Fotobars - The new frontier in utility marketing


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.