Matching Technology to Need

How To Gain Respect with Businesses

Usually I write for businesses and since this is a small business marketing blog that would be appropriate. Today, I want to speak with some of my cohorts in marketing who focus on technology. The social media, web dev, app dev folks of the world apparently need to be reminded that they are often ahead of the rest of society in technology acceptance.

Think of technology as hip-hop and businesses as your parents in the late eighties-early nineties. Remember hearing, “this stuff isn’t music,” and the ever popular, “rap will never last”? ¬†Well, we knew what was up, but Young MC and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s mainstream hits were needed to get the late adopters to finally resign in acceptance.

Sometimes I think some of us need to remember that Twitter is still closer to N.W.A. than Heavy D and the Boys. I often hear how irrelevant social media is to businesses, because of this problem to this day. The problem we seem to have is that technology has not been properly matched to business needs, and that needs to happen for SM to gain the same amount of respect as traditional tools, in the business community.

Last night I was at one of my favorite Detroit area events – Tweetea – in Royal Oak when I was reminded of this. We can get so excited about a new technology that we attempt to convince businesses that they need to do this thing – and it isn’t necessary. It also made me think of an old axiom used in sales that basically reads, “don’t sell but solve.” I would like to use this to create a marketing axiom that reads, “don’t market but connect.” It works for the marketer and the business.

The marketer must connect to the business need and offer solutions that will work at the speed in which the business is ready to accept the communicative tools used. The business must connect to their customer needs, as marketing something just to sell your favorite item is just as bad as marketers pushing their favorite new tools on a business.

I guess it all comes down to doing more than listening, but hearing what is necessary of the message receiver. Before offering something that is cutting edge and gets your marketing geek juices dripping down your chin like the brown sauce out of your Chinese food container after being turned over in your car during a hard stop – do just that and stop to think about whether this will connect you with your client more or take you further away from perceived relevance. Sometimes a consultative approach to offering the tech can get you there, but sometimes you may just need to back off.

As stewards of technology we have a responsibility to make sure that we keep it relevant to businesses by making sure that they either fully understand the need for a new service, or waiting to offer it only when businesses are ready. You’re not going to win any points by dribbling through your legs and staying in one place on the court. Sometimes a fundamental dribble to the basket is the easiest way to score.

Any thoughts?

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About Therran Oliphant

Therran Oliphant is a strong advocate for developing the academic and practical field of Integrated Marketing Communications. Holding an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) from Eastern Michigan University, Therran has been a staunch advocate for developing the theoretical, practical and applicable concepts of the field, especially as it comes to digital advertising and media. His main passion is helping marketers more accurately interface with the technology community and ask the right questions to help them accomplish the objectives their brand customers have set. A career in data and advertising technology has allowed him to have a unique perspective on the science of utilizing the right methodologies to systematically ask the right questions that lead to delivering the outcomes necessary for success.

  • hubertgam

    “gets your marketing geek juices dripping down your chin like the brown sauce out of your Chinese food container after being turned over in your car during a hard stop”
    This put a smile on my face. You really went for this one!

    I think you are right on though. This should be more of an applied science instead of a happy-go-lucky plug-and-play.

    I like “don't market but connect,” because that is what I would rather do anyway.

  • Therran

    Thanks Hubert! I did go for it. Glad it worked.

    And yes, marketing is science. We should apply that thought to everything that we do, to make results more predictable.