Whether you’ve used the app or have only just heard of it, Lifesum is making a name for itself in the quantified-self movement whose devoted followers are gamifying their health with each step and bite. Back in March, the app got $6.7 million Series A funding to grow its base beyond Europe. Now, Marcus Gners, COO of Lifesum will be speaking at [a]list summit on Dec. 3rd at the W Hotel in Hollywood about the role of apps in content marketing.
We were elated to ask Marcus some questions about the ever-interesting quantified-self movement, what wearables will mean to the future of his business and marketing at large as well as what he has gleaned from his background in gaming.
Is the quantified-self movement a fad?
The hard-core quantified self movement is a niche. Internet of Things and people taking responsibility for their health is becoming mainstream. Quantified self is small indie movies, connected devices and mobile are blockbusters.
Wearables are picking up serious steam right now with Apple and Microsoft entering the market. What opportunities do you see in wearables and the quantified-self movement in the next year?
We have only seen the tip of the iceberg within wearables. So far their value has been pretty much on the gadgety accessory level as a way to communicate tech savviness or healthiness. Now we are going to move fast into wearables that can do more than count steps, like for example real-time checking of blood sugar and stress hormones. That in combination with software that changes peoples’ habits will create wearables that can truly change people’s lives.
We are already seeing brands like Amtrak dipping a toe into wearables marketing. How do you see other brands tapping into this?
The Internet of Things movement and mobile development will have huge impact on products in general. I’m a bit intrigued by edible wearables, but scared. It feels like the world is becoming sci-fi reality.
“Gaming is the most competitive category in the market, so you learn to manage your product from a clinical metric perspective and at the same time listen to users to ensure that what you are building is as cool as you think it is.”
What are some of the difficulties involved in marketing an app?
Attribution tracking has been a huge hassle and thus being able to calculate ROI on ad spend. This has become a lot better in the last year and will keep improving. I have great expectations on Apple’s upcoming analytics tools.
Another issue is that access to media and good ad formats is a bit of a mess. Global ad pricing is being pushed up by a few games studios, making it difficult for new actors to enter the market. Also there is a great lack of good formats and Facebook’s prices have soared during the last year and most other channel alternatives are not as good.
How has your gaming background informed your approach with Lifesum?
Gaming is the most competitive category in the market, so you learn to manage your product from a clinical metric perspective and at the same time listen to users to ensure that what you are building is as cool as you think it is. I also learned to do professional user acquisition and that gives us greater control of our destiny.