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Technology vs Advertising

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Technology

[tek-nol-uh-jee]
–noun

1. The branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.
2. The terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.
3. A technological process, invention, method, or the like.
4. The sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.
(ref. dictionary.com)

Through creation and innovation technology provides people with new material objects, networks and services. I’d like to note also that I think it is predicated by age, in that what is considered technology by us now, will just be stuff to children who grow up exposed to it.

Of interest to me, is how technology, more specifically technology involving or related to the use of computers, impacts upon  how we reach and engage with people as advertisers.

Computer technology changes our media consumption habits, from how we gain information, how we interact socially and even how we shop. As media consumption patterns change, so to must the way we deliver advertising messages to people. Needless to say the advertising and media industry has always had to adjust to changing media habits, from radio to television, how people consume media has continued to change, and will always do so. What doesn’t change though is the basic principal of what we do, to create great work which inspires the desired behaviour change.

To help us understand what is driving the rapid progress of the computer technology causing these changes, we can consider three laws which I heard Faris Yakob put forward a while back, his blog is at http://farisyakob.typepad.com

The first, is Moores Law – The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. (Computers get faster for less money.)

The second is Kryders Law – Computer storage space doubles annually while the cost roughly halves. (Computers store more for less money, trending towards marginal freeness.)

As a side note, Kryders Law is one of the key reasons that Youtube and  Facebook are able to be viable businesses as storage space will continue down towards marginal freeness which essentially means they can store huge quantities of user content without charging anything. We now see the likes of Dropbox and Cloud systems which take advantage of this also.

Finally, we have Gilders Law – The total bandwidth of a communication system roughly triples every 12 months. (Faster internet for less money.)

Take these three laws together as a whole and you get faster more compact computers and devices, virtually unlimited storage capacity and high speed internet allowing greater amounts of data to be transferred, all at a falling price. This drives the creation and widespread adoption of new computer devices which impact our media consumption.

So what does this mean for advertising?

As people become more “connected” through computer technology, they expect media content tailored to them when and where they want it across multiple devices. These devices have enabled a new form of connected social networking to thrive, people now want to engage with their favourite brands and share these associations with their peer groups online as a form of establishing themselves within the social landscape.  There are now new opportunities for selling that aren’t confined to a bricks and mortar stores and huge volumes of data with ways to listen to customers which would never have been possible before.

All this change is forcing us to adapt in how content is delivered through each medium and changing advertising from a one way message to “consumers” into a combination of messages and conversations with people. A scary thing for brands as they loose direct control.

To survive in this environment, agencies may need to start acting more like start ups and software companies, building and prototyping agile solutions for engaging consumers across platforms.

On that note, lets get innovating.

Alex

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