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Rant: All aboard the iPhone Bandwagon

May 29, 2009

All the studies say it’s the thing to do. Every brand under the sun seems to have jumped on the bandwagon.

However is it just me, or am I sick of campaigns using the iPhone?

Just recently I have been noticing an extraordinary number of news stories relating to brands advertising on the iPhone, or setting up a iPhone website, or even having a branded iPhone app. But not only is this market now becoming saturated, a lot of these campaigns just do not make sense. A men’s lifestyle brand recently launched an iPhone application targeting businessmen. Now forgive me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t a campaign via Blackberrys be a little bit more specific to their audience? It may be a sweeping statement assuming that all businessmen have Blackberrys, but I would bet my bottom dollar that more have the RIM devices than iPhones! Just because you can do some cool and exciting things on an iPhone app, will that make it a success with their target audience?

I was reading this article the other day entitled “Mobile Marketing should target the iPhone demographic”, and I questioned as to why the be all and end all of Mobile marketing should be considered the ‘iPhone demographic’. Mark Earls, aka Hermeister commented “I just hate the jargon and the superficiality of the thinking…” – This is far too true.

Advertisers and brands need to be made increasingly aware that mobile marketing isn’t encapsulated by simply having a branded iPhone application; nor should mobile users, or even a specific group of handset users, be considered a ‘demographic’. The power of mobile is being able to define an audience. It should be used wisely and not ‘off the cuff’ or for the sake of being seen to be using mobile. The iPhone is no doubt being banded around by agencies as the ‘one stop shop’ for demonstrating a shift into the mobile space. But to be honest, I am beginning to lose respect for those people doing so.

I am a huge champion for mobile and actively encourage everyone to integrate it into their broader marketing strategy, but there still needs to be a process. Think long and hard about a mobile strategy; your audience, how it will integrate with the rest of the campaign and what you want to gain from the campaign (brand awareness, product sales etc).

There is no doubt that the iPhone as a platform is a lot easier to exploit and produce for, but success never came from taking the easy option. So all you innovators out there, lets start seeing some decent apps for Blackberry; hell the Nokia OVI store is empty, lets start filling that up!

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible, is to venture a little into the impossible”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. neilpotter permalink
    May 29, 2009 10:29 am

    Top post. Couldn’t agree more. Another example I saw the other day was Cobra Beer doing an i-phone app to follow on the success of the Carling i-beer one that’s in the top downloaded of all time listing… Even my girlfriend (who is’nt interested in digital at all) commented that most of the apps she had seen for the i-phone were gimmicky and no more than a novelty.

    It really does seem that brands are just looking to tick that ‘mobile’ box and an i-phone app is an obvious way in.

  2. merkaba33 permalink
    May 29, 2009 11:28 am

    I agree….to a point.

    iPhone users are a target market. They may be diverse (and thus not be a distinct demographic), but they are a distinct group of buyers that have all made a similar purchase decision (they bought an iPhone), and therefore other purchase decisions may be correlated.

    Marketing specifically to iPhone customers makes sense, if your product is complemenentary to or provides correlated benefits to the iPhone. If it’s completely unrellated (like your example targeting businessmen), then it’s just lazy marketing strategy that will get poor results.

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