Where should the smart money go in today’s über-cluttered digital landscape? With so many options, hype and pressure for ROI, marketers can freeze up in choosing where to invest in emerging media and technology. At the risk of choosing wrong, they wait — a risk in itself.
Here’s a little guidance from people who work both in mainstream media and at the fringes of the digital continuum. We look at emerging opportunities with hope, skepticism and a practical eye for what will connect people and brands.
A buy is an opportunity you should jump on or expand in. It’s where we’d put our money. A hold (lots of those) has promise and is worth some experimentation, but requires a little more time. A sell has fallen out of favor, flopped or has a long way to go. It’s where we’d bail.
For a growing and wide range of people (teens to adults), Facebook is simply the place to be.
Glen Sheehan:Facebook is the best place to see the dynamics of social interaction in action. It brings together your tightest ring of friends and encourages very close dialogs and exchanges. It is a great place for brands to be, but they need to be invited in. It’s not for party crashers.
Jay Suhr: I have 19- and 14-year-old daughters. They live on Facebook, where they message (traditional e-mail is irrelevant), post and manage what I see as their personal brands — how they want to be perceived.
Mark Phillip: As privacy groups push for Do Not Track Lists for ad networks, Facebook’s most underrated feature is its small little ‘X’ to delete items in your history. Users are more willing to broadcast content if they can control what actually sticks. The Facebook ad network has huge potential — especially in targeting.
AIR and Silverlight
We’re bringing new Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight out of the dev sausage factory to discuss the upside of streamlined development.
MP: Adobe air lets developers use their primary tools — HTML, AJAX and Flash — to build rich applications for the desktop. What’s cool is that it works across operating systems and frees Flash and HTML developers from being imprisoned by the browser.
GS: Our rich media team is really intrigued by Microsoft Silverlight, which does similar things. It is letting us rapidly build applications for browsers and the Windows presentation foundation.
MP: Streamline development means more time and resources can be applied to creating more engaging experiences.
JS: Someone’s desktop is coveted real estate. The challenge for brands is to make sure they provide valued and relevant information.
Pocket power is not quite there, yet.
GS: When mobile is used as an interaction channel, it’s spot on. But I see the industry still trying to use it as an old-world push channel. That’s wrong. I don’t want ads on my phone. I want the ability to gain utility based on where I am.
MP: Mobile is still a technical nightmare — too many clients, too many browsers, too many screen ratios. The end-product is underwhelming because the application has to be dumbed-down to the most basic capabilities. With the iPhone and Google’s Android platform, things may get interesting late next year.
JS: I’m in the fat part of the bell curve with the masses. I look at most current mobile apps and think who cares? The first brands to get it right will set the pace.
While social networking continues to explode, its first rock star Web site is dropping off the charts.
MP: For me, MySpace is like everyone in a big room shouting. It’s a constant barrage. Everything is broadcast in a shotgun fashion.
GS: From a marketing perspective, it doesn’t hurt to be in both MySpace and Facebook. But the experience and relationships feel more real in Facebook.
Mark Phillip, Glen Sheehan and Jay Suhr all hold senior positions and strong opinions at T3. Mark is T3’s Geek in Residence and focuses on emerging technology. Glen is vice president group creative director. Jay is senior vice president, director of creative services and account planning. (firstname.lastname@example.org)