Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mobile Code Scanning: Subscribers (1)

In the last post I've talked about understanding the two most critical factors at code scanning:
  • What can Code Scanning do
  • How can an operator monetize that
In this new post I want to talk about your subscribers. As a product manager, this is your audience, so know them well and make them happy. Specifically, these days it is common to look at the 'young and restless' 15-25 age group as technology-savvy, curious and receptive of innovative offerings. This will be the first of two posts I'll make on the subscriber aspect: on the first I'll try to share my thoughts on what is it that they are expecting a solution to be like. That will help shape the solution and the technology/vendor decision criteria. On the second post (after we've chosen a technology and vendor), I'll try to look at what key factors contribute to adoption when launching the first code scanning campaign.
Let me remind the two disclaimers I made in the first post on the subject.

So thinking of a 18-year old who had just experienced code scanning for the first time, the words I would love to hear them tell their friend is: "WOW. This is SO COOL. You GOT to try it!"
Take a closer look into it. To me, this sentence divides into two sections: "so cool" and "you got to try it". And this is how I translate those into subscriber expectations:
"So Cool" means "I am surprised because..."
  • "...I got great value": Perhaps the most important key to this equation, is the value that you can deliver with code scanning. It could be the simplest thing like the latest ringtone of a favorite band, it could be as complex as paying for a purchase using the phone. It doesn't make a difference how complex is the technical use case and prompts, what matters is that the value delivered is not obvious.
  • "...it was real easy": If the code scanning process is anything other than obvious, it will be as popular as typing a URL on a phone. nobody will do it. A- the operation needs to be obvious and B- the code scanning success rate has to be very high. Again, nobody will try scanning after they failed more than 3 times. they'll just give up.
  • "...it worked": An obvious, but I had to mention it. Make sure sufficient QA is being done. Subscribers take it for granted and will not be very forgiving for bugs.
"You got to try it" means
  • Reach: In high probability, it is available for your phone too (otherwise it will never take off)
  • It's real easy to get: It is available through distribution mechanisms that make it available easily, like shortcodes etc.
Understanding the basic audience expectations will drive adoption and the resulting revenue. Make sure you relate to the key factors as you plan your campaign, especially the marketing side of it, so that users know what to expect.

I hope that was useful. In the next post I'll try to look closer at the process of selecting the technology and vendor. The way I see it, it is a process split between the code format, the derived advantages, and the business criteria that are related to the vendor selection. It is already sleeves-up step so I'm looking forward to discuss it.
Thanks for reading!

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