Sunday, December 18, 2011

Technology Reshapes Software, Marketing

One often hears it said that "content marketing" has "been around forever" in the form of newsletters, brochures and custom publishing. So what accounts for the explosion of interest in "content marketing" now?

One way or the other, though it would be a mistake to attribute everything to widespread changes in technology, that would seem to be the best answer. 

In the software business, it often is said that dramatic changes in computing technology now mean a new start-up can launch with about 10 percent of the capital investment required a decade ago. Dramatically lower startup costs

In fact, some venture capitalists say underlying computing costs, resulting from a combination of lower hardware and software tools, mean a software company can be launched for 10 percent of what would have been required in 2000. Venture capitalist Mark Suster says that when he built his first company in 1999 it cost $2.5 million in infrastructure just to get started and another $2.5 million in team costs to code, launch, manage, market and sell our software.

“So it’s not surprising that typical “A rounds” of venture capital were $5 to $10 million,” Suster says. “We had to buy Oracle database licenses, UNIX servers, a Sun Solaris operating system, Web servers, load balancers, EMC storage, disk mirrors for redundancy and had to commit to a year-long hosting agreement at places such as Exodus.”

With the introduction of open-source software, most notably what was called the “LAMP” stack, including Linux (operating system), Apache (Web server software), MySQL (instead of Oracle) and PHP.

“Suddenly infrastructure software was nearly free,” he notes. “We paid 10 percent of the normal costs for the software and that money was for software support.” The point is that a 90-percent disruption in cost spawns innovation. Infrastructure costs 90 percent lower

At the risk of oversimplifying matters, those same technology trends explain why content marketing has gained new prominence.

You may not be able to afford to buy a television network, but nothing's stopping you from creating your own YouTube channel, the argument legitimately can be made.

The cost of launching a newspaper or magazine is prohibitive, not to mention risky. But blogs can be set up for free or very affordably. And every trend in media represents a vast multiplication of channels and sources. All mass medium have been fragmenting for decades, starting with cable TV, then satellite radio, then, most importantly, Web-based media.

Consider the role of “search.” Some 90 percent or more of buying decisions begin with a Web search. Throughout the purchase cycle, users are searching for information, recommendations, research, reviews, authority and credibility.

And once they find the information they seek, they're sharing it with others involved in the purchase decision: a friend, a spouse, a colleague, or their boss, or perhaps they're throwing that information out to a trusted network to vet it, or to validate their position in the decision-making process. Why PR is Poised to Own Content Marketing

Now you can add tablets and smart phones to the list of reasons why fragmented media environments, explosive amounts of new content and always-with-you content consumption devices mean the role of content in all marketing processes has suddenly assumed such new importance.

Not only is it harder to get attention, and keep it, the cost of “going direct” to the audience, without using gatekeepers, is easier than ever. It would not be inappropriate to argue that technology platforms are the fundamental enablers for content marketing’s rise, as technology advances likewise account for new global interest in mobile payments, mobile wallets, mobile commerce and mobile banking.

Marketing, no less than telecommunications, television, audio, print media, banking and retailing are being reshaped and disrupted by fundamental technology changes.

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