By Jim James
Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of The UnNoticed Show podcast.
Nowadays, a common question is how to integrate emerging and well-established communications platforms. The first step to answering that is determining the difference between an emerging and an established platform.
For most companies, established platforms have been predominantly residing around websites. Websites, email, and email newsletters have been the main way that companies have relied on social media, considered those to be their platforms, and built out large content management systems. Some have staff portals and login portals for their customers, dealers, and partners so that they can serve their clients online. Those platforms, which reside on a website or a company intranet, are built for desktop computers. However, as technology advances, it is important to consider using other platforms.
Appraise and maximise emerging technologies which impact the three screen markets, not only the desktop, but also the tablet and the mobile phone. The three screen strategy led the transformation in the number of platforms you can use and the change in device types, especially with issues of portability. Some of these platforms are being accessed no longer just on the desk, thus new various marketing technology (martech) opportunities and applications were born, and these emerging technology platforms can be categorized into content type.
The emerging technologies you should be utilising
An emerging technology that can be embedded into a website is the on-site chat. Some companies that have a website but no on-site chat miss this opportunity. It is like having a showroom or retail outlet but no staff on the shop floor.
Another emerging technology is the use of videos. Most websites are text-heavy, but videos can now be added by using platforms, such as Vimeo, to avoid interruptions from YouTube in your corporate website. Using videos, you can host your own information and even use them in your emails through using efficient applications like Bonjoro. Another function is video streaming by using platforms like Zoom and Vimeo. These applications can help you live stream your content if you want to broadcast directly to an audience within or outside social media platforms, like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
Another aspect is video gathering. Companies and organisations can use platforms like Gather Voices to aggregate content from all their stakeholders. This is easy since everybody has an on-device camera and can film and send their own content, like field reports. These content can be ingested and edited centrally, and made into a common format, look, and feel. Media companies like CNN and Bloomberg practice this by having field reporters who use digital cameras and upload content straight into their respective digital jukeboxes.
Video, as a type of content, has withdrawn from being the preserve of high-end corporate clients with large budgets and has become extremely affordable for any company of any size. There are a number of platforms, like Descript and Lumen5, which enable you to create video from text and to edit it. Then, videos can be incorporated into your website, staff portal, and emails.
Though not new, another emerging technology is text, but what you can do with it has become more exciting. MMS and SMS text has become increasingly possible and prevalent. Platforms like ClickSend and Twilio can be embedded into the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Thus, when a person visits your website or a shopping cart, it will automatically send to that respondent the confirmation of the order. Being embedded within the whole funnel and CRM process, text and text messaging are integral parts of communication strategy.
Audio is another emerging technology and it mainly revolves around podcasting. It has substantially grown because the technology now has enabled anyone to be a broadcaster. This can be integrated by having audio in existing platforms like your company website. Another strategy is having your audio platforms through the broader social media distribution channels such as iTunes, Google player, and Spotify.
The last emerging technology is graphics. Still pictures are used on websites for many years, but technology has made this passé. You can opt to embed graphics into video or to use platforms, like Video Samurai, which auto assemble videos for you. Tools like Canva also enable you to create infographics at speed. The content can be used not only in your website, but also in your company presentations, sales presentations, and postings into social media. Using graphics has made content a lot more engaging, and it is now easier to create and distribute.
You’ve nailed the tech. Now what?
Now that you have determined the difference between established and emerging platforms, really think about the audience, if it is an external or internal audience, or a partner audience. The avatar, or the audience type, determines the nature of the content to be shared. This information may need to be in a gated area, or be privileged, or be a part of a CRM sequence to work within a funnel. You have people that are past customers, current customers, and potential customers, all of whom need to be treated slightly differently. On the SPEAK|pr program, personalisation is key and determining the audience needs to be addressed. Emerging technologies, like CRM programs, enable you to track those people in an automated way at scale.
The next element to tackle is the objective of the campaign and activities because this affects which program is deployed. Determine if your campaign is for branding. It may be also an attempt to be informative, like handing out medical information for COVID-19. You might be using platforms, such as Unless, which enables websites to be responsive to the individual visitor, rather than just the broad IP address. It may be also an engagement-lead exercise where you need interactivity through chat and have rules to follow. Thus, determining your objective is absolutely important.
Another element is content, and do a content-centric approach by starting the content at the heart of it. Content can be simply categorised into 3 functions: watched, read, or heard. If you decide the nature of the content, whether one or multiple of those, then you can start to think about what goes into the content. Shared content needs to be new, simple, and relevant, or context-sensitive.
These are some examples of companies using these platforms. Tesla has a website and dedicated showrooms. It has its own social media platforms and engages on them, but it also has an app. Another example are airlines companies. They have websites but when you book either using their website or a third party booking website, you still get an email confirmation. A membership app, along with your member rewards points, is also available. SMS alerts are also present which can tell you your gate and your baggage carousel. Hence, the integration of these established platforms with emerging platforms creates a greater immediacy and a journey for the customer with the brand from start to finish.
To summarise, first, think about the objective of the campaign, then your audience or avatar: where they are going to be, when will they have the information, and what they are receptive to. Also, consider the most efficient and most effective platform at delivering that information at the time it is needed. Delivery is very essential because you can now track through all platforms the engagement of the content. If you are not tracking the rates and responses of your content, then you are missing the whole beauty of the new emerging technologies, which is the attribution to all activity.
You can build on established platforms and enhance with new technologies to provide your customer, partner, audience, or staff members with consistent information delivered when they need it and in an accessible format. So, if you are going to have new and emerging technologies, integrate them so that the customer experience is consistent and yours is a rewarding one.
This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast The UnNoticed Show. You can listen here.