The audiences and proposition might be different but the rules of engagement are the same; marketing a digital product is much like hosting a Blue Peter Appeal.
You might have to bear with me on this one, but the principles really do work out. If you’re looking to market your digital product, you could spend all day reading a million and one articles about behavioural economics, marketing, virality and sales psychology, but really they’re all lessons we learned in front of the telly as a tween. The devices that Katy, Konnie, Matt and Simon (or whatever your peak lineup) used to sell philanthropy, creativity and cultural understanding, are exactly the ones you need to drive growth and adoption for your app, service, platform or website. They were also doing it well before nudge theory was a thing. Just take a look at how we used CBBC inspo to up conversion rates on courses like ‘improving your product’ and ‘setting your digital marketing goals’ on Tech Nation’s free online learning platform, the Digital Business Academy.
It’s known that people are more likely to stick to a task when they can see they’re making progress. The Blue Peter presenters had (have?) their giant thermometer-like fundraising ‘totaliser’ to encourage participation from the philanthropic youth of Britain. On Tech Nation’s Digital Business Academy, we have a learning progress bar, so that when you’re just about to call it a day and notice that you’re 70% there on your brand marketing course, you think “weeell I may as well finish it off”.
Our digital learning platform version of the Blue Peter totaliser…
Granted, our Digital Business Academy certificates have yet to hit the iconic status of the Blue Peter badge (aka the holy grail of marketing stash), but the idea is the same; a demonstrable reward for good performance that can produce tiny productive jealousy in others, and a small smug sense of achievement in oneself. I’ve still not got over Lydia sauntering into English with a BP badge, resplendent on her school bag, but at least I’ve completed Understanding Startup Finance, and she’ll know about it on my LinkedIn.
As kids we were shown footage of other children collecting milk bottle tops, and thought “oh that doesn’t look so hard, maybe I’ll collect milk bottle tops”. The grown-up version is a case study of Kevin, who completed Digital Business Academy courses online, packed in his retail job, and started a fintech company in Bristol. Doesn’t that just make you want to start learning immediately?! I certainly got competitive when Tim Vincent congratulated Jenny from Oxford on raising £87 in her Bring-and-Buy Sale. Now, did you know that 20,000 people have already started learning new skills for free with the Digital Business Academy? The power of peers.
Perhaps the greatest lesson we’ve learned in 60 years of early-evening edutainment, is the importance of resilience, even delusional enthusiasm in the face of adversity. Forget stiff upper lip, we all need a bit of Blue Peter bravado. In 2018, social media = live TV, i.e. made better by cute animals, but prone to the occasional fail. If you have a bad day at the marcomms office, just pick yourself up, dust off those trolls, and keep on flipping that pancake. You got this.