Giant plasma screens, corporate blogs, real-time communication: Technology is revolutionizing the world of marketing and advertising. Or, more precisely, consumers are abandoning old technology, and marketing is following. And there are more changes to come, say three of Northern Nevada’s leading marketing experts. Here they discuss their marketing responses to technology’s changes.
Image Base International
No matter what the technology, “content is [still] king,” says Catherine Oaks, president and co-founder of Image Base International. Indeed, her advertising agency has carved out a niche for itself in the digital signage world.
At their optimum, the systems are private broadcasting networks. At the very least, they’re displays for company information.
As display signage, large format plasma screens and LCDs (flat screens) are replacing retail banners and static print signage, says Tony Trowbridge, IBI co-founder. And these signs have the potential of providing real-time communication.
The Grand Sierra recently installed digital signage in the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. One immediate benefit: The Grand Sierra can change its advertising via network and customize its message feeds to incoming groups without midnight interruptions to passengers and airport staff.
“It’s a new advertising paradigm, a broadcast plan,” says Oaks. But it’s also, like advertising plans of old, based on marketing strategy, on knowing your customers and fine-tuning your message.
Today’s generation of customers “gulps up information,” says Trowbridge.
Oaks predicts that over the next few years, digital signage will become ubiquitous. Large corporations will use it internally to create company cohesiveness, broadcasting company picnic videos, showing the latest products and internal corporate messages. Multi-outlet retailers such as Starbucks will use it to create consistent, in-store branding and real-time, direct communication to customers.
In-store marketing, especially, will change, with fewer print signs and more point-of-sales marketing directly to the customer.
Bottom line: Changes in where marketing dollars go are inevitable as digital technology tweaks marketing strategies with offers of plasma signs, optimized Web sites and permission-based communication. The question as yet unanswered is which of today’s media will change fast enough.
David Branby Advertising
“People want to be marketed to, but on their own terms,” says David Branby, president and executive creative director of David Branby Advertising. Consumers want to know what’s new and what’s available. And advertising is one of the ways they tap into trends, fashions, and the latest rage.
What’s fundamentally different is the consumer’s control. Gone are the days when anyone had to sit through commercials to hear or see their favorite programs. TiVo, iPods, the Web and the consumers themselves have changed that.
“People are super editors now, so the challenge is, how do you engage them?” Branby asks.
His answer: Regardless of the technology you use, either amuse them or gain their permission to send them your advertising messages.
Permission-based marketing, common as it is, also has added a respect component to today’s advertising: easy opt-out links. “Our expectations for politeness are higher,” Branby says. And on the Web, good manners are enforced by fast-clicking consumers.
Every business needs a Web presence, he adds. People go to the Web for a quick grab of an address, phone number, or map. “If I were the Yellow Pages, I’d be nervous,” he says.
For media buying, he describes himself as “media-neutral.” Whatever works for the client and reaches the right consumer segment, whether it be print or digital technology, is what he chooses. But all the while, he’s aware of today’s high-tech habits.
“We jump in our cars and plug in the iPod,” he says. “So, think of what that means for radio advertising.”
“Web development is changing the industry,” says Jarrod Lopiccolo, business director and co-owner of Noble Studios in Carson City. And it’s changing it fast.
Some of the new technology helps define and target customers. “By simply driving people through a Web portal, you can count users,” he says. By counting clicks and following them through the site, you gain valuable data about your customers’ needs and desires, so, you can better define usability. And you can use similar technology to gauge return on investment.
Online Web applications now can integrate into the business, too, Lopiccolo says. For instance, Noble Studios developed a site for client Esquire Innovations, Inc. that allows customers to tap into Esquire’s calendar and schedule live demos with a sales person.
Online technology is moving toward more personal communication and away from old broadcasting formats. Blogging is part of it, as are RSS (Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) feeds — blog updates and news items distributed to subscribers.
“What’s to come are more and more collaborations of people and companies,” he says.
How to keep up with all of the burgeoning changes? “Hired talent,” says Lopiccolo. That’s the secret. And problem solvers. Ultimately, much of Web development is solving problems and finding ways to develop software to fit custom needs. ￼
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