Apple AirPods

Well, I will have to update my hearable universe infographic. Today, Apple announced the release of the Apple Airpods in Oktober. Their main Feature will be wireless connection zu the iPhone and being able to talk with Siri. Yes, this makes them smart earphones, but nevertheless I’m a bit disappointed. There are no other smart features like noise canceling, biometrics, storage, etc.

So, I have no choice but to add them to my list even though this is less than was to be expected.

The good old Website

A website as a marketing tool? How outdated is that? Everyone has a website, right?

On the one hand- yes. But there are new companies being founded all the time – they do not have a website. And the ones who have been around for a while? Their websites are very often from yesteryear.

Some try to fulfil the basic need to be present when someone googles their name by linking a domain to a Facebook page or even just a twitter account. The more digital savvy ones replace having a website with a blog.

But let’s face it. Everyone needs a search optimised domain and their core presence accessible by URL (or URI today actually). Not for marketing reasons – for hygienic reasons!!! You don’t want to look like you are a relic from the analog past!

Now, how can you get to it easily. There are so many homepage-builder offers out there. A client of mine just used one of these and then came to me to fix the mess that his website looked like.

What do you want and need?

  • You need a hosting service – costs a 3-6 € a month.
  • You need a contemporary design – take the currently fashionable bootstrap from Twitter for free.
  • If you do not know HTML, you need a Content Management System (CMS) – take wordpress for free.

Done!

I just set this up for a client. If you do not know how to book a host, know basic html to get along with that bootstrap and are not able to set up wordpress you will need help that you have to pay for. The best is: get someone who can easily explain to you what you need to do (host, html, cms), pay once for the advice and the initial set up and be free to fiddle with it yourself for the rest of your life.

If you do not have someone to help you, drop me a line and I will set you up.

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

DonaldThanksgiving

This year we hired a very special guest to recite a traditional thanksgiving poem. Enjoy –>

 

 

Growth Hacking 101 definition and examples

The ever more popular marketing buzzword “growth hacking” was coined by startup entrepreneur Sean Ellis of Qualaroo, who actually spared us a proper definition (“Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth”). Andrew Chen (who just recently joined Uber’s supply growth team) explained it a bit better by demonstrating growth hacking with the example of Airbnb’s Craigslist integration. Andrew said provocatively “Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing”!!!

Well, well, well…

First of all: growth hacking is not a marketing technique but a promotion technique. Growth hackers concentrate on user acquisition, on-boarding, monetization, retention, and virility. And they rely on a low budget. That’s why growth hacking is so popular with the startup crowd.

Enough criticism! Growth hacking is a very hands-on and practical set of tools and its not important for you where it’s located in your marketing toolbox. The real problem with growth hacking is that you need to know some technical stuff.

Andrews comment was aimed at the fact, that the tapping of Airbnb into Craigslist user base without the use of an API was something that a marketer can hardly pull off because it requires some technical insights that can only be found in people who know coding. And I agree! Having basic coding skills was even necessary to understand the Airbnb example.

So growth hacking is part of marketing, advertising and promotion – my humble opinion. But more important is what it means to us marketers: we need to learn technical stuff to keep our marketing skills up to date in the digital age!

So what is it that you need to understand an learn? Here is your list:

  • Blogging and SEO
  • Automated User Acquisition
  • API programming
  • Dynamic Web Page Programming
  • Cross Platform Development

All these sound more like developer stuff. They are! Relax: you do not have to become a developer, but compare yourself to the car industry.

More and more in a car is software controlled, the car can be hooked up to the internet and Google, Apple and Microsoft are working on innovations for cars. The car industry started to understand that they need to tap much more into digital technology to avoid Silicon Valley to take over from them. The car industry struggles but is moving already.

And for us marketers, its just the same. We do not want that nice guy from IT to tell us how to get more opt-ins. Or do you?

So you do not have to become a developer and know all stuff included in the list above (which is definitely not complete). But you need to learn a little more of how things work today.

Here is an easy way to start: I have put a 5-Minute-Coding-Tutorial on sonncom.com. Check it out, invest 5 minutes and you will see: it’s not that hard and if you like to learn more, I will send you links to more resources. You know, even the President did his “one hour of code”.

Social Media in Germany 2015

oktoberfest 12.43.30 PM

Social Media in Germany 2015

Just updated and published: The Social Media Report for Germany for 2015. How many Germans use Social Media? What do they do? What will they do in the future? Get it here.

Programming with Code From Other Resources

You have learned basics of HTML, PHP, maybe even MySQL, but you have no clue how to start programming now?

Don’t worry, I was the same, but I found out how to make use of resources. And I am here to tell you how to do it.

Let’s take that example from the “Learn to Code in 5 Minutes Tutorial“. Assuming that you need a functioning code for uploading a photo file, you would google “php upload photo”. The result will look like this:

google upload result

The first result links to the developing organization of the internet itself – royalty!

Click it, scroll down the page until you see this:

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 7.07.43 PM

So there is the exact instruction of what to write into an html file and what to write into a php that is called to process the upload.

Now you have the code, but how do you use it? The instructions on the site are actually pretty straightforward. But here is a simple how-to:

You create a html-file on your server and copy/paste all the code from “Create The HTML Form” into it.

Then you create a php file on your server, call it “upload.php” and copy/paste all the code from “Create The Upload File PHP Script” into it.

Then you create a directory called “uploads” on your server.

That’s it!

Now you can open your browser, go to your server’s address – which is probably a domain, you have booked – add the name of the html file as in

http://www.yourdomain.com/nameofthehtmlfile

and hit “GO”

It should give you a “Choose File” button and a “Submit” button. Once you choose a file and hit submit, it will be uploaded. Then you can check on your server, if the file is really in the “uploads” directory.

Debug, if it does not work. Meaning: walk through the steps before and look for the error.

And that is just like you do the programming for almost anything!

Add a comment for more questions. I am happy to help!

App Programming without prior knowledge

I am a marketing expert but I needed to learn coding… And you can too! It will take you 5 minutes to create your first program, while it took me 3 months.

After one year of being able to create the prototypes and even some working web-apps myself, I decided to offer some knowledge online. Then I had the idea for a real challenge:
Is it possible to teach a person without prior knowledge the basic principles of coding a useable web-application in a very short period of time? Say 5 minutes, so that even the most impatient person can do it?

So I took one of my personal favorite – my photo sharing application – and figured a way to instruct how to get code, put it on a host, organize a functionality and make it run. And it turned out, you can walk through the tutorial in even less than 5 minutes!

And here it is: The 5 Minute Coding Tutorial

Why did I as a marketer learn coding?

On February 22, 2014 I had this idea for an app. I thought, I had this super great startup idea that you can tell no one, before you are not online attracting a huge user base, so that you have first mover advantage.

The problem: no partner for the programming.

First, I thought of how to find one: startup-job ads, university leaflets, meet up groups, all sorts of guerrilla search. I was to stay under the radar right?

I also asked 2 software developing companies for the cost of having it developed by them. €5.000 – I was hesitant.

I had a feeling to waste my time and started to find out what I actually needed to put my idea into reality. A simple search showed me, I needed to create a LAMP stack. Well, bear with me, I will explain later in detail! One of the main things for my LAMP was php programming language and a MySQL database. I looked up courses and found out that the next day, a MySQL class starts at a public education center in Berlin. For 75€ I could learn it the next three days. And I did. A few days later I had put together all the necessary queries (? this will be explained later, let’s focus on the story here!) for my program. Next step would be to learn php.

Then I met a guy, who was more than capable of doing all the development (thats how you actually call such an activity). But he was not willing to sign a confidentiality agreement. We did not partner up.

After another two months, my program was ready. Still no partner found. My last step was to learn how to create a responsive website with contemporary design, so that it looks like an app, when it was just a website frontend.

After three months my prototype was ready for the testers. It worked flawlessly and I was proud.

The real me – the marketing guy – started to market it. And it did not work out.

But after trying and trying, I put the thing in the drawer and went swimming (it was summer in the meantime). And … I had the next idea. My know-how enabled me to think in solutions. I know now, how to create the prototypes for my ideas. And it takes me 2 weeks – instead of three months – to make them ready for testing! I do not have to spend €5.000 for a program of which I do not know how it works.

I learned a few things:
– Do it yourself
– or at least have basic knowledge of how to do it.
– Forget confidentiality agreements, NDAs and secrecy agreements
– but also do not run around with ideas (only technical illiterates do that).
– Put it in the drawer, if it does not work after trying hard for 2 months.
– Use it as a code resource.
– Take it back out whenever the market situation may have changed.

I have put together the best resources for the elements of a LAMP-stack, so you do not have to scramble it together like me. Using these to learn coding will take you not more than 1 month. You will have your first idea coded in another month. So, you can launch a beta in 2 months!
Request the resources to get started!

Last week I learned that my idea – actually a good alternative – attracted serious funding in the 150 million $ area. Well, there is room for at least 2 of these… . Time to take it out and try again…