OK, I admit it, I wrote this primarily so I could write the caption above. Overall, I’m taking a neutral-to-skeptical view on Bitcoin. However, Tibanne Co.’s launch of Bitcoins.com as an attempt to popularize its adoption, is quite notable. Many publications have already covered this in detail. I’m more interested in what it represents for technology marketing.
Popularizing nascent “invisible” technologies
Educating the broader population, about brand new technologies that catch on after they incubate among ‘early adopters’, is no small feat. For technologists and marketers, there’s a lot to learn from these recent efforts. What’s challenging about platform-type technologies like Bitcoin or Twitter, just to name a few, is their ethereal quality. You can’t put a Bitcoin in your wallet.
I’ve been marketing software for many years, and I’ve always envied companies that create physical products. Apple can simply place a perfectly photographed iDevice on their homepage, and that’s almost all that’s needed to produce a pavlovian response in gadget lovers. Selling software and services requires different tactics, and I think we’ve yet to find a predictable framework for doing so. Mobility and expanding options in “channels” only increases the complexity (and opportunity) of this task.
Teaching to the Trend
Twitter is another recent example of “how to” marketing techniques. They have been embracing their role in a the burgeoning multi-screen entertainment trend, and appear to be making a number of structured efforts to promote the use of its service via old-media channels. I happened to be watching the “The Voice” with my daughter, and couldn’t help but feel I was part of nerd history when Carson Daly came on screen and urged younger viewers to go set their parents up on Twitter for the sole purpose of voting for contestants. This was then followed by fairly detailed instructions on how to user Twitter and hashtags. That takes some creative thinking and impressive media coordination.
As you can see, I’m personally entertained by seeing these new technologies go mainstream. I think we should all be paying very close attention to the techniques that succeed and fail. I look forward to reading detailed case studies, on these types of efforts, in future marketing (#FutureOf) ‘rule books’.