Dropbox and Mailbox get married. Congrats!

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What is the first thing I see this morning. Dropbox bought Mailbox. I'm a big fan of both services. With Apple fanboy-esque pride I say I was one of the first in the Mailbox waiting list (and users) and I've been a Pro user of Dropbox for over a year now. I didn't see this marriage coming but this is why I think dropbox made a great move.

Dropbox and Mailbox have similar visions.

From a product standpoint, Dropbox has been focussing on design and usability from the start., and so has Mailbox. This is from their blogpost:

Dropbox doesn’t replace your folders or your hard drive: it makes them better. The same is true with Mailbox. It doesn’t replace your email: it makes it better. Whether it’s your Dropbox or your Mailbox, we want to find ways to simplify your life.
We’re all looking forward to making Mailbox even better and getting it into as many people’s hands as possible. There’s so much to do and we’re excited to get started!

And it's true. In similar ways the services use an easy user experience to integrate themselves into their users life. Mailbox is even more audacious and is prescribing users with a new way of interacting with their mail. A way that feels so much more natural. 

Great timing on the acquisition

As of today Mailbox still has over 500,000 users in waiting line. Those are 500,000 users PRE Dropbox Mailbox integration. 500,000 potential fresh introductions to Dropbox. (sure there will be some overlap.)

And in the big scheme of things. With dropbox being valued at 4 Billion, what's 30-50 Million to them anyway? <3% equity, and Mailbox will definitely have more impact than their purchasing price. (Thanks for pointing that out Mark!)

Time will tell.

I'm excited to see 2 companies that are actively pushing user interaction design forward come together. They have both kept the customer experience at the centre of their business model trying to disrupt two stale and monolithic markets.

Congrats, now show us the good stuff!

Native Advertising is lipstick on a pig

Native Advertising, it has been a buzzword now for some time but it seems to be picking up this year after a few panels were dedicated to it at SXSW

We're getting it wrong.

First, what is native advertising? The following slides show it well (Taken from a Sharethrough video).

It's basically advertising, that is integrated closer to the content and copies the look and feel of the content. Or as Kissmetrics puts it:

they are a form of advertising that is so tightly interwoven within the site it’s being promoted on that customers can’t tell that it’s advertising.

It's the digital version of this:

So what should we be doing?

Instead of brands creating cat videos

They need to focus on utility marketing. Deliver such great value from the outset that the consumer cannot ignore you. Great examples of these are: 

Example 1: Nivea - Sun Alarm App

Nivea created an app that wakes people at certain times based on the weather. Watch the video to get the full picture. Can you imagine this being useful?

Example 2: Samsung - Charging stations

It doesn't have to be a digital product. Look at this by Samsung. A charging station at the airport. Talk about useful.

Example 3: HSBC - Special Privileges

(disclosure, we made this)

We worked together closely with HSBC to create the Smart Privileges platform on which merchant partners could highlight their credit card deals. And for card holders, it's fast becoming the single tool to discover relevant new products and experiences tied to your desired location, your wants, and your habits. 

What should you ask yourself?

If you're a marketer. Ask yourself: "Am I yelling at my consumers?" or if you're working with native advertising: "Am I yelling the wrong content through the better integrated but still wrong, bullhorn?"

And then take the next step. Think about how you can add value to the consumers life. Let's start putting customers central again.

Work with your client, not for them

I'm often asked why we don't launch a start up instead of working with clients. We have the in house skills to do so. We:

  • Understand the market
  • Have a proven record of finding market fit
  • Are able to build deeply technical products

Have the in house anayltics to pivot, pivot, pivot until get hockystick growth (yes, I did use those words, troll away)

And I tell them that we do. We launch a start up with every one of our clients.

New clients come to Antics asking us to solve a communications problem; "I'm not reaching this target market." or "I need to increase rural market penetration for this specific product line." And when we look at these challenges with our agile, creative, tech, entrepreneurial eyes, we giggle with glee. Really, we do.

Transient

We build digital business models that solve their problems, and more. Some potential clients are scared off. But most of them get it, they're on our side, and that's when we start working WITH our client instead of FOR our clients.

That is why we launch a start up with every project. That is why I get messages from my colleagues on Sunday evening after inspiration has hit them. That's what keeps us coming back every morning, knowing that we are contributing to something bigger. 

What keeps you giggling with glee?

Why you need to make stuff now

We are living in such an incredibly interesting time; societal changes, economic shifts, technological (soft and hardware) development is through the roof. And it's so exciting. So to everyone out there, make sure you're producing things. It's easy to get lost in this plethora of choice. It's easy to lose sight of the goal within the rough ocean we're faring in now. But realize that you set your own goals. You have your own values and you can MAKE your own thing. 

We need to make more, and talk less.