The Tech-Tile Experiential Marketing Challenge of 2020 and Beyond
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
-Rahm Emmanuel, former WH Chief of Staff & Mayor of Chicago
Sometimes the confluence of events and the synthesis of various technological advances merge to create a leap forward in culture. It is said when you want to change a culture, first change the language. The global pandemic of 2020 introduced a whole new set of anachronisms, many of which we never wanted to learn. Who knew what PPE or PPP, or even the NIH or WHO were prior to this year? Add to that the common phrases and buzzwords we all use now effortlessly in everyday conversation. How often are we speaking phrases like “social distancing” and “herd immunity” and using words like pandemic, pivot, Zoom (which used to be a sound a three year old made when pretending to fly a plane) and mask (which heretofore was something worn by Batman)?
In the face of the subsequent economic ramifications, the need to survive has moved many entrepreneurs to reinvent themselves. The crisis has spawned a slew of cottage industries in response to new market demands. Manufacturers of a variety of unrelated products have now become suppliers of masks, hand sanitizer and face shields. They saw the market need and quickly seized on the opportunity to make some short-term profit. I don’t think too many of them will be making many of these products once the current crisis subsides and the market demand diminishes.
For years, the event industry slowly introduced new technologies to face-to-face environments. Once a company launched a website, they “needed” to have a monitor in their exhibit space so they could show off their new cyber-presence! Never mind that most of the time no one actually used the site at a trade show or event, but it had to be promoted hoping that afterwards the attendee would go back and spend more time searching the site for all the rich content (which, by the way, was often lacking). It quickly became passé to just show your website. The attendee wanted more. More content, more interactive experience, more takeaways.
The events of 2020 have launched another buzzword into our nomenclature…virtual. As we all spend way too much time now on Skype/Zoom/GoToMeeting calls, we intuitively yearn for more from these tech platforms. The challenge for technology developers and marketers is to together create immersive experiences that link the “tech” and “tactile”. Those that solve this tech-tile challenge will have used this crisis to leap forward, ahead of the rest of the pack who fail to fuse what were previously unfused disciplines. Challenge recognized…challenge accepted.
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