— blending the mix

AOL opens its instant messenger up to developers

[tag]Steve Rubel[/tag] reports on an interesting “brand extension” for [tag]AOL [/tag]in releasing the code for their instant messaging system to developers.

Steve seems to be keen on the idea as long as developers add something of value to the product, such as feed alerts. Given the wealth of features already packed into many IM systems, I am struglging with the major benefits of this other than to extend AOL’s reach further…but then again, imagine the possiblities:

IM your customers with instant time-sensitive offers and see instant results, generate viral activity with an IM product shot to select IM users, add product-range specific IM “clubs”, free-up call centre staff for DRTV and Radio ads by having an IM response code…it’s actually quite a good idea!

BUT, as with many new mediums (although this is technically not NEW), be aware that only a certain percentage of your customers will have IM and an even smaller umber will feel comfortable giving out such personal details as their IM ID.

Let’s not make the mistake of mobile marketing and abuse the trust of a product close to the customer’s heart.

2 comments
  1. Robb Hecht says: March 6, 20066:47 pm

    I agree that it is a very viral marketing tool that will attract users on its own. It directly feeds into the “active brand users” terminology.

  2. paul.fabretti says: March 7, 20065:18 am

    Absolutely, the very people who like the brand enough to want to try new things it puts out will be great brand advocates for the secondary users.

    As Seth Godoin quoted in the recent Google Video in my previous post, if people love the brand they WANT to be sold to by that brand.

    If they believe in the brand and its values, people will buy from it. If the brand’s early adopters have good brand experiences, they will tell others.

    The secondary “mass market” will be influenced by the early adopters creating a profitable critical mass.

    Great blog by the way Robb!

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