Having spent the past few months delving into relatively new
technologies such as pay-per-call, mobile search, RSS, podcasts and more, I’ve found it’s a tech jungle out there. New applications are springing up all over the globe, with some of the most exciting—and certainly the most talked about—solutions related to new media opportunities. These technological developments are rooted in marketers’ increasing displeasure with the performance of traditional media, causing them to look for different avenues by which to reach and influence a populace that continues to resist mass-media push advertising methods.
But amidst the hype of these promising new tools is a bigger, more important theme: Which of these first-stage technologies are worth the investment?
Potential is a tough thing to measure. For every expert who says RSS is too immature to be considered a real player on the direct marketing scene, there is another guru who points out how quickly RSS will grow before the year is out. All this postulating reminds me of the information battle
on the nutrition front; one study will declare that a certain food is a cancer fighter, and then a week later, a different study will find this food to be the leading cause of some other life-threatening illness. Which study you believe, in likelihood, has a good deal to do with how you’re feeling when you get the news. It’s also likely that both studies contain a bit of truth that has everything to do with context.
For direct marketers sizing up the plethora of technologies currently at their disposal—trying to determine which offer the best ROI—the wisest path is one based on the context of how to best serve your customers. What good is developing marketing podcasts if you know that the only audience likely to have the technology and inclination to download and listen to them isn’t your core market? Taking another tack, don’t forget the real cost of time in the adoption of any new technology. Get your marketing staff juggling
the implementation of too many new solutions at once, and you put the quality of their current marketing activities in jeopardy. The end result for your customers is that not only does the new, whiz-bang feature not work the way you promised, but the surrounding services sometimes go south, too—leaving customers asking why you fixed something that, to them, didn’t appear to be broken.