Month: January 2013

Ugh. Marketing.

So, this is gonna be a tech-based entry, as opposed to my usual personal entries. You’ve been warned.

I saw a youtube commercial that I thought was kind of cute: 

Something my generation seems to like is nostalgia, and this commercial hits every nostalgia nail square in the head. Very well done. If they had an Etsy store, they’d be raking in the sales right now. Problem is, though, this isn’t the way technology works, or how people interact with technology.

Most people acknowledge that technology, nowadays, does things they don’t fully understand.  This goes with “tech” people like myself as well. Like, I have no idea how a printer works. No idea whatsoever. I mean, ok, I know it’s not telepathy or magic, but is it sending a document with embedded fonts with an accompanying string of text, or is it sending a direct bitmap of everything? Or can it do both? If it can do both, which one comes out looking nicer? Anyways, point is, I have very little understanding of these devices, and there are many people with way less.

Compare this to something like a sandwich or a t-shirt.  You know how a t-shirt works. You know what things you would use it for and what makes a good one.  All things being equal, after you’ve found your minimum level of comfortable material, color, size, etc, you’ll go for the one that makes you ‘feel good’ about buying it. This is why marketing works for a t-shirt or sandwich: you know enough about them to be able to afford buying them for ‘good feelings’ because they’ve already made the grade for your minimally acceptable product.

Again, technology doesn’t work this way. If I want a new printer, I’ll go ask someone who knows a lot about printers. You could make a printer shaped like my childhood and decorate it with astronaut cake, but if my friends tell me that basically it’ll shred every fourth document you print, I won’t get it.

You can’t wow the general public into getting something like a web browser. Everyone that switched away from IE did so because someone like me came over to their house one day and said “trust me, I work in the Internet, this is good for you” and installed Firefox. Everyone that switched over to Mac after OS X did so when their tech friends informed them “No, Mac doesn’t suck anymore.”

I guess my point is, generalized marketing on feel-good-feelings only works if your audience is already an expert in the product, and has already decided your product is minimally-sufficient for their needs. If it’s not, you should focus on making them experts or addressing those needs to people who are experts before going with the feel-good-feelings.

So I won’t be trying it out based on the fact that they mentioned things I was around about a decade ago…unless, of course, some of my Internet brethren and sistren tell me it’s worthwhile 🙂