Technology vs. marketing – are we forgetting the basics?

From the introduction of mass printing in the 15th Century, the latest technology has always been the new “new” for marketers. Of course there have also been downsides; in 1864 wealthy Americans were offered get-rich-quick schemes via unsolicited telegraph messages – the first SPAM?

So why hasn’t marketing changed out of all recognition with each round of pretty amazing new stuff? That is because successful marketing is not about the medium; it is about meeting people’s needs profitably. And humans are still fundamentally the same as they have always been however much we might like to think of ourselves as rather more sophisticated.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a Luddite rant. Technology has allowed marketing to progress significantly; enabling us to move from a world of mass advertising to targeted offerings. We’ve become used to demographics, sales information and web stats and are moving into context-aware computing.

Each one has taken us a step closer in our understanding of customers. But we shouldn’t forget these are tools and the real skill is in turning the data into actionable information. Knowing where a customer has been on your website can be interesting, understanding why they do this is useful, but taking this knowledge and creating relevant content is what actually matters.

We must embrace new technology, it can offer us opportunities to learn more about our customers that we could only imagine 10 years ago. But remember to be sure of the benefits – is it shiny or is it useful?

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