Resist the Fear – Dive In To New Technologies

by | Jul 20, 2016

by | Jul 20, 2016 | Technology

You pick up your newspaper to get the day’s news.

The paper has a bunch of ads, and you notice one for the telephone. The ad makes sense, because it’s early in the 20th Century. You don’t have a telephone yet – only the fancy people have one. The ad is designed to persuade you to finally make that purchase.

The ad depicts a woman in her mid-70s, glasses, holding the phone in her left hand so her wedding and engagement rings are visible. She’s a family-oriented person. She’s smiling and looking nostalgically off in the distance. The headline reads, “Let’s Make It This Sunday.” The copy encourages the reader to make a call this Sunday. (Apparently Sunday is THE day to make calls.) The ad touts the personal touch of a phone call as a big difference maker when “rounding up the gang.”

The implication is that without a phone, personal connection is harder. So get a phone and make that easier.

The ad worked. I mean, the phone sorta caught on, right? It seems odd that the telephone as a communications medium would ever need advertising to take hold. But the emotional pull was necessary to encourage a thorough adoption of the technology.

The truth hidden deep inside this ad is that we – human people – are motivated innately to connect with each other. The telephone ad plays off of that desire.

And phone ads are still playing taking the same approach.

Whether the brand is Apple, Samsung, LG, or any other phone manufacturer, the emotional triggers of connection are present in the advertising. Even when the ads are more of a feature listing of what a phone can do, those features are designed solely to make connecting more convenient. Sure, people like to entertain themselves and play games, but you never see a phone ad based around a game. The ads tout features like a fast charging phone… because it enables you to get back to connecting more quickly.

Technology is about connecting. Marketing is, too. In fact, the desire to connect, and the evolving relationship that emotional pull has with technology, extends to apps, too.

If you were to see an ad today for Snapchat, would you download it right away? Maybe not.

Don’t worry, there were plenty of people who saw that phone ad and didn’t buy a phone, too.

But as marketing and communications professionals, it’s important for us to understand. We can’t fear new technology. Our job is to be leaders in communications, especially in the vehicles of connection.

And Snapchat exploration is worthwhile.

Why Snapchat Matters to Marketers

  • Snapchat has 150 million users – 99 million of which post to Snapchat everyday
  • Daily users spend 25-30 minutes in the app
  • More than 60 percent of smartphone users in the U.S. between the ages of 13 and 34 are on Snapchat

What’s the point? There are many reasons we don’t adopt technology as people. As marketers, though, we need to try new stuff out early and often – it might just help our businesses.

For example, I’m not avid user of Snapchat personally. But I’ve now played with it for a few weeks, and I understand it. My oldest daughter even calls it “yellow ghosty face.” In fact, newly resigned Cleveland Cavalier Richard Jefferson is really fun to follow on it. I have now studied it to the point where I understand what’s possible and how to wield Snapchat when a marketing plan calls for it. And I don’t fear recommending it.

As communications professionals we must feel compelled to understand how newer technology enables people to connect, and the marketing opportunity that comes with that connection.

What new technology can you use study this week? How can it apply to your business?

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