Marketing Gimmickry Is Just A Gimmick.
At a sparsely-attended promotional launch for an upcoming marketing trade show, the invitees were shown the event's new iPhone app. Rather than the advertised augmented reality, it was essentially a piece of mobile image recognition. It was perfectly adequate and of potential utility to the exhibition/conference attendees, but it was a gimmick.
The logic was clear - iPhone apps are hot, so we should have one and generate some PR. It won't because many of the audience knew more about the technology than some of the marketers that were presenting it and were consequently underwhelmed, it won't because it's not a reason in and of itself to attend the event, and it won't because it's of more interest internally than externally.
Worse still, it emerged in casual conversation that the event had a more striking selling point - for the first time in its longish history, the conference sessions are going to be free of charge. That represents more user utility than even the most sophisticated iPhone app could hope to do, but it's not shiny and tech-based and too many marketers think that makes it uninteresting to their prospects. They're wrong.