I subscribe to a great blog called Serious Games and this latest post highlights the rate of technology convergence and its impact on the increased use of Social Media and the decrease of traditional Media.
I can see that if your world is marketing communciations then technology is having a big impact on the places where advertising is placed and brands are positioned.
The change of channels might have changed but has technology driven any degree of fundamental change in marketing thinking? I find it hard to see how this can be the case.
Surely the technology can only manifest what the practioner’s philosophy decrees. So a micro economic Kotlerian position will see the technology as a means to facilitate needs based exchange, standing in Nordic School position will see technology as a means to enhance relationships, look at the world through Vargo and Lusch’s Service Dominant logic and the technology is their to underpin community building and co-creation of products and services.
Didn’t all of these things exist before digital techologies? The marcomms tactician used to be skilled in media planning and production that utilised 20th century technologies, all that has changed is the hardware and software. Nothing has necessarily changed for Marketing as a philosophy or a strategic endevour. Or has it?
Convergence is certainly interesting from a consumer demand perpsective. Do people like you and I prefer Convergent or Dedicated Products Han, Weong and Seok have found that Products with a high degree of technological Convergence are preferred.
Convergence is also interesting from a managerial perspective. The people using these converged products will be using them to engage with Brands. Schau, Muñiz Jr., & Arnould have written a fascinating article in this month’s Journal of Marketing titled How Brand Community Practice Create Value.In a broad piece of qualitative research that looked at brand communities as diverse as Apple Newton, Garmin GPS, and the Xena Warrior Princess TV Show they have identified 12 value creating practices that included ‘grooming’ where communities share how to care for your product, ‘justifying’ that creates social proof about why the brand is a good buy, ‘badging’ where models and versions of products are built up like an ancestry.
The killer observations for me by the authors are their identification of 4 strategic themes that need blending for effective community value creation, and significantly digital technologies are at the heart:
Social Networking that facilitates stuff such as welcoming, and governing.
Impression Management that facilitates justifying and evagenlising.
Community Engagement that facilitates knowledge sharing.
Brand Use that facilitates tips and tricks.
I like their ideas because they view the thing systemically. Each theme is interconnected and interdependent. It is also clear that digital technology means that creating communities and keeping them alive is much easier these days than in the past. So maybe technology is changing the way we think about Marketing afterall, not necessarily introducing anything new but foregrounding something that might have been easier to ignore in the past? If you can get your hands on a copy of these articles I recommend you do so.