Last week, Nokia and Internships.com launched an extension of the JobLens app for Lumia phones called Internships Lens. Like its forefather, Internships Lens combines a user’s social network, maps data, job postings from first-rate brands in career services, neighborhood demographics and tools for researching salaries and company information all in a single app, though this one is entirely about finding an internship. As such, college students represent its target market.
We preceded the launch with a private beta program, in which we gave access to the finished app to several college students. First, we wanted to get real world feedback on the app’s quality. Second, we hoped that at least one student would get hired because of the app. Fortunately, we achieved both of these objectives. User feedback has been enthusiastic, but the video I’m sharing at the top of this post goes to the heart of what the app can do in the hands of someone with the right ambition and work ethic.
In the video, we meet Cheryl Faux, a 19-year old college student living in Chicago. She talks about how Internships Lens made a difference in her search for work and why getting an internship is so important. In less than a week, nearly 11,000 people have watched the video. Meanwhile, it also has piqued the interest of journalists who are covering the app. Not every one will write a story about her, but we’ve seen a very positive response. I’m sure that’s because Cheryl is so authentic in commanding our empathy. Anyone who has ever looked for a job can relate to the story she tells, complete with its ups and downs.
Recently, I wrote a post about the marketing trend I see emerging that has put customers at the heart of advertising campaigns. Having partnered with Internships.com for this campaign, I’m more convinced than ever of the strategy’s effectiveness. Here, then, are three tips for executing your own customer-centric app marketing campaign:
- Use your beta or trial launch as a marketing recruiting program: Our partner, Internships.com, helped us distribute Internships Lens via a private beta to a hand-selected group of internship seekers. They represented all types of interests and geographies, but they had in common the goal of landing an internship for the fall and a willingness to tell us what they thought about the app and themselves.
- Ask beta participants to record and share their stories: We gave every participant a Lumia phone and the app and asked them to use it to look for internships. We also asked them to record their experiences in video journal entries that they shared with us. From these diaries we found Cheryl and learned of her success. Because we had a log of video entries Cheryl had created, we could see her story unfold in something approximating real time. She wowed us for her sincerity, optimism, and hard work. When she found an internship using the app, we knew had to share it with the world.
- Move your successful consumers to the front of your campaign: While the app itself induces lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” from people who learn about it for the first time, getting to the details of the app by way of Cheryl’s journey is even more compelling. Yes, it takes longer to tell her story in a four minute video, but those four minutes go pretty quickly because of who Cheryl is and what she has achieved. In the end, we think customers emerge feeling great about her and pretty sure the app is powerful stuff.
In a world where consumers have more and more power to avoid your advertising, marketers have no choice but to engage them authentically. Doing so with actual stories about real users not only can validate the product itself, but it can power content that’s more personal and moving than any conventional ad could ever be.
Post-script: kudos to Cheryl. This young woman may only be 19, but the sky is the limit for her. On behalf of all of us at Nokia, we thank her for working with us and congratulate her on her success.