While I am feverishly trying to catch the most recent season of AMC’s award-winning Mad Men, I find myself taken aback by all of the subtleties in technology that people were forced to work with, simply because that is all they had. It’s tough not to take technology today for granted. When I look at the “baby boomer” generation and everything happening in the economy, it’s not a surprise that some may be battling to acclimate to these vast amounts of technological changes. In manufacturing, we see an even slower transition due to the fact that people don’t like change especially when you replace an operator with a robot. Think of the great press release I could send out today; “Efficiency and On Time Delivery 100% of the Time.”
To think, at one point in time, people used typewriters to compile all vital messages, announcements, etc. while one error could prove fatal and result in loss of precious time. Hours were spent folding paper, stuffing, sealing, and organizing envelopes, to then be carted off for delivery. Print ads were created at an advertising agency, submitted for revisions, and mailed to the industry magazines 3 months in advance. Now, only after a short amount of time and a few clicks of the mouse, we can send important messages to hundreds, even thousands of recipients. We can create online ads and submit them electronically only to be active that same day. Not only have these changes saved invaluable time, but financial resources, as well. So I ask, why has our industry not taken advantage of this in order to be caught up to speed of today’s standards? Many companies refuse to change philosophies and stick to the “old testament” of manufacturing marketing; whether they are afraid of potential growth, overwhelmed by change, or simply lazy, remains to be determined, but the fact remains that the networking capabilities are out there.
As someone who is in the social media space on a daily basis, I see more often, smaller and smaller companies, utilizing websites like Twitter and Facebook in order to reach out to vast potential customers across the map. This is an opportunity that the boomers probably never imagined they would be given. So what exactly does this mean? Well, it does mean a bit of work. The learning curve is going to be quite longer for those who did not have the luxury of having “Computers” be one of their five standard classes through grade school. Luckily, I was one of the first of the new breed to be granted the opportunity and even I still have trouble keeping up ‘tweets’, ‘likes’, and thousands of acronyms meaning you are laughing out loud. With that said, the opportunities that lay forth are huge. No longer will multi-million dollar companies be able to easily flush out small mom and pop job shops. Sure, they will continue to dominate ad space, mailboxes (if you still have one), TV time, etc., but, as we have seen, the real value is coming back to the message, trust, and value that has been lost in the sea of the corporate ‘mart’ agenda.
If you’re looking to keep up and not become lost sitting back on your old DOS program or, maybe you’ve even taken a leap of faith and expanded to dial-up internet, you should heavily consider an increase in tutelage. All kidding aside, investing time in education and training, technologically, will be essential if you wish to remain an active player. This does not mean you need to spend thousands of dollars sending your team off to night classes, or on fancy new equipment. There are many sites out there that offer up free classes, webinars, seminars, etc. For example, e-marketing industry leader, HubSpot, offers a free ‘degree’ in internet marketing. At IMU, or Inbound Marketing University, you can take 18 1-hour long webinars, or printout materials, to learn the foundation of the different internet and social media tactics that can help bring your company out of the dark ages and into the 21st century. If the desire and effort is still there, then do not fear the dark space known as the internet. I can tell you from firsthand experience there are many, many other learners out there who can help you along the way.Posted by Jason Rourke, Marketing Manager, ProfitKey International