If you’re unfamiliar with Moore’s Law, get acquainted.
Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on an integrated circuit increases exponentially, doubling approximately every two years.
How about Gilder’s Law?
Gilder’s Law, advanced by author George Gilder, states bandwidth grows at least three times faster than computer processing power. While computer processing power doubles approximately every two years (Moore’s Law), communications power (or at least its potential) doubles every six months.
Does your head hurt yet? If computer processing power increases at an exponential rate, and bandwidth potential increases even more exponentially, how do you ensure that your advertising sees what’s behind the technological corner before your consumers do?
Today, some large companies, mostly technology vendors, are reeling in Six Sigma practices and focusing more on innovation. While I wholeheartedly endorse measurement, optimization, tracking, and research practices for online advertising, nothing is as important in the long run as technology innovations.
Think of it this way. You didn’t know Facebook existed 18 months ago. The iPhone was just a rumor 12 months ago. Things change so fast, a 25-year-old and 16-year-old likely have dissimilar online behaviors.
So what are you going to do about that, Mr. Advertiser or Monsieur Agency? What are you doing about that right now?
Here are three rules of thumb to ensure that you’re not falling behind and not only succeeding today, but walking down the road ahead.
Follow Schafer’s Rule
I made it up, so I get to name it. For each advertising concept you put in a proposal to a client, include one that you think the client would never go for because they wouldn’t understand. Advertisers, ask the same from your agencies. Odds are, you’ll fall somewhere in the middle, which will at least be a small, and hopefully continual, step forward.
Build Relationships with Tech Companies — and Lead Them
If you don’t have relationships with the leading technology companies, you’re already lagging behind. Adobe’s Macromedia, Microsoft, Google, TiVo, and many other companies aim to produce the marketplace’s best technology. Sure, they’ve got advertising arms, but who knows your marketing initiatives better than you? Advertisers and agencies, pretend these companies have no idea how to use their technologies for advertising purposes. Come up with your own ideas. When you issue a request for proposals (RFP), assume these companies can’t deliver a good idea. If you’re an agency and you want to avoid creating more work, think again and ask: how can you differentiate yourself from other options advertisers have? If you’re in sales or business development at a technology company, pay more attention to marketing innovations.
Monitor Online Conversations
If you’re not reading technology blogs like Slashdot or Techmeme, you’re behind. Unless you know what the top 1 percent is thinking and writing about now, by the time it reaches the other 99 percent you’ll be playing catch-up. It’s simple — just subscribe to the RSS feeds and always be current. And while you’re at it, subscribe to IanSchafer.com. You might learn something.
We all need to think of the future as the “yin” to the present’s “yang.” Everything you do online should prepare you for what’s next. If your “now” is somebody else’s “then,” then your “later” is happening right now for someone else. What are you waiting for?
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