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Tech Needs TV

Consumer IoT Needs TV – But Not “Business as Usual” TV

Posted by Doug Garnett February - 11 - 2016 - Thursday

Business as usualWhy do companies stop thinking outside the box when it’s time to go to market?

If you hang around the centers of innovation in tech you’ll hear about cleverness and risk taking that leads to powerful new things for consumers. Today, we’re seeing a lot of those innovations in the category called the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

Talk with these same innovators about marketing and you’ll hear stale “business as usual” choices for telling consumers about all that exciting innovation.

Business As Usual Choices. Today even “digital” has become one of the business as usual choices. I mean, it’s not really a risk within company politics for a marketing manager to say “let’s create a social campaign, increase our SEO, hope some videos go viral, and run a million dollars in banner ads”. (Some people might convince themselves it’s innovative when said with enough breathless wonder.)

TV is not safe from “business as usual”, either. For tech, business as usual TV means traditional audience directed buying and generally one of three types of over-produced TV creative:

  • Looks like a sci-fi movie.
  • Looks a lot like an Apple’s advertisement (are you hearing me Microsoft?).
  • Hides the innovation behind big name celebrities.

Regardless of medium, by not identifying that these are business as usual choices there is huge risk. These choices risk profits and future funding rounds (or an IPO) because they won’t move consumers to buy innovative products, or sign up for innovative services.

Making Smarter Choices. IoT creators need to embrace the reality that they face serious communication challenges. They need to respect how hard it is to help consumers (a) understand what that clever new device is and (b) what the device delivers that matters to them.

TV is the most powerful and reliable way to overcome these challenges – but not traditional brand or promotional TV advertising.

Overcoming these challenges requires stepping outside the brand TV box with:

  • creative approaches that are product centered
  • creative that takes advantage of longer forms of TV (60 and 120 second television advertising – and sometimes 28:30’s)
  • media that is bought with response measured approaches for both affordability and to guide the buy.

Unfortunately, making the shift to longer format, product centered TV requires innovative thinking that confronts comfortable assumptions about both digital and TV. And it requires a perceptive thinking like that which led to the primary IoT innovation.

And, so, I return to my opening question: Why do companies stop thinking outside the box when it’s time to go to market?

I can’t tell you why it happens. But I can say that for new, innovative consumer products TV delivers superb return – but only if companies avoid the business as usual trap.

Copyright 2016 – Doug Garnett – All Rights Reserved

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Doug Garnett, DRTV and Technology Industry Expert

Doug Garnett is founder and CEO of DRTV agency Atomic Direct and a leading expert on innovative uses of DRTV, infomercials and other in-depth TV and non-TV messages to build brand and drive sales.

Doug has been working in and around the technology field for 27 years. After starting in aerospace, he spent 5 years selling and marketing supercomputers. Since shifting to advertising, his clients have included AT&T, IBM, Apple, Disney Mobile, Ugobe, Presto, and Netpliance.

Doug sits on the editorial board of Response Magazine, is an adjunct professor of general advertising at Portland State University, and is a member of the Jordan-Whitney Greensheet Panel.

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