Killer Apps

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by Daniel V Licht (@thedvl)

Remember the phrase “killer app? Just a few short years ago, it was the keystone for every new technology platform, whether that platform was a new operating system, a new hardware form factor or even a new social-media site. Killer applications have historically given new platforms the traction they need to reach critical mass in the market.

Are they important? Ask Apple, one of the worlds largest companies. Back when the Apple II was new to the world, VisiCalc precursor to the spreadsheet so ubiquitous in computing today was a game changer for anyone who needed to work with numbers. IBM had a similar boost in sales as soon as another spreadsheet program, the venerable Lotus 1-2-3, was introduced. Both software packages offered a compelling reason for people to take a chance on new technology because the potential in this case, efficiency and additional capabilities was so great.

Do we even have killer apps anymore? Certainly they just look a little different in todays tech landscape. Some industry pundits are branding the iPad as pharmas killer app, bringing innovation to nearly every area of the business whether thats consumer-centric apps or solutions to facilitate doctor-patient conversations or aid the sales force. Innovation is more widespread, and that means todays (and tomorrows) killer applications can be a whole lot different than just new software packages. Consider:

The audience as a killer app: Computing is everywhere, and prospects and customers have, literally, billions of places they can focus their attention online. The pharmaceutical organization that develops a compelling way to aggregate a lot of recurring visitors, gets a huge strategic advantage, something that holds true whether the goal is advertising or selling products and services.

Sharing as a killer app: Old, top-down and broadcast models of marketing required spending money on the equivalent of an enormous megaphone (in the form of paid media) to promote a product or service. While that still happens, today market-leading products are often the ones producing the most sharable, interesting content. In a networked world, a lot of a messages value is tied up in how easily it can be shared make sharing easier, and your messages become more powerful to your brand.

Targeting as a killer app: When consumers have limitless choices not just in terms of content, but also in how that content is consumed companies that can reach their audience most effectively are much more likely to win in the marketplace. Effective, ubiquitous targeting is the killer app pharma marketing can leverage most because the ability the deliver on the three Rs the right message via the right channel at the right time can drive tremendous savings and boost the marketing programs effectiveness.

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