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Utilizing New Technologies to Market Your Company

Web, smart phone, and social-networking should be part of your plan.



During last year’s Emmy Awards, the host opened the show with a musical plea for viewers to “put down the remote” and not miss the live action by recording the show or “jumping online.”

While TV viewers do multitask, tape, and watch online, shows still draw large audiences and become the talk of the water cooler the next day. The 2009 Emmys attracted its largest audience since 2003—clearly, traditional media aren’t dead. But increasingly, the bold new ideas are coming from company marketers who are working with their ad agencies and media partners to combine new technologies with traditional media approaches.

In lieu of traditional media tools
With the media landscape changing, and people shifting how they spend their time, it’s often challenging to assess how to balance marketing spending among traditional media like television, radio, outdoor, and print against newer technologies, such as the Web, mobile, smart phone, and social-networking applications.

Approaching marketing challenges by asking the question, “How would I do this if traditional media tools did not exist?” helps to move beyond traditional thinking to communicate your brand story in new ways. This doesn’t mean you ignore traditional media. Rather, it means that you push for new frontiers that disrupt the conventional approaches, showcase your brand in fresh ways, and effectively separate you from your competitors.

It’s tempting to believe that, because something is new it must be better, but without a smart idea that makes sense for your brand, dollars spent on innovative media approaches will be dollars wasted.

Relevance, utility, engagement, and more
Consider these four factors when looking at new marketing technologies.
• Ensure relevance: While people are increasingly adopting Twitter, this doesn’t mean that your brand’s consumers will sign up in droves to hear from you. It needs to be relevant for them to care enough to follow your brand’s tweets. A good example is the Albion Café in Britain. created a device for the bakery that allows it to tweet when goodies were coming out of the oven. This helped extend the relationship between the bakery and its customers because people were excited about getting the freshest baked goods first.


• Create utility: Globally there are more than 30 million users who have collectively downloaded one billion apps for the iPhone. The best smart-phone apps are useful or entertaining. The “Dunkin’ Donuts Dunkin’ Run” iPhone app, for instance, allows you to collect your friends’ or co-workers’ doughnut orders as you head out for a “doughnut run.”

• Use technology to engage: Nike teamed up with Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong campaign during the Tour de France to engage fans in a direct and novel way. Typically during the Tour, fans write support messages in chalk along the route. Nike created a computerized “Chalkbot” that allowed fans to suggest messages via text or website, which were sent to the Chalkbot computer and then relayed to a “printer” that chalked the message onto the Tour de France route ahead of the bikers. The Chalkbot then sent fans a photo of their message and a link that used Google Maps to help fans track when the Tour de France team was passing their chalked greeting.

• Use technology to increase traditional media’s impact: Lexus and its agency Dentsu recently took outdoor advertising to a new interactive level by using real-time weather data to tailor the advertising message that runs on digital outdoor screens to highlight the convertible aspect of Lexus’ cars. The outdoor screens display the weather feed at the bottom and change the picture of a Lexus IS 250 C (top up or down) to match the current weather conditions.

Andrea Southcott is president of TBWA/Vancouver (, a full-
service advertising and media-planning company in Canada. This article first appeared
in The Globe and Mail, and is licensed from CTV Globe Media Publishing Inc.





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