24 May The rise of the technology
My career has been the consistent realisation of technology. The rise of technology and especially the internet has completely shaped everything I do. Slowly and surely I have needed to become more technical to be able to do what I wanted to do. Considering the impact this rise has been. I thought it would be interesting to outline where marketing was and how the rise of technology has affected my career so far.
More importantly, I thought it would be good to highlight the key areas where there have been issues with such change. I want to indicate how we can try to overcome these workplace problems.
I started out in nightclub events, where print was king and we used to spend our time sticking up posters and handing out thousands of pieces of paper in town centres across the Midlands. As much as it sucked, life was much simpler when all you had to do is exit flyer clubs at 3:00 am to promote your own night.
We did post information on message boards and on certain websites, but most of the work was word of mouth and hand-to-hand.
Then facebook hit
Myspace was extremely popular, but when Facebook hit it took changed everything for nightclubs. Social media started becoming important as a key marketing tool to get people to nights, you could also share photos on those groups.
The great thing about Facebook was how easy it was to share photos and tag other people, you could organise things with random people and see things come to life. We were even able to organise flash mob to promote events.
Learning to see technological change and head for it
For a while, social media simply acted as a valuable addition to our current print efforts, which was an ideal situation. But slowly and surely the development social media really started to put a fork in the road for promoters such as myself. There was a slow realisation that things were going to change and print was eventually going to die as online took over. We would be replaced by the internet.
This was the start of difficult times for some of my friends, who had built their careers on flyer distribution. As I tried to move away from print towards online, some of my friends carried on which made things harder before they got better. None of my friends still work in that line of work.
Now I know no one really cares about the history of flyer people. But this micro example is a great example the rise of technology and the reluctance of people to take on change as newer methods replace old ones.
I often speak to people who talk about how they don’t like how technology is changing how things are being done. Uber is a great example of a technology hurting the status quo, in this case, the black cab industry. But much like flyering, I would argue that life is not going to get any better, eventually, technology will cause the slow decline of black cabs.
My point is this; if you are lucky enough to be able to able to see the change coming, move towards the change rather than avoid it and let the eventual change force you to change at a later point. The first option has far more control than the second, I rarely see positive outcomes for industries and people who choose not to change when they know the rise of the technology will force it eventually. I am fully aware that this is sometimes easier said than done.
The risk of becoming outdated
One thing I am very aware of is becoming outdated. As technologies improve and younger generations become increasingly fluent with technology is the serious point that I could become stale if I am not careful. If I decided to become relaxed with my learning, then life could become very difficult in the future.
When I left the nightclub industry, I went into marketing for a recruitment company. Now the recruitment market has been one that had been completely turned on its head through technological change. It is very difficult to get a job without going online these days.
Here, I found that the rise of technology wasn’t a problem. The issues arose with the fact that the management had stopped learning new technologies and methods when they got to the top. Often there were situations where decisions were being made with outdated assumptions. A refusal to want to challenge status quo stopped free thinking and innovation, encouraging uniformity instead.
If management stops learning then you see the behaviour copied down the food chain; you get left with people who do the same thing every day, expecting different results. Results, therefore, arrive as expected, you realise that forecasts were built on hope rather than expectations. The industry was moving quicker than they were, so naturally, the problem only ever exacerbates.
The rise of technology and its speed of change can be unsettling, but if you do not focus on the future, then you will become the past as others overtake you. I have learnt that the more I do learn, the more I realise how much there is to learn. Therefore, ironically the more experienced you get, the more you need to focus on learning new skills.
After I left the recruitment world, I moved to the Telecoms industry. The company had a thirst for technology and was happy to use it as much as possible.
The key lesson I learnt here though was one of authenticity. Good marketing means delivering a good concise message to the customer, you, therefore, need to know exactly what you stand for and why.
When you lose that identity and purpose then messages become confused, strategies turn tactical and progress becomes limited because nothing is consistent.
Being authentic means really believing in what you are doing and ensuring that your beliefs run through to every person. It means saying something and sticking to it, it means facing difficult decisions with a clear destination in mind. It means making all decisions with the greater goal in mind.
When you lose that authenticity, the rise of technology can be fruitless as you are not putting the purpose before the technology. Technology is meant to be an enhancer, not the purpose. When technology is not thought out and supported by a clear authentic strategy and identify it comes across in the results, and those results are often disappointing for all.
Simon Sinek covers this point in this book – Start with why. (https://www.startwithwhy.com/ ) The point is simple, work out why you are going to do stuff, rather than just do stuff. As the rise of technology becomes ever more apparent, I think this will become more relevant to doing business than ever.
Technology is good, embrace it
I guess you could say that I am lucky that my life hasn’t been negatively affected by the rise of technology or the problems it can cause. But in a world where technological change is inevitable and only going to become faster, understanding how to work with that change will always be better than avoiding it.
Remember, the world doesn’t stand still and won’t wait for you. The only way to be on the pulse is to keep on learning, regardless of the position you have.
If you are thinking about how the rise of technology will affect you, think about how to use it to your advantage. I don’t want to be replaced by technology and nor, should you…