It has been echoed in many business journals, magazines, books, and public discourses, that the world is changing very fast. The widespread use of Internet and online-capable gadgets have made information flow within people faster than any of us can predict. It is not surprising that, given the abundant information available, one can have higher influence today, provided that this person is willing to educate him/herself a little bit.
Take for example, the story of MIT students who develop softwares that enable cellphones to support rural people in accessing medical diagnostics, updated crop prices, information on traffic and public transportation, in an initiative called MIT Media Lab’s NextLab program, which aims to develop application for cellphones to improve quality of life of rural people around the world. What makes this initiative special is that, unlike non-profit efforts by non-profit organizations around the world, the graduate students of MIT developed the softwares as for profit business start ups.
Just like any other innovations, cellphone apparently will hit the last market segment, the laggards. Those are people who come from lower income group, less educated, and usually live in rural area. Five or ten years ago, we could say that cellphones are products for middle and upper class segment, but not today. ANd we begin to see lower priced cellphones, often Chinese made, are also capable of online access. Now a junior high school student from India can google things he like. A grandfather in a remote village can text his grandson in the city. The world is almost completely wired. And it happens faster than predicted, because lower tech cellphones with monochrome display are being pushed to the market quite heavily, and now can be obtained as low as US$ 20.
As the world gets wired, as a marketer, we should really ask ourselves, can we really keep doing the “old ways” of marketing? Bombarding people with heavy TVC campaign alone will not sustain our brand. Because people now dig everything through Google. They do not easily believe TVC today as they did ten years ago. People everywhere become more skeptical. Combine that with the recession and inflationary prices, people want to stick with what’s right, with products that work well and deliver real value for them. The market is getting harder for new entrants to access.
On the other hand, the emergence of social networking sites and increasing Internet users globally, has brought the imperative to master and harness the power of this media much more effectively. Facebook has reached 175 millions users last year, and grow by 600,000 users per day! We can expect that within the next 2-3 years, Facebook can reach 1 to 1.5 billions users. What a great media audience. What a big potential.
Combine the fact above with the increasing availability and decreasing price of broad band access, it can be safely said that within the next 5 years, television as we know it will be equipped with on board computer and keyboard and mouse, and also broadband connectivity, so people can easily switch, record, manipulate, and share television shows they like -or they hate.
Are you ready to ride these waves of changes…?