Tech Check: A Comm Affair

We were pleased to be asked by IABC London to contribute an article on trends in communications and technology for their association newsletter. We've reprinted it in full here.

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The next "big thing".

Trying to predict it is about as productive as watching five hour long televised award show.

But hey, it's fun, and learning to spot trends that will last longer than twelve months and add value to your customers is a skill set that 2013 will demand of us all.  This is particularly true as our digital and physical worlds continue to fuse.

Here's a few emerging areas that every communicator should keep an eye on:

A Crowd Of Funds
There are now hundreds of crowd-funding sites. In 2012, via Kickstarter, 2,241,475 people pledged a total of $319,786,629 and successfully funded 18,109 projects.  With the global economy easing out of recession at a pace matching RIM's lackluster comeback, online funding platforms are continuing to be an attractive alternative for grass roots projects and traditional startups alike.

The Death of The I.T Project.
It's easy to get seduced by organizing around technology.  But be aware that gone are the days of the "if we build it... (sans communication strategy, user engagement strategy, cultural alignment strategy) they will come". There are no more I.T projects, rather, only business projects enabled by I.T.

Smartphones as everything
We don't rely on our mobile devices for everything...besides researching purchasing decisions, connecting with peers, managing our schedules, documenting, sharing and generally enriching our personal lives.  No wait, mobile is everything. The writing is on the wall.  Cater to the needs of your mobile audiences or get out of the game (if for no other reason than, if you don't, no one will be listening). 

Actionable Analytics
The volume of data available to marcomm professionals is officially overwhelming. It's going to quickly become unacceptable not to know which tactic is driving what revenue.  Wait, it already is. If you don't feel comfortable analyzing and translating data into meaningful insight and actionable intelligence, find someone who is, and fast. Hint: hits to your website as a success metric doesn't translate. 

Beautiful Data
As understanding and interpreting data continues to become critical for strategy and execution, visualizing data in new ways to better communicate complex ideas (budgets, campaigns, social issues, whatever) will be an essential tool to help make your story as accessible as possible to everyone in your target audience.  Got a tough narrative to simplify?  Try drawing it.

We may not be able to predict the future as well as this guy, but there are a few things we know for sure. We're all salespeople, we're all storytellers, and in this complex and connected world, we'll all compete and innovate most effectively, together.  Thanks, IABC, for letting us share a few thoughts in this spirit.