Andy Hart, European vice president of advertising and online at Microsoft, told marketing magazine The Drum recently that tech providers are still too focused on jargon and not enough on business benefits.
Marketers must “take responsibility” and avoid the flood of messages – if they don’t, the market may eventually rebel, he suggests. The retreat into buzz should also be replaced by plain language and real-world benefits. The marketing industry is in danger of “eating itself to death” if it does not reduce the sheer volume of commercial messages in a mobile world, Hart says.
Michael Breeze, marketing director at specialist distie Interactive Ideas, confirms the importance of trends – but he also underlines the necessity for keeping one’s head and ensuring that returns from technological adoption are in fact possible.
“We keep an eye on technology trends; we are out looking for what is going to drive bigger sales opportunities for our resellers,” Breeze (pictured, left) says. “And then we look for the advantage, particularly to the end user.”
He says Interactive Ideas has no formal process for deciding which trends are worth following – it is simply a matter of considering each possibility case by case and asking whether there is a market, what competition there is, whether all the other elements needed are available, and so on.
“We are about economies of scale, so we will not build a market from scratch that does not already exist,” he explains.
When a likely offering is identified, it is important to leave room to manoeuvre as things develop; avoid moves that leave customers high and dry. Last year the distie exited the retail box software market, but it did so over time, as it worked out that enterprise software would offer better returns, Breeze says.
Consider the situation carefully, and don’t jump in too quickly, he adds.
On the other hand, Alex Tatham, marketing director at Westcoast – a distributor that takes a broader line – says it does not need to hunt for the next big thing, adding that a lot of fad following is primarily generated by the media. Manufacturers must think ahead in terms of their product road map, but the channel’s role at the mainstream end is focused on fulfilment.
“If we are doing it for a big retailer, we can do it for lots of others,” Tatham says. “Generally, there has to be plenty of money in it.”
Westcoast “might take a punt” if something is really special or complementary, but generally the product is already proven so it concentrates on loyalty, incentives and support rather than advertising, Tatham (pictured, right) confirms.
Timo Elliott, analytics innovation lead at SAP BusinessObjects, opines that firms jump on trends without necessarily understanding them. Blogging about BI, he warns that big data is one example where hype might have overtaken understanding. Really, he says, it is simply about data, and the new opportunities emerging around that.
“[However] big data has proven a new opportunity to talk to business people about the power of analytics, and because everybody is searching for it, vendors would be crazy not to include it in their marketing,” Elliott adds.
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