How to Stay on Top of the Technology

How to Stay on Top of the Technology

Technology – and let’s be clear, I am talking about all technology, but ESPECIALLY technology in the Interactive space – is always in a never-ending state of change. It is in continuous flux and always undergoing a metamorphosis of one type or another. It’s not only in that constant state of motion and re-creation, but it’s also really the one thing these days that truly has the capability to disrupt the way things are done all over the world.

It’s all about paying attention to your market and the new technology and seeing ways to fit them together “WHERE IT MAKES SENSE”.

Nothing makes me crazier than hearing about some company that comes out with a mobile app that does nothing but act as brochureware or similar just because somebody told them they should have one… because all the cool kids are doing it. UGH!

For example, what did I do before I had my smart phone? How did I find out what time it was or how to get from point A to point B? How did I ever know what the exact temperature and what was that big bulky machine next to my bed that I needed to get up in the morning? I have replaced at least a dozen products with my one now… and it fits in my purse. Joy!

Now, I’m sure we could debate at length if this speed of new technology makes us better off or worse (I vote better), but that’s not the point. That ship has sailed. Technology changes are happening with every keystroke I type and you and your business can’t be left behind or somebody else will be right there to take your place (or recreate your business in a better way – Say goodbye, MySpace and Alta Vista).

So what are you to do?

As somebody in Interactive strategy, production and marketing; I have a deep passion for this emerging technology and change. I want to be a part of this magic and really create something amazing that will disrupt the way we do things in the future. As a business owner or employee in another field, it is hard enough to make your own magic happen in whatever industry or position you are in much less keep up with what crazy new “thing” is going on in the digital space.

You know you should have an idea what new things are coming down the road. You know you need to understand enough of what is going on to know what may be able to move along your business or help make your job easier and better. You know how important it is to keep improving and growing.

Take Amazon for example. They saw the changes in the way people absorb information and the ease of how people can get digital information and read from anywhere at any time. They created easier ways for people to get this information and now Amazon sells more e-books than printed books.

OK, so where can you go to get information that may be important to you about emerging technology and Interactive marketing, strategy and production?

  • TechCrunch: What can you say about the king of all tech blogs. It has it – all and in doses that will not make your brain explode if you are not a die-hard techie.
  • Wired: Also a leader in the tech field. It has future forward thinking and a lot of great in-depth articles on the latest and greatest in all areas of technology including science and business.
  • Mashable: One of my personal favs although it has a lot more than current and upcoming Internet related information. You ca also check out US & World, Watercooler and Entertainment.
  • The Next Web: A hot colorful look into what is and will be in today’s Internet. I like it.
  • The Verge: A newer to the game upstart with lots of cool kid information on not only emerging technology; but also business, design and culture and more.
  • WSJD : Do you like reading a lot of stuff and have a love of verbiage? If so this might just work for you! It’s the Wall Street Journal’s tech section of their blog. It’s got a lot of information, in the fun-filled WSJ style. Enjoy.
  • ZDNet: A classic, but still chock full of information. OK, mostly for true IT and IS types, but still has some nuggets.
  • ThinkGeek: And this one is just my gift to you… ThinkGeek is a tried and true paradise of fun stuff that any of us geeks would love to have ( you might want to take notes for my upcoming birthday). They offer things for every geek flavor in your life such as A Feast of Ice & Fire – Official Game of Thrones Cookbook, Star Trek Enterprise Bottle Opener, Doctor Who Adipose Stress Toy or the ever useful Death Star Ice SPHERE Mold.

Now, there are a lot of newsletters and Linkedin groups and other things that do have value, but I’m intentionally not going into that in this post. I hope you find some of these useful and if I have forgotten any that should be added, make sure to let me know!

What is an Interactive Strategist / Producer / Marketer?

What is an Interactive Strategist / Producer / Marketer?

I get asked what I do pretty much daily and I used to have a hard time explaining it.

I say I’m an “Interactive Director” and I get a blank stare back and a comment like “Oh, you do websites”? I then would try to go into the nuances of what “Interactive” really means. How digital marketing differs from traditional marketing. How the new world digital marketplace is a continually growing and evolving beast where you always have to be paying attention – keeping up – or else you get devoured. How the space includes all your standard interactive things like web and mobile, but also amazing new things like interactive billboards, packaging, and one of my favorite cool disruptive technologies as it focuses on ecommerce – virtual subway shopping (yes, an actual virtual wall of products you can look through and buy from as you are waiting for a train – Say what?)… and let’s not even forget interactive paper!

Well, as you can tell, this kind of explanation can take a while and get into a lot of detail that not everyone is as passionate about as I am (don’t get me started on “emerging and disruptive technology” – No really… DON’T!). What most people are truly asking is “What is it that you do that can help me”. So instead of going into all the ins and outs of the digital landscape today and where I think it’s going tomorrow when they ask me what I do, I have learned to narrow it down to this (now I warn you – this is not for the squeamish):

I make (sh)it happen online… and I (try to) make it amazing!

That’s basically it in a nutshell.

Anyone in the Digital or Interactive strategy, production or marketing space makes (sh)it happen online, in mobile and in any other digital medium they are lucky enough to work in. We look at the business goals and we come up with ways to accomplish them in the Interactive space. We combine a knowledge of tech and marketing. We are part business strategist, part project manager, part tech geek and part marketing whiz if we are to do it right. We need to really “get” what the goals are (sell more widgets), who are target audience is (widget lovers around the world) and then come up with the plans to make that happen… mainly in the digital space.

It’s really an easy 11 step formula:

1) What is the goal?
2) Who is the audience?
3) How do we get the audience what they want/need?
4) Come up with the strategies needed for #3.
5) Create a plan based on #4.
6) Gather the resources, organize, move forward.
7) Tweak and adjust as things change around you!!!!
Always remember technology changes will not wait for you to finish your product/project! Be ready to spin on a dime if you need to! Change is a part of growth. Get used to it!!
8) Test and analyze
9) Back to #7 (for the record, #7 and #8 can go around a few times… be ready!)
10) Launch…..

wait for it

11) AND back to #1

We run the race in a never-ending circle of strategy and creation to try to make the most amazing digital product that fills a void and accomplishes a goal. Piece of cake.