The map, the divining rod and the magic mirror

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Before you read this post, put your metaphor cap on.

Been talking to a lot of clients about what they’re online business should look like and there is a real interest in figuring out what they should be doing in regards to online, apps and iPad. The following metaphors seem to work best.

  • Website – This is the primary method people use to get information about a business. The site has a map (site map) and that should map directly to what your business does and who the employees are. Your mobile site is a smaller version of your site and should contain products that people are looking for from their mobile device. Analytics makes this decision very easy to be begin. As of now, your iPad site shouldn’t have Flash on it. As HTML 5 is adopted, we will see how much change in functionality is possible.
  • iPhone/Android apps – These can be thought of as divining rods. What kind of tool can you provide to help them explore your brand an ultimately find what they were looking for. Store locator, QR code scanner, etc.
  • iPad – These devices make shopping online, entertainment and allow retailers to engage their customers. Simple information is not enough with this device. What’s magical (for lack of a better way of saying it) about your product/service?

Not all of these make sense based on your business model. Should Home Depot have an iPad app that allows you to browse screwdrivers? Probably not but Audi should have one. A store locator for an online-only business doesn’t make sense. These are some common sense examples and it’s important that you understand how your customers and potential customers see your brand. That will determine how to prioritize these.

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I'm an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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