Technology and the Changing Face of Content
TECHNOLOGY AND THE CHANGING FACE OF CONTENT
Some say the blog post is the “banner ad” of the future. It’s more complicated than that. Blogs are important—all content, period, is important for marketers—but the interaction between people and technology itself is shaking up the world of marketing like never before.
Each and every day we are seeing new tools and technologies come to life that have the ability to shape behavior and change attitudes. We are truly witnessing a shift in the role technology is playing in our society: it is no longer a tool for survival but a means of communicating, connecting and influencing.
In short, the way that content is delivered can have a subtle but significant influence over prospect and customer attitudes and behavior. The evolution of content form and distribution are going hand in hand in a technique known as persuasive technology. In fact, persuasive design techniques can constitute content in their own right.
Here are some examples of innovative technology that promise to redefine what content marketing means:
Keeping in mind that usefulness is half the game with content, consider the burgeoning world of online tools. A good example is agribusiness company PotashCorp, which features interactive calculators on its websites. Using the tools gyro developed for PotashCorp, online visitors can determine how much they could increase their crop yield and profits with optimal use of phosphorus or potassium. Another PotashCorp calculator predicts plant and pest development rates in the visitor’s geographic area.
Meanwhile, database company Worldata has developed a free Subject Line Rating Tool, where email marketers can see in advance how prospective subject lines might perform. The company also has another tool that assesses the strength of landing pages, and the travel site Tripit offers numerous tools that help organize travel itineraries. Each prompts engagement and a subtle dose of gratitude.
Why You Should Upgrade from Ancient Technology
SlideShare, the presentation staging site that LinkedIn owns, is a powerful social channel and means of spreading marketing content. Plus, Google’s YouTube is the king of video. However, both rely on ancient technology: PowerPoint dates to the late 1980s, and video—well, we’re talking Thomas Edison here, right?
An intriguing alternative offering powerful, effective abilities is whiteboard animation, which takes the visual impact of video, narrative and (often) music to present amusing animated illustrations. What viewers typically see in the finished product is a hand with a pen, which commences to draw concepts and images against a white background. Images spring to life as the hand draws rapidly. It’s all done with software, of course (not actual animation), and nobody has to be a Rembrandt to make it work.
Other alternatives: Haiku Deck for iPad turns ideas into beautiful presentations, thanks to its built-in access to an abundance of free art, invoked by keywords in the presentation. Prezi creates custom animations and a cinematic experience that blow ordinary slide decks out of the water. And PowToon can tell your story with characters in an animated video clip.
Measuring Activity Could Save You (and the Environment)
There’s nothing quite like immediate feedback to encourage additional, positive behavior. A good example is Fitbit, an activity tracker best known for its ability to measure the number of steps walked, quality of sleep and other metrics, and to reward users with badges for reaching their goals. An alternative Fitbit feature enables users to set a food plan for themselves on the Fitbit website or mobile app based on a weight goal, opening up avenues for health-food purveyors.
Clearly, this kind of activity tracker can encourage the consumption of messages from health or fitness companies. Take audio technology company Jawbone, for example. It has a health tracker called UP, which Nike sells with its Fuelband activity tracker.
Meanwhile, the dashboards of Ford Fusion cars encourage eco-friendly driving. Drive economically and you see an image of a healthy vine with leaves. Waste gas by aggressive driving and the vine gradually withers. Behave yourself and the leaves gradually emerge again.
Designed to Change Humans
Positive reinforcement delivered via technology may be just as persuasive as a pat on the head. Some examples are noted below:
Food and beverage conglomerate Mondelēz International has a smartphone app that uses facial recognition and sensor technology to determine when an item is taken off the shelf. The app can immediately offer a digital coupon to encourage the sale further.
Bank of America’s “Keep the Change” program encourages people to save by automatically rounding up any debit card purchase to the next whole dollar, and dumping the difference into a savings account.
As noted by persuasion visionary B.J. Fogg of Stanford University, effective and persuasive technology motivates the user with engaging techniques, delivers a trigger to act, and does it on the ubiquitous devices with which we all interact. Those are humanly relevant, persuasive arguments in its favor that are changing the face of content marketing for decades to come.
Doug Kamp is Executive Creative Director for gyro Chicago. Doug has more than two decades’ experience working with A-list clients such as McDonald’s, Miller Beer, Kimberly-Clark, Dell, Chase and many others.
Gyro is a global ideas shop, an agency with an unconventional DNA.