In public relations we talk a lot about influencers. Business press influencers, analyst influencers, trade press influencers, and at Ogilvy PR specifically, we have a practice dedicated to digital influencers. But what I have come to realize in my five years as a practicing tech PR professional, is that this job has a huge influence on the way that I look at other people…actually, the way I look at their consumer devices.
Some people notice shoes, some notice handbags, but if you talk with a tech PR professional, we notice devices. Everything from what kind of mobile phone you are using and on what network, to the type of TV you have and whether it’s equipped with the latest and greatest from CES that year. When tech PR colleagues get together, we pull our BlackBerrys and iPhones out of our pockets and purses and, without noticing, start to compare who has the newest one, giving everybody else in the room “tech envy”.
This “tech envy” stems from the reality that the work we do has a greater influence on our daily lives than most would like to admit. When you work in tech PR you learn about your client’s newest software offering or chip development, and what it means for their respective industry. You learn about what can make laptops run faster and more efficiently and the true capabilities of your BlackBerry if it uses one of your client’s products. And after learning about the product, we are tasked to communicate it as well. It becomes a part of who we are and how we talk about things. We “drink the Kool-Aid,” so to speak.
My job has influenced me to the point of becoming what I consider a “consumer technology snob.” I don’t have the best or newest technology by any means (it can be really expensive!), but I do know enough about it to want it. Additionally, when I started thinking about this blog topic, I started to notice how I look at people on the bus with older cell phones and laptops, and I wonder what is preventing them from getting a new one. Don’t they care? Why don’t they care? It is important, right?
So what I would like to know is… What about your job influences you? Have you noticed you look at people differently (for better or for worse) because of it?
There is a vast amount of research that has been conducted recently regarding the consumers’ preferred method of receiving marketing communication. A recent study by Forrester Research, and commissioned by ExactTarget, highlights that the majority of consumers today still have a strong affinity towards email.
The important take out: Consumers prefer email at a rate of three-to-one when compared with any other avenue for marketing communications such as social media, Instant Messaging, phone and SMS!
Despite the abundance of research that all points towards email being the marketing method of choice for consumers, why do marketers continue to ignore this?
Despite the spike of Internet users using social media, for example three quarters of Australian online adults now use social technologies (Forrester: Australian Adult Social Technographics Revealed 2008), as a general rule, consumers are NOT open to receiving marketing communication via this channel.
As social media continues to boom with new channels for communication being created everyday (with new social networking sites and the like popping up), there is an overreliance and tendency to use this medium for all-purposes in order to reach the masses.
Unfortunately we forego the very fundamental principles of Marketing 101.
We need to stop, think, plan and go back to basics:
Who are our customers?
Where are they?
What are their preferences for receiving marketing messages?
What are the right messages for each customer segment?
What channel do we use to reach them?
A quick Google search and some top line research is enough to reveal where our customers’ preferences sit. It’s all very simple. Follow the basic principles of marketing and target the right marketing messages to the right audience based on their preferences using the appropriate channels!
Yet sadly we are missing the point! We’re frustrating consumers and, ultimately, not getting the outcomes that we desire!
It seems like a logical move but who would have thought that we are well and truly advanced to the point where the Internet will be delivered to us in our livings rooms via our televisions. Intel and Yahoo are teaming up to bring this experience to consumers via a Widget Channel, representing a true evolution of the Internet as know it.
So what implications does this have for the consumer? If we are looking ahead, it means that we will have the ability to interact with these TV widgets via remote control - offering us an enhanced and all-immersive online experience. We’ll be able to purchase products online, converse with friends via email, frequent social networking sites, check out favourite videos online and share with friends during the ad breaks. The possibilities are endless.
If you are viewing an ad that features a new, must-have product, this new experience could mean that you don’t need to leave your house to purchase it. You see a product, love it, want it, jump online and purchase in real time – and from the comfort of your very own couch.
And the really cool thing – Intel and Yahoo are already collaborating with companies including Blockbuster, CBS Interactive, Comcast, eBay, Toshiba, MTV, Twitter and others in order to develop these widgets.
The future of the Internet is here! What will be next?
If you could access the Internet from your TV, what would you do with it?
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Behind The Scenes: Ogilvy PR, Washington, D.C.