AdAge Magazine quoted a report by Forrester Research on FourSquare in which it identified primary FourSquare users as male, educated, and between the ages of 19 and 35. 4% of US online adults use FourSquare. Forrester and AdAge miss the point with his data, assuming that the quoted demographic will remain frozen when, in fact, this is often the avant-garde group that acts as the point of the spear for new and exciting technologies and social media platforms.
This of course also misses the value of FourSquare in connecting users to businesses and to each other. Also, the data collected by FourSquare is of considerable value to businesses and to its users and will no doubt be a vital part of FourSquare’s evolution as location-based marketing and the power of technology is embraced by growing numbers of new demographics.
One final point, Facebook also started this way and is now one of the largest and most-used social media platform. Like prophets in their own time, new ideas and platforms are often ignored or cursed.
Google’s decision to allow Android users to create their own apps is exciting! By allowing their users to create their own apps, they help to build stronger relationships with them and their product, increasing user retention. One of the key challenges for cell phone providers like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, is retaining customers and any move by a company to increase customer engagement with a product or service is a smart move indeed.
This is also a great way for Google to differentiate itself from Apple which takes on an Orwellian coolness in its customer relationship. By comparison, Google’s more democratic initiative opens is an open challenge and one that could well pay off.
Today’s article in the New York Times about Apple’s strategy in China got me thinking about China’s allure to businesses around the world. Ever since the 17th century, the West has fantasized about the huge Chinese market and what it could do for their companies.
However, the fact is that China remains a difficult place to do business primarily due to the lack of transparency and due process. As long as that is lacking, businesses will have to factor in risks due to a sudden shift in government policies which can be domestic in nature and hard for foreign businesses to divine.
Getting back to Apple, though, they have a great shot at penetrating the market due to Apple’s emphasis on alluring quality and design. Based on black market consumption, there is clear interest. They just need to proceed carefully.