Revenge of the Nerds: Digital, Marketing and Digital Marketing


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Geeks and nerds, there was a time when the entire population of the Internet was summed up with one of those two words. There were other even less flattering words used, but those two were the most common. That dim view of the online community meant digital marketing was something most companies ignored. If you didn’t sell tech products or videogames, digital marketing wasn’t a viable option.

Digital marketing for tech companies at that time was relatively simple too. Those ‘geeks’ were so hungry for tech that email newsletters and basic websites were all that was required. These online communities were there because they were interested in tech, if you built a website they would find it. More mainstream companies built websites too, but they were designed mainly for information purposes and were rarely aggressively marketed. Even the growth of online shopping failed to encourage big brands to embrace digital marketing, they were still focused on real world campaigns and selling through retailers.

Social Media Made Digital Marketing Mainstream

Social media changed all that. As more and more ‘mainstream’ people started to create their own social presence online, digital marketing became more viable for big brands. Social media marketing is now at the core of most big brand strategies. These days the biggest brands are the ones really pushing digital marketing. You have brands like Nike creating YouTube and Twitter campaigns like #findgreatness and TV shows that display Hashtags and Facebook URLs. The trendsetters offline are becoming trendsetters online.

This change in the way big brands see the online community has had an interesting effect on the public’s perception of tech too. Technology is no longer the preserve of geeks and nerds, these days everybody’s interested in tech. We all carry around smartphones and aspire to own iPads. Movie stars spend vast amounts of time on twitter, some of them even blog. This change hasn’t just lead mainstream brands to embrace digital marketing, it’s made tech companies more mainstream too.

Now Tech is Mainstream Too

Twitter, a company built on sharing 140 character statements and website links, now does mainstream PR. The social network announced some relatively minor changes to its appearance yesterday, on television. The changes were announced during a full Twitter segment on the Today show in the US. This was more than a quick advertisement or brief mention. It was a full on piece of orchestrated PR by a technology company. That’s a long way from the online word of mouth that got Twitter started.

It’s not just Twitter who have expanded beyond digital marketing tactics to mainstream PR. Google have taken a similar step with an even geekier product. At the recent Diane Von Furstenberg show in New York, every model on the runway wore Google Glass, a smartphone like device built into a pair of glasses. The event was just the first in a number of fashion related PR campaigns to promote Google Glass. The product, which would have been referred to as a ‘gadget’ in the past, has no release date yet. It’s just an in development project that Google wanted to promote. Just a couple of years ago it would’ve been impossible to imagine an in-development gadget premiering at New York Fashion week, but it happened.

Social media has changed the way that brands market. Now it’s changed who markets where. We have the biggest fashion brands developing massive digital marketing campaigns while the techiest of tech companies are engaging in real world PR. Now the geeks and nerds mingle with the fashionistas and celebrities. Marketing, digital or otherwise, will never be the same.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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