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10,000,000,000'?¦10,000,000,001'?¦10,000,000,002'?¦

Last week, the 10 billionth app was downloaded from the Apple store. Remarkable really. If brands were not racing to develop an app before, the race is officially on as this news is sure to push any brands that have been holding off over the mobile edge. Before your brand dips its toe into the app waters, a few questions to check off the list for marketers and developers: Why an app? Yes, an obvious question but so often with new technology we 'just want it'. We feel the need to keep up, show that our brand is on trend. Clearly the world loves apps 10 billion times over, but not all apps. There are many apps that were created by well meaning, hard working marketers that have yet to get more than a few downloads. Will the app fill a need or will be for entertainment only? An industry specific tool Does the app allow the medical community to share data easier in emergency rooms? Does the app allow architects easy access to solutions to complex mathematics while on the job site? A fun tool, but a tool none the less Golf tips that can be accessible on the 7th hole when the ball just keeps going to the right no matter what you do @%!& There is a clear path to success (and optimization) if the app fulfills a very specific need. Not to simplify it, but find a real need that matches with your industry and then challenge your developers to make it user friendly. Entertainment: This is where success is both harder to control and can be more broadly defined. This is the challenge for the marketer. If it's for entertainment ' be true to entertainment. Don't say you want to create the most fun app ever, measure it on downloads and then ask: "but where is the product tag line in the app?" It is user friendly? No choice here. If it's a bad idea, it won't matter. If it's a good idea and it's not user friendly, someone will rebuild it, only better. Make sure the end game for the brand and the user is clear and achievable.

Taking Stock: Ode to the Client

I realized today that I love my clients. It's not that I actively had negative thoughts, but like many long term relationships, the focus can turn to the day to day items, keeping life and business moving' did I send that status (what's for dinner), meeting agendas (is there time for a date night on Sat?) and even varying points of view (pick up the wet towel!). Actual like or dislike on a high scale doesn't always factor in. Gift giving is also something that spans different relationships. Something happened during this holiday shopping season ' I found myself excited to be picking out what I hoped were personal and thoughtful gifts for my clients. I truly wanted them to be pleased. And not in the ' 'I hope they think I am so funny and clever so they see my marketing value way'. I mean I wanted to give them something they LIKE ' outside of how it reflects on me. What happened?!?! Here's what happened: we talked. It's been a long few years for marketers, media vendors and brands. Sometimes it takes economic anxiety to get a client engaged. It definitely takes an engaged client to motivate an agency. This engagement proved the old adage: 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going' and that's what we've done. New ways of looking at programs, testing of new tactics, shifting dollars for efficiencies. Even setting aside funds for research so the tests are true. My brands challenged their AMP Agency teams and we came through it together. I love that. I love them.

OMG! My likes matter. I mean really, really matter.

Last week, I was on the hunt for brown boots. I need brown boots that go over my jeans up to the knee. I've got cash in my pocket and a hot outfit without boots. Dear shoe stores, look out! I went to a very big mall and sorted through endless options. Let's say I reviewed 30 pairs, seriously considering five. I was feeling a bit panicked' how to choose? How to make the right decision among the endless options in this ocean of brown boots!? Now let's pretend that everyone I know and love was standing behind me telling me what they would buy. Perhaps what they have already bought. Is this helpful? I am shopping alone (or so I thought) strolling through and WHAM!, there is my third cousin's wife's choice with a blinking star on it. I love it and you should too. Here's why: 1.) My third cousin's wife has great taste and I always wondered where she shopped. 2.)There are many times when a choice, even boots, is six-to-one, half dozen-to-another. But to someone else, the choice is much more clear ' its two-to-one and 10-to-another. 3.) My bestie shows up at my party with AMAZING (said in high falsetto) boots. If I had only known... To be free of buyers' remorse! 4.) My opinions will be shared ' I like to tell my friends about the good, the bad and the ugly of everything ' brown boots, charities, TV shows that I want them to watch so we can talk about them. It also matters to marketers: 1.) Happy Customers. Generally the more informed a purchase is; the more satisfied the buyer. That consumer is more likely to become a brand advocate, 'like' a product on facebook, have it show up on google, and around we go. 2.) More data. We're already swimming in a sea of 'interesting' data but linking 'likes' that show up in search to clicks on the brand site of that same page adds a tangible layer to the power of social influence. 3.) Deeper Conversations. While more information might delay a decision, if a consumer can go back to their friend, ask questions, talk it over that shopping experience just became a brand experience. 4.) Empowerment. When consumer love of a brand (or hate) can be easily expressed, the consumer is empowered. Dear brand, be good. 5.) Conversation conversion. A consumer might see that a trusted friend 'liked' something they specifically, and subjectively, do not like. What a chance to let a brand advocate turn a negative to a positive...or at least a neutral. Fears that facebook will take over the world aside ' easier sharing of information from friends can lead to a smoother and more beneficial experience for everyone.

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