How to turn your customers into your biggest fans

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Understanding your customers is essential for any business owner and is one of the cornerstones of the product manager role, as discussed in my last blog post. Building strong and long-lasting relationships is first and foremost about communication and nothing can beat face-to-face contact. With businesses spreading out around the globe, that’s not always possible, but new tech developments mean there’s never an excuse for allowing regular interaction with your customers to fall by the wayside.

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The Product Manager’s Evolution

Ten years ago, the top companies by market cap in the world were predominantly in oil, general industry, and financial services. Today, the top five are technology companies, providing products and services to consumers and enterprises. With this transformation, the pace of innovation has increased exponentially in response to demand. Last year, the number of global mobile users grew to exceed half of the world’s population with users in South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan averaging three hours per day spent in apps. To keep up and compete effectively in such a busy market, and as tech trends continue to evolve, technology companies need to approach Product Management in an entirely new way.

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Is 2017 the Beginning of the End for the App Economy?

For the last few years, apps have seemed set to dominate the way customers interact with brands. In 2016, Apple’s App Store grew by an average of nearly 2500 apps per day, and Google Play downloads are expected to triple by 2020.

At the same time visits to brand websites seem to be declining in importance – digital media time in the US is now significantly higher on mobile at 51%, compared to desktop (42%).

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The Seven Keys to Mobile Success in High Growth Markets

With smartphone growth in the US dropping to single digits as we enter 2017, and with North America and Western Europe combined now comprising only 20% of the global market, businesses are increasingly looking to regions like India, Africa and South America to drive future growth.

This shift in strategy makes a lot of sense, but the approaches that have delivered success in established markets can’t simply be replicated in new markets – local dynamics differ significantly. There are a very different set of constraints in operation, most of which stem from cost and infrastructure. If businesses want to deliver successful mobile services to emerging markets, they need to understand local nuances and design a business model that fits.

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Six Tactics to Use in Managing an Organization Across Borders

One of the biggest struggles in managing a team across geographic boundaries is staying in constant communication with your team members and with other people in your organization. As more and more teams become dispersed, it’s incredibly important to create processes to establish shared communication with your team.

In my current role, we have members spread across multiple different offices and continents and we are all traveling regularly. Therefore, it’s been necessary to establish some key principles for working well together.

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Mobile Services: How to Crack High Growth Markets

Smartphone use in high growth markets like India and Africa differs from developed markets. This is because there are a very different set of constraints in operation, most of which stem from cost and infrastructure. If businesses want to deliver successful mobile services to emerging markets, they need to understand local nuances and design a business model that fits.

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ShowMax turns one – here’s what we’ve learned so far

We launched ShowMax on 19 August 2015, hitting the ground running with Africa’s largest on-demand catalogue of TV shows and movies. Over the past 12 months we’ve clocked up well over 10 million views, or more than 700 years’ worth of content if viewed back to back.

It’s been an insanely busy year for our team. My intention isn’t to boast, because we’ve got loads more to do, but dispassionately I’d say we’ve achieved a fair amount in that time. Enabling content downloads, setting up data usage caps, putting together a cash voucher system, and implementing multiple user profiles are some of the tougher technical challenges we solved, with additional tweaks and upgrades taking place on an almost daily basis. On top of that, since the launch we’ve added support for AirPlay, Apple TV, Chromecast, the DStv Explora, and more smart TVs.

So what have we learned about subscription video on demand in Africa? Here are some highlights – the survey I refer to was conducted earlier this year with just over 1,000 respondents.

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Why Web Presence is Key to App Success

Here’s a question: how important are websites in a mobile world?

Apps seem set to dominate the way customers interact with brands. In 2015, Apple’s App Store grew by 1,000 apps per day, and Google Play downloads are expected to triple by 2020.

At the same time visits to brand websites are declining – digital media time in the US is now significantly higher on mobile at 51%, compared to desktop (42%).

It’s tempting to think that websites have passed their ‘Best Before’ date.

But could the rapid growth in app downloads lead to this channel becoming a victim of its own success? People don’t have unlimited space on their devices and only best-loved apps are used often. And in developing markets, space and data are even more limited, so assuming that all customers are going to install and keep your app is not likely unless it’s a great user experience.

Here’s a scary stat: according to Flurry Analytics, only 36% of apps are retained after one month and only 11% for a year.

This is where websites can still play a prominent role.

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Three Reasons Pokémon GO Might Struggle in Emerging Markets

You must have been asleep over the past couple of weeks not to have heard about Pokémon GO. The Augmented Reality game from Nintendo and Niantec lets players roam towns and cities using their phones’ GPS maps looking for Pokémon creatures to catch. It’s essentially a gamified Google Maps that overlays digital characters on the real world.

Pokémon GO’s blurring of digital with reality has already made it one of the most successful app games ever: just one day after launch the app was installed on more US Android phones than Tinder. One site which allows people to get around the current country restrictions saw 4 million visitors in just one day. It’s little wonder Nintendo’s stock has jumped from £13bn to £19.6bn (and climbing!)

Trust me: if you’ve not yet seen someone on the street hunched over Pokémon GO, you will soon – but only if you live in a developed market. I have a hunch that Pokémon GO won’t have quite the same impact in emerging markets as it’s had in the US, Australia and Europe (and soon Japan and Korea).

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Q&A: Making the Most of Mobile CRM

Grow.co, a forum for marketing professionals, hosted a panel debate last month on mobile Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Barron Ernst, Chief Product Officer at ShowMax, and Eduardo Henrique, Head of Global Expansion at PlayKids, joined mobile marketing professionals to discuss how best to use email, push, and in-app messaging in CRM campaigns.

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