In the fast-moving world of technology, there’s definitely an advantage to mucking around. Especially with people from different countries.
As part of my efforts to learn mandarin, I downloaded an app called Weixin last year to exchange voice messages with my friends in China.
Why this is awesome for mobile marketing
This is pretty exciting, because it takes online marketing back to its roots: one-to-one.
It’s the same promise as email marketing: opt-in, personal communication in a format that people are very familiar with. And unlike email, the cellphone travels with the recipient. It’s a very close and personal part of their lives.
Why this is terrible for mobile marketing
This provides amazing opportunities for smart marketers who are willing to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and design an amazing cross-platform experience for their beloved customers.
But there aren’t many smart marketers around. Instead, We Chat is likely to be overrun by marketers trying to sell stuff and treating each channel as its own separate universe. It’s not that they’re evil or lazy, it’s just that marketers are busy and risk-averse. They don’t have the brainspace to think about designing amazing experiences for their customers, and how something like WeChat could fit into that.
Of course, because you’re reading this, chances are you are one of the rare smart marketers.
Keep an eye on Line, a similar smartphone app developed by the Japanese arm of Korean company Naver. It’s primarily a way for friends to chat with each other, but already a Japanese company is using it to send out daily news and entertainment. Line’s also trying to monetise early with a “sticker store” (stickers are animated emoticons).