It used to be that marketers were able to stay ahead of the technology adoption curve by reading the trades, and by budgeting for small scale tests in one year, and then building into integrated plans the following year. It seems that for years, that’s how we advised our clients. Lately, it seems that this approach doesn’t cut it anymore. Let’s take QR codes as an example. Yes it’s been almost FOUR years since we first deployed QR codes for one of our clients on the back of t-shirts at a trade show (where we had less than a dozen takers by the way).
But generally, the QR code discussion really just heated up late last year. Flash forward a mere 9 or 10 months, and QR codes are EVERYWHERE!
Sports Illustrated used Jag Tags to deliver mobile video:
Pottery Barn is using them in their Fall catelog:
Calvin Klein is using in their new outdoor campaign and Best Buy has announced that they will incorporate on nearly all in-store products and will deliver product information and even social ratings.
In the race to differentiate themselves, many marketers are adopting and deploying new technologies at an alarmingly fast rate. No longer can marketers wait for a 2 year technology adoption life-cycle with a ridged and formal testing process, and expect to be perceived as innovative.
Am I prescribing that we should move into an age where we carelessly throw money at every new technology that comes along? No. But I do think that we need to change our strategy by doing the following:
1) Allocate a portion of your budget for “innovation” each and every year…period.
2) Make testing and learning an ongoing process. Not one that happens 1 time per year.
3) Don’t get hung up with trying to justify ROI to the Nth degree with something so new. There are no benchmarks for some of this stuff. The good news is that it can be measured, so eventually you’ll get there.