Keeping up with technology
- 13 November 2015
- 184 views
The fast pace of change in technology can be frightening, but it doesn’t need to be.
Back in the mid-1990s, an undergraduate friend attended a tutorial in a professor’s book-lined office. In the corner, on a desk, was an object draped with a beautiful woven throw. Asked what was under the throw, the professor responded, “A computer! And I don’t look at it and it doesn’t look at me!”
20 years ago, it was easy to decide whether you wanted to let tech into your working life. If you didn’t want a desktop computer for word processing and spreadsheets, then as long as you had admin staff you were covered. Not having a mobile phone simply meant you could get your work done out in the field in the usual way without being bothered by the office.
But the evolution from analogue to desktop to mobile and beyond has brought an ever-faster surge of new tech that, in theory, allows marketers to engage with customers and clients in new, direct, targeted and profitable ways. Technology hasn’t just provided office solutions, it now continually disrupts the market.
The term ‘disruptive technologies’ was coined by Professor Clayton M Christensen at Harvard Business School in 1995, just as the digital age was lifting off. New tech has brought innovation in the way we live and work, but it has also delivered real marketplace impact, penetration and reach. Today, disruptive marketing campaigns are considered the high water mark of a brand’s creative output – think Red Bull Stratos, when skydiver Felix Baumgartner live streamed as he jumped to Earth from the edge of space, or any number of ads that found their audience on mobile devices around the globe. Could they have had their success without recent technological developments? It’s easy to argue that no, they couldn’t.
But audiences are splintering at an incredible rate, and while the impulse is to chase your customers across multiple social channels, is it possible to achieve? Do you really know how your customers are using Snapchat? Could you help crowdsource creative like Doritos does for its Superbowl ads? Have you envisaged how 3D printing or Oculus Rift could be incorporated into your strategy? Furthermore, how are you going to measure what you do, staying abreast of all the consumption, retention, sharing, engagement, operations and ROI data that these channels all produce?
Perhaps the best solution is to forget about the intensity of today’s tech-filled world: put down the device and walk away.
Now, think what would surprise you or delight you at this moment? A helpful suggestion, a surprising juxtaposition of images or even a risqué joke?
There's an idea. Behind the tech, the same certainties of marketing remain. And as for being resistant to learning how to use the latest devices and work with new platforms, well, that professor from the mid-90s is no doubt receiving all his student’s work digitally these days – and he’s probably not batting an eyelid.
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