We're all looking for the next big thing in mobile and the direction that the big players will take with mobile. Yet, it's looking more and more likely that the mobile phase will not be lead by the existing players, but by young upstarts who are mobile by nature from the build, execution, product and most importantly, business focus. There are many that are getting this right with Instagram leading the way in many respects, but the music app Shazam is providing some excellent lessons in getting a mobile strategy right, though it may not always be in the spotlight.
Find One Thing And Do It Well
When an existing company looks at developing a mobile app or service, its desire to throw everything at it is often visible from the outside. With so many exciting new features within mobile, it's tempting to try and use as many as possible so you can offer users everything you possibly can. However, a mobile screen is tiny compared to a desktop, and the situations in which we browse are entirely different. Shazam got it right from the start because they focused on solving a problem, albeit a fun one.
What could be simpler than loading up the app and being greeted with this one inviting screen?
And although it introduced other features such as commenting on other's tags, these form a minimal part of the overall app experience:
What Shazam is successfully doing is taking this one core part of its product and executing it strategically across other media platforms to ensure the business develops. All of this is done without losing focus of its original aim of helping people discover the music around them.
Shazam has shown the importance of aligning with large media brands to promote its service and drive awareness on a large scale. Earlier this year, Shazam partnered with ITV in a campaign to run Shazam-enabled ads during Britain's Got Talent. Special tags were put onto ads for Cadburys and Pepsi Max which users could use Shazam to find out more about the music being played as well as being entered into a competition to win prizes.
This allowed Shazam to become a part of the 'second screen' experience without having to alter its product itself, or shift focus from the original purpose of the app. While the campaign with ITV might not have extended far beyond this initial test (more on this later), by partnering with a strong media platform in the UK, it generated free publicity while also demonstrating the service perfectly.
We're seeing how the use of social media on mobiles - and Twitter in particular - is tied to live events. As soon as a record has been set on Twitter, it's shortly broken again - see the record 10.3 million tweets sent during the last U.S. presidential debate for an example of this. In sports, London 2012 saw a new record set for tweets per second during Usain Bolt's 200m victory.
Shazam has now positioned themselves expertly and is taking advantage of this through its first sport-related partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Now, at any point during a post-season game, any users with Shazam installed will be able to access a range of information including video highlights, latest scores and breaking news. The potential for mobile marketing during live events is huge and Shazam is setting the trend here, showing how to make its service a seamless part of this experience.
Outside of direct mobile marketing, social TV is the next area that everyone's watching and again, Shazam is showing how it's done. Despite heavy investment in internet-connected TVs, it's evident that there is little on the market (yet) to improve on using your mobile to browse and comment while watching TV. So Shazam is on a mission to be your TV companion app and the default way to bring its content to life with a second viewing experience.
It has embarked on campaigns with a number of shows in the US, where people can Shazam the show to find out more. Similar to its experiment with ITV, this will also work during certain ads. You can then access additional information around a particular show as well as featured music - ensuring a focus on its original product proposition.
What's great about this is that Shazam hasn't tried to reinvent the wheel or make it too complex to engage. It's simply taking what people are doing anyway - using their mobile while watching TV - and fitting into this. Social TV can really be as simple as this and Shazam is proving that it can be done both simply and effectively.