Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Merging of Technology and Marketing

I'm finally recovered from a solid NTEN experience, my first ever. I will leave most of the commentary, notes and reflections to the great round up on the NTEN blog and will instead talk about something that is happening to our industry (or may have already happened):

Marketing and Technology are forever merging into one beast.

What is evident from the lack of marketing people in attendance (or so it seemed to me!) is that the marketing folks either don't see how important this is, or have their heads in the sand.


One reason could certainly be how the conference positions itself (The Non Profit Technology Conference or NTC) certainly could throw a marketer off. What marketer would possibly want to sit around with geeks all day talking about code and open-source software?

A smart marketer would, that's who. The reason a smart marketer should attend these types of conferences is simple - but understated.

While technology should never drive strategy, it most certainly does enable strategy.

As a (hopefully) smart marketer, I am fully aware that I need to engage my constituents at a variety of levels in a variety of venues. And while the verdict is out on whether or not "web 2.0" tactics will ever raise significant funds, it's quite obvious that social networking and the entire gaggle of new technologies are acting as an enabling platform that will allow organizations build bridges to their constituents.

What is happening, not to put too fine a point on it is that the geeks are creating a set of tools that allow organizations to extend and empower their ability to build strong relationships.

If you are a traditional marketer, this is an important point.

Think of it this way... in the old days, you'd run a print ad or a tv spot. You'd do all the work up front (focus groups, testing, production etc) then run your ad. And then it was done.

But now, the ad lives on. The web site generates comments and people pass around the URL or the podcast. People blog about you, run badges on their myspace pages and re-create your brand in SecondLife. Not only do you have a customer service and brand maintenance issue, you have TECHNOLOGY to worry about as well.

How does this relate to NTEN? If you are a marketer, decide now to get to NTEN next year - and look me up while you are there!

Special thanks to Erin Anderson, Peter Deitz, Chris Phillips, Carolyn Pizzuto, Jeff Herron and Seth Mazow for being on the 2 panels that I moderated.

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