Afrofuturism: Customer Development In The Digital Age With Jamarlin Martin
Digital media entrepreneur Jamarlin Martin stressed the importance of owning your customers and cautioned against betting your company on someone else’s platform.
Avoid having so much concentrated risk on one particular platform that all it takes is an update or an algorithm change to sink your business, Martin said during a presentation at Black Tech Week Miami 2019.
Martin cited examples of Zynga, Demand Media and Little Things, which bet their companies on Facebook or Google and made a ton of money until Facebook did an update or Google changed the algorithm.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 46: Kai Bond
Jamarlin talks to Kai Bond, managing partner at Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund. They discuss the Fyre Festival being flagged during due diligence and Kai’s observation that most African-American entrepreneurs are under-negotiating. They also discuss a Washington Post article suggesting Facebook is psychopathic.
Here are some excerpts from Martin’s presentation, titled “Afrofuturism: Customer Development In The Digital Age.”
On derisking your platform:
“Before there’s a crisis at your company — (entrepreneurs take risks, creative people, go-getters take a lot of risks) — you have to think about de-risking your employees, your platform, your business model, where you do not want to have a lot of marketing concentration on one platform.”
On diversifying and establishing a direct connection with your customers:
“Talking to your customers on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook or even Youtube — that’s not enough today. You don’t control that customer. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. How do you have direct connections with customers? One idea is collecting email (addresses). Facebook can’t take that away from you. Google can’t take that away from you. That’s your customer. You earned it, you developed the product, you developed the business model. You should own that customer, you should be able to talk to that customer directly. So, in this environment, this social media environment, I think it’s really important to have that direct connection.”
Other ways to connect directly with your customer:
“Browser notifications: some businesses or content companies don’t have a mobile app. They don’t want to invest in the infrastructure of a mobile app. Some smart folks innovated a way where you can send a notification to your customer if they opt into the browser notification. You can send messages on their phone without having an app where you can deliver.
On what history taught us about BuzzFeed and New York Times:
“The consensus in digital media, three, four years ago, was BuzzFeed and social media publishers were the future. New York Times, they were having trouble, they had an old model, people ‘don’t read articles anymore’. If you talked to 80 percent of your digital media CEOs, they would have bet that the Little Things, the
“You can’t connect and communicate with everybody with the same message.
On opportunities for ad-supported content:
“There’s no big opportunity for ad-supported content. I’ve been in the game for over 10 years. Google and Facebook, they’re
On subscribers and the next wave in content:
“I think the next wave and what I’m investing in is you need to create content that could set up a sell. That customer, that email, that subscriber — you’re going to need to sell something to your subscribers, to your fans, to your users. You need to sell something and use the content to set up a sell. Within that, there’s a platform called The Information — it’s subscriber only. A reporter from the Washington Journal who focused on tech, Jessica