More than last year, and will be even more so next year.
Marketing is perpetual competition; your product is the best, better than what the other guys are selling, for XYZ reasons. The market demands that you stand out from the rest of the pack, that your product or services are the smartest choice for folks shopping around.
Technology has penetrated every sphere of our lives at this point in time. Security, transportation, food production, everything. Business and marketing are just as affected by the availability of technology as other industries have been.
Business and marketing rely on getting goods or services into the hands of the public, using the means most familiar to their target audience. 20 years ago, cell phones were only afforded by the wealthy, but now they are in the hands of most schoolchildren. It seems normal now, but it was unfathomable only a couple decades ago.
Now, many businesses have “mobile marketing” teams, and are investing sizeable sums in establishing a social media presence. Technological acumen is not longer an advantage in the business world, but has become necessary for survival.
August 6, 1991: the end of an empire
On the above date, everything changed. Not just for marketers and business executives (though business was impacted perhaps the most quickly), but for global commerce as a whole as we all knew it: the world wide web went live. The exchange of information became instantaneous. Within a few short years, you were able to order a pair of sneakers delivered to your door, using your credit card, without ever leaving your home. The “business model” as it was known went out the window the moment the internet arrived.
Innovation has always driven business, and technology fosters innovation. While typically having relied on tried-and-true business models, the eruption of the internet turned every marketer on their head.
The arrival of the internet was as landmark an event for businesses as the creation of the printing press or the invention of the steam engine: everything changed. And, with all major changes to a fiscal landscape, it is adapt or die.
Adapt or die
Well, maybe not die, per se, but the level of technological advancement we have reached forces marketers and businesses to innovate at a breakneck pace.
Nobody could have forecasted the impact that the internet was going to have on the business world. Take for example the number of bookstores that had to close their doors for good after printed information was quickly available online.
Communication is necessary for marketing, which is essential for a successful business enterprise. However, with greater access to communication comes greater opportunity for competition, and the only way to stay market salient is to stay at the forefront of innovation, so you can beat the other guys to the punch.
Innovation = technology in 2016
On one hand, marketing relies upon novel ideas, that come from ingenuity, knowledge, and experience. On the other, marketing also has to be innovative, which in today’s business world is synonymous with technology.
Until some several years ago, search engine optimization (SEO) was only known by a handful of digital marketing firms. Now, literally millions of people work in the SEO industry. Until 2001, search engine marketing wasn’t even a term, but today any marketing agency you consult with will have their own team dedicated to SEO. Why is this important?
Innovation is what drives business in 2016. Whether it is developing a new running shoe or designing a car, being at the forefront of technology allows for you to gain an advantage over competitors, and it is invaluable to have your ear to the ground on what could possibly be the next big thing.
Let us admit it: none of us really saw the internet coming, and how it was going to transform marketing and commerce as we understood it. Now, in these times, if a business doesn’t have their own Facebook page or Twitter account they might as well not even exist.
Take a look at Tesla
Remember how the electric car as a concept was proposed to revolutionize the automobile industry, and then suddenly, it disappeared over night? It was looking like fossil-fuel powered vehicle were never going to have any competition to worry about. Afterall, gasoline had been used to power practically every single vehicle on the planet for about 100 years.
Then, a few years ago, within the global hive of innovation, Silicon Valley, Tesla came to life. Now, the company is not only a business success, but they even have a waiting list for their vehicles. Would you have imagined ten years ago an electric car producer would have a waiting list (it is in the hundred of thousands, by the way)? Not likely…
Tesla has much in common with all other Silicon Valley companies: not just a focus on technology and innovation, but it being their very value as a company. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is even already planning for personal space travel programs. We couldn’t predict when the internet would become ubiquitous, and neither can we predict when space travel becomes as common as a trip to the grocery store, but Musk will be a success when it does, because his company is driven by a culture of innovative technology.
Would you like to be the next Microsoft?
Honestly, who wouldn’t? And, we can bet the farm that your competitors certainly do. To successfully market your product, it is essential in the current marketing climate (and of course the future) to not only incorporate the latest technology into your enterprise, but exploit technology as far as you can take it.
Marketing is not always about breaking new ground, but it is about getting to product into the hands of who needs it. While no efforts, no matter how sly, will effectively get customers to reliably purchase a lousy product, a valuable commodity will only succeed if marketed well. Hence, if your marketing methods are exploiting every technological avenue available, you business will follow.
Know your audience, and the technology they prefer to use. For example, if your audience is C-suite executives, Twitter won’t be your best bet to reach them (LinkedIn would be the savvier choice). Or, if your audience prefers mobile devices for purchasing decisions, make sure that your website is mobile friendly.