I am not sure where I first came across the term 'utility marketing,' but the meaning of it is fairly straightforward. A lot of apps follow this model, when brands produce them to simply enhance or augment a customer's experience rather than actually provide a good or service. For example: An app that provides a catalog or a map of a location has great utility to those who seek that type of information.
This past week, I came across a story about Polaroid and their plans to open up a series of retail locations called 'Fotobars.' These bars let people come in and print photos that have been stored on their phones.
From a utility marketing perspective, here's why this strategy is interesting:
- People love taking pictures (as evidenced by Instagram's meteoric rise), so Fotobars are simply providing an outlet for people to take their enjoyment to the next level.
- Polaroid doesn't make phones, nor does it necessarily own the photo-taking apps. Fotobars are simply providing a platform on which people can use their existing products. In a way, Polaroid is essentially product agnostic, much like the Amazon Kindle app.
The next time you are considering a marketing plan or perhaps you are even thinking about how to revitalize a current product using a new marketing strategy ... consider utility.