The right technology?

Blogs, Vlogs, RSS…swamped with so many new age technologies, marketers everywhere, myself included, are trying to dig their way out of the information overload to figure out which technology they should adopt in their marketing programs.

I was struggling with the same question myself until last week when suddenly I had an epiphany during a marketing seminar. It’s not the question of which technology but what’s the need you are trying to fulfill.

I have never been a big fan of technology for technology’s sakes. Every time some vendor comes to me with the ‘greatest’ technology ever invented, the first question I ask is ‘Gee, that’s great. What can it do for my customer?’ In the end, isn’t that all that matters? As a marketer, I think it’s my job to make sure that translate the need of my customer into initiatives and marketing programs that can fulfill my customer’s need.

Someone mentioned a key point in the seminar I attended, ‘Provide the information in whatever form that the customer wants to consume it’ So again, it’s not about the technology, it’s about what information does your customer need and how does he want to get it.

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One response to “The right technology?

  1. There may be another issue with trying to impliment “new technologies” within the SMB marketplace…one that has plagued me over the last few years. Let’s call it the “SMB Myopia Trifecta”. It is a combination of upper management ignorance, too much focus on immediate ROI, and the common “if it ain’t broke…don’t fix it” syndrome.RSS, Blogs, Vlogs…could be considered “signposts” on what Marketing is being forced to morph into – we’ve gone from a profession of “pushing the message” to “continual re-education” of our customers. Your customer may know more about your company, your products & services, and your virtues & vices – than your own people. New technologies allow your company to tap into what your customers are thinking – and whether their perceptions match yours. But, the “trifecta” I mention above…ignores this fact. I’ll address each of the issues – and why they need to change.1. Upper Management Ignorance. “This is a passing fad / It’s too new to make a difference / This doesn’t apply to our industry / This is only good for B2C Businesses”. Nope. Sorry. Wrong! This is the new reality – like it or not. That doesn’t mean that you should just “pick a technology and impliment”. To be certain, it is imperative that you should research whether or not a new technology is a viable choice for your business. And..even if a specific piece of technology doesn’t fit today – it “pays to be prepared”. But – ignoring it won’t make it go away.2. Too much focus on Immediate ROI – I’ve personally dealt with this one–too many times, and find the “excuse” of upper managment that “it’s too new to measure whether it’s effective” is a hollow excuse. New technologies, such as “Personal URL” direct mail campaigns vs. classical direct mail actually have better, quicker ROI. Yes – upfront costs may be higher – but being able to quickly test, evaluate, correct and impliment allow for better, faster ROI than doing things “the old way”. Take the time to research which technology “best-fits” your customer’s needs – and be prepared to explain how (and when) the company can expect to derive ROI from it.3. “If it ain’t broke”…meaning, “this is the way we’ve always done it…so let’s keep doing it that way”. Since the only constant in the universe is inconsistant change – your customers wants / needs / expectations are constantly changing. Failing to meet this reality head on – gives your competition a competitive advantage. So – take a little time to research what tools are out there, and be prepared to build a business case as to why “new beats old”. Why do our CEO’s need to “change their minds”? – Simple, really. If they don’t – their customers will. The other day, a friend of mine asked me when I last used a Yellow Pages. Suprisingly enough – I couldn’t remember. I just go to the web and do a quick search for what I need. That’s what your customers are doing. They are using techonolgy to make informed choices – ignoring this fact means your customers may be more informed about your competitors products and services than yours. And…lack of information about you may not be of benefit in their decision making process. So – for those SMB CEO’s that feel that information overload, combined with a constant,oncoming blast of new technologies – means avoiding change – the question should be this – “How do these changes impact my business / my customers / my competition?”

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