The advertising, marketing and PR industries have played a role of some sort in commerce for virtually the entirety of human history. However, they have certainly evolved substantially over time. Each has been impacted by technology and new forms of media, opening up new niches and new ways to reach markets.
The internet was the most dramatic recent development in this area since the invention of television, even if it took the technology some years to mature into a useable form. With today’s high-powered computers and high-speed broadband internet connections, advertisers can now stream animated ads without being too obtrusive or demanding of potential customers’ machines.
Niche marketing truly became feasible with the widespread adoption of the internet. Also known as targeted marketed, this refers to tailoring promotional activities to the specific interests or backgrounds of individual prospects – or at least of relatively small groups of prospects. For example, few of the ads that appear on the margins of a web browser are random. They are tailored to the individual customer based on their search engine history and similar factors.
Modern smartphones have added another layer of customization potential for today’s marketers and PR personnel. Of course, space on a small smartphone screen is very valuable, since generally only one ad can be shown at a time. To ensure their effectiveness, therefore, they must be precisely targeted. For example, many companies now display smartphone ads to individuals who are actually inside their locations.
While some users are uncomfortable with this level of oversight, it is largely controlled by the privacy settings on the phone itself. Most mobile users simply do not want to look at ads unless the information they contain is actually relevant. This type of marketing can help ensure improved relevancy, making the ads more useful for both the advertiser and the consumer.
However, no matter how much technology develops, this will never be a completely formulaic, pre-programmed industry. Depending on the specific situation or goal, promotional activities will always be very much a human game. For example, this is particularly true of many PR duties. Without that human touch, no amount of technological advantages will matter. Advertising savvy counts for little without the ability of your PR or marketing personnel to convey the image and personality behind your business or nonprofit. Your goal should simply be to use technology as effectively as possible to help customers or supporters get to know the people behind your organization.
How has technology changed the way you approach PR? If technological developments helped your PR efforts – or even if they hurt – tell us about it below!