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Yun and I know that the ultimate success of Cavallo Media will depend greatly on our ability to establish our brands and products in a new market — for parents and kids — that extends beyond our old market — schools.  Creating brand awareness is a significant hurdle for all budding consumer product companies, and building the Letter Buddies brand amongst potential early childhood customers has been our top priority so far. While we've made some headway on this front since launching our collection of four Letter Buddies AlphaBooks apps, which together have been downloaded by a modest several thousand people around the world, we don't yet feel like we've been able to connect with our customer base in a meaningful way. In part, this is due to how closed Apple's system is, which prevents us from actually knowing or communicating with whomever is downloading and buying our apps. 

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In the past, when we were primarily focused on creating products for the educational school market, it was easier to connect with our customers — teachers — to get their feedback on products, marketing, etc. One of the ways we were able to do that was to attend local conferences. Twenty times or so a year we would travel to some far off part of America to attend an early childhood reading conference. While visiting small cities, like Covington, KY, wouldn't be considered glamorous to most, spending time in places that I might not otherwise have reason to set foot was actually an unexpected bonus of the work. I loved it, with the exception of the very sad Springfield, IL — sorry Springfield, it's the truth. Not only was exploring these smaller cities fun, but by going to local reading conferences, I was able to meet our customers face-to-face. I could speak with teachers and discuss what they liked about our products and what they would like to see us develop next. I could get some real-time feedback on what we needed to do to accentuate the areas that were strengths and improve the areas that were weaknesses. It was an invaluable part of our growth and development.

Now that we've entered this digital market, we're searching for new ways to dialogue with our customers the way we used to at local conferences. We've been lucky to have a number of mommy bloggers review our Letter Buddies app, which has given us some great feedback, but we haven't connected with our customers in as broad a way as we would like. The need for creating a "social media" presence to enable these interactions, while obvious, is easier said then done. As an initial step, we recently launched our own Cavallo Media Fan Page, and last week we ran our first Facebook promotion to find out what could happen. 

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When we launched our promotion - giving away Letter Buddies Activity Worksheets - we had about 30 Facebook fans, and at last count our promotion has helped us to add about 80 more. Nearly 300% growth! Considering that Lady Gaga has over 40 MILLION FANS, you're probably asking yourself why 100+ fans would be exciting. Fair question. While we don't yet have the following of Gaga, running our promotion is hopefully the start for us to figure out how to use social media to better know our new customer base. Not only did we add a number of fans but more importantly, we began having those important conversations that help good companies know what their customers really want. The Cavallo Media fan page is a great venue for connecting with customers, and it is fun to begin having those customer conversations again. - K



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