Have you ever been so passionate about sharing something that you go out, tell a room full of people and the only response you get back is the sound of crickets? Okay, well then you know how I felt about ten years ago when I stood in front of a Kiwanis group in Central Florida and declared: TV and the Internet will merge. As business people, you need to be ready for the ‘Next”.
Back then I was only about 25 and thought, no one would take me seriously if I pressed the topic. So I put my head down and went back to work as regular ol marketing consultant…waiting quietly until one of the bigger players did something significant that I could then rip from the headlines and put in front of my clients’ faces saying “SEE! I told you we needed to get ready!”
Well, yesterday was that signature moment. I opened up my news feeds to this glorious headline: Google plans blended TV-Internet service
Now Europe and Japan have been readily using the gift of iTV for quite some time now, but where is it here in the states? Nowhere. My theory is that the cable companies have a monopolized hold on our viewing pleasures, so the iTV thing never really took root. I thought for a moment that the AOL/Time Warner merge would kick off the momentum, but no luck. Interactive television has been around for so long now that there’s even entire seasons of hit show like CSI that have been produced! No joke, you can interact with the characters, view evidence and scenes from numerous angles and so on. I digress.
A big enough player is now coming in from the other side to mix it up. Forward motion on this next level of communication and entertainment is on the way. I’m stoked about the progress, but heed warning to the Millennial Boomer business execs: You will lose even more control of your message if you are not prepared for your customer to now interact with you on this new level. Three things you need to start talking to your advertising agencies about NOW:
1. Strategic product placement campaigns (that’s where you see brands in movies and TV shows that you recognize). If your ad agency does not do this kind of strategy work and media buys, find a one that does. Imagine a little Google search box in the corner of TV screens where a viewer can spot a product, search it and buy it within seconds. You’ll want to know your options when it comes to this kind of purchasing behavioral patterns. Those of you in retail, will also want to be sure your websites are prepared with a full point of purchase shopping cart solution.
2. Vamp up your awareness about Advertising Networks in the virtual reality world: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Advertising_Networks
Folks, as far fetched as it sounds, adults are MAJOR gamers. Statistics show that 65% of American households play. The average player is 35 years old and guess what? The average statistic of a search engine user is a 35 yr. old educated male. See a pattern? http://www.grabstats.com/statcategorymain.asp?StatCatID=13#Stats
3. Start interviewing video editors and producers and plan to have them on staff. If you’re a company that plans to stay in business over the next 5-10 years, you need to be producing your white paper in the form of video content. Lots and lots of it, produced somewhat professionally (doesn’t need to be perfect, just relevant). I’ve worked with lots of these guys, so let me know if you need some good references.
Bottom line is that if you’re not approaching this as a Millennial Boomer, it’s going to be that much harder to get ahead of the game once all these new rules of engagement for Business 2.0 pop up. No need to worry though. You still have plenty of time if you start now!