Using Clubhouse as a Lesson in Marketing

Using Clubhouse as a Lesson in Marketing

There are many hidden experts across social media platforms. The Clubhouse app has seen many high-quality rooms from overseas. In Taiwan, the discussion and sharing of marketing content strategies have been very inspiring. However, with the rise in popularity of this social media platform, the quality of content found on it has become uneven. Recently, foreign media have reported that Clubhouse, a tremendously popular audio social media platform, has shown a sharp decline in download numbers. Aside from the number of downloads, many of my friends have semi-abandoned the app, with the complaint that: “It’s the same few people who come and go and they are starting to sound like nags.” Besides, Facebook and Twitter have successively announced plans to develop similar functions. In the face of both internal and external challenges, can Clubhouse reverse the trend before its glow disappears?

The Glow of New Online Services

The Clubhouse app was launched at a time when it had a unique product offering. It relies on an invite-only marketing strategy. This does not need much elaboration since everyone probably has experienced how nice it feels to receive an exclusive invitation. Coupled with the celebrity effect of its first batch of users, Clubhouse became a sensation in the city overnight. It also successfully earned the favor of venture capital funds. But for someone familiar with tech like me, this is nothing particularly novel. Gmail has also garnered users to open email accounts with them via invitation as early as 2004. Dropbox adopted this method to earn its first batch of loyal users. 

Let Users First Experience the Product Value

Having gotten off to a good start, yet now faced with declining downloads and users, there have been numerous online discussions as to whether the Clubhouse app is becoming obsolete and whether its marketing strategy has been effective. The method of allowing new members access to Clubhouse via invitation only involves users receiving an invitation code to log in. They can then invite more friends to join and follow other existing users. There is nothing wrong with requiring new members to follow other users. Other social media platforms use the same method to increase user stickiness. However, without first experiencing the value of the service, Clubhouse required its users to recommend the app to other friends. This is like some pyramid schemes to sell products. It is tiresome to provide information about new users and friends to complete a purchase.

Be Mindful of the User Experience

Some users have been complaining about the user experience with the Clubhouse app itself. For example, the lack of space for text can mean failure to provide sufficient context to help the audience who may have joined the discussion midway. Secondly, it is an absolute mess when users want to search for topics. For a social media product, the Clubhouse app falls short in terms of not considering the finer details when it comes to enabling users to share content easily. These include making suitable thumbnails and text available. Of course, the recent incident of pirated streams on YouTube has also shaken the users’ confidence. Some users have suggested that it would be meaningful to have a time-limited review feature so that interested parties can have the opportunity to review the content on the platform. It is a good opportunity to improve the product from the user’s perspective.

Growth Marketing and Product Service

Clubhouse indeed has had a good start. But the user response this time around has made everyone think. If a brand simply focuses on increasing its number of users, rather than focusing on offering a good user experience, it will not be able to withstand the test of time. In recent years, a marketing term, Growth Marketing, has produced the corresponding title of a Growth Marketer. Marketing strategies that are performance- and goal-oriented must never forget the products and services themselves. Otherwise, just like certain phones, telecommunications, and TV services, while they may be helmed by top-notch sales teams on the street, complaints will still surface on the Internet if the service itself is not at par. As such, marketing should never be separated from product development nor the user experience.


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