clients such as Warner Bros, Sony and Universal, founding her own agency, working on award winning campaigns, including one featuring the character Sportacus, once pictured shaking First Lady Michelle Obama’s hand, as PR and Marketing Director at Lazytown, and it might have crossed her mind before to share some of her knowledge and experiences?
Not until now. Perhaps she had had trouble finding the right assistant before, but having bumped into Haggerston Times at a recent Start-Up Accelerator pitching event, knew that she had finally found someone with just the right blend of dynamic presentation skills and name tag writing ability! Hmm, anyway I made sure I was at the Kings Head private members club in plenty of time, before Suzanne sent me to fetch the daily newspapers (“all of them?” “All of them”), and for the next hour I learned more about the newspaper industry than I ever thought I would know.
Suzanne has put together a fantastic presentation covering every aspect of marketing a new product; not specifically an app, although most of the 30 strong audience who arrived at 6.30 pm were here because they wanted to learn from her experience of promoting Frugl. I’ll try to briefly summarise some of her main points below, but this will be no substitute for being there, and fortunately Suzanne is planning to repeat the seminar a few more times when she can spare the time. So read on, and watch this space!
Rule number one: tell a story! So, imagine it’s your first year at a provincial University, but your back in London for the holidays and several of your new friends have all congregated in Piccadilly Circus, delighted to be there but without a clue how they are going to spend the evening.
Or, it’s been a long day at the office, it’s sunny outside, and you and a few friends agree to meet and share a bottle of cool white wine. Soho? Highbury Fields? Hackney?
Or even: you’ve rented your flat on Airbnb, 3 tired looking Italians have arrived at your flat, but instead of hitting the hay, they are already planning a night out; where can you send them to show off London at its best?
So what’s the solution to all 3 of these problems? Frugl, of course! Download the app, see what’s hot, and be on your way knowing that your night out’s not going to break the bank! Of course, what I am trying to demonstrate here in my clumsy way is that when you market your product or app, you must make it relevant to your target audience by telling an interesting or engaging story, asking them to consider their options, and finally revealing that your product alone is the only effective solution to this most common of problems! What choice do they have but to buy or download your offering, unless they want to miss out on all the fun.
Rule number 2: Make sure you are ready! You need to be firm with yourself here; if your app still has flaws, push notifications not up and running yet, UX not perfect, then hold off on the marketing push. You want to be able to sing the praises of your new product, not apologise and explain that in 6 months everything will be running smoothly. If you do that, you’re marketing material will go straight in the bin! Where it belongs. Only contact the press if: you are 100% ready to launch, you’ve made a significant hire, you’ve just won some investment, or you have just released a new killer feature. Otherwise, keep your money in your pocket.
Rule number 3: Hustle, Hustle, Hustle! – There really is no substitute for getting yourself noticed and meeting people face to face. Yes, it’s time consuming, and you may not feel that presenting is your greatest skill, but people will always be receptive to hearing about clever and useful new ideas. There may be 10 or 15 others out there with a similar offering, and investors will notice what events you are seen at, and are even more likely to note the ones you don’t attend. Don’t lose out, and always make sure you talk to everyone in the room, because you never know where your next big opportunity or client will come from. If the idea of talking about your business all day doesn’t inspire you, imagine how your audience, who know far less about you and your product, will feel! Keep the energy up!
There is a lot more I could say about “Promoting your app on a shoestring”, but instead I will just say look out for the next seminar, I’ll make sure I let you know when it is, and don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn from an undisputed master of marketing. The networking afterwards is great too, and I certainly felt I gained more knowledge than I was able to give out. Look forward to upping my game for next time.
MusicTech: How is Technology changing the face of the music business?
I was fortunate to attend the first half of this event yesterday, which featured a star studded panel including Britney Bean, founder of Songdrop, and Richard Klee, Chief Product Officer at MusicQubed, amongst others, some delightful nibbles, and much needed liquid refreshment on such a hot day!
Again, I learned a great deal, made a couple of useful contacts, and benefitted from spending time with many of the “digerati”, who, from what I could gather, still see a bright future for music platforms and sponsored downloads from as little as £1 per week. The panel clearly knew their stuff. One takeaway I felt was a small shame, however, was that I didn’t detect any real enthusiasm from the panel about the music itself!
The Tech industry are renowned for being big music fans, and have done as much as any industry to liberate and democratise our tastes for music, making downloading, streaming and listening to music essentially a free service that anyone can use.
My 2 pence worth, and no more than that, for my musical tastes are primitive to say the least, is that the record industry could do with falling in love with the music and musicians again! You don’t have to see yourselves as the gatekeepers of good music, those days are surely over, nor a council with responsibility for good taste. Don’t hold the tide of new music back, let us listen to it, and the monetisation will take care of itself, surely?