The Answer To All Of Life’s Questions

When was it? That precise moment when the Geek became cool?

At school, if you hung around the IT rooms at lunch you were a nerd.

Even at uni, the people who spent all their time on their laptops would have found themselves accused of being antisocial, and probably a psychopath of some sort.

Packed with online start-ups, Silicon Roundabout in Shoreditch has the greatest geek per square metre ratio outside of California, at the same time as being one of London’s top bar and music scenes.

Two of the top comedies in the last few years have been The Big Bang Theory and The IT Crowd. And with The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin was spectacularly right when he figured that a film about a nerd making a website would draw cinema-goers in millions.

Mobiles are cool, tablets are exciting and ‘my new laptop’ is an acceptable pub conversation. People regularly queue up overnight and go all Glastonbury over the latest big launches. Apple’s cool (but that’s not new), Google’s near enough there and even plain old Microsoft’s having a go with the screen-swiping, tweet-tracking, ‘we’ve-gone-all-block-colour-to-prove-how-2012-we-are’ Windows 8 and Surface launch this last month.

Publicly admitting to knowing the difference between HTML and JavaScript will no longer guarantee a spotty teen a swift kick to the disk-drives. Being a web developer is something to aspire to.

The nerd’s nerd, Sir Tim Berners-Lee featured in the opening ceremony of the greatest show on earth, the Olympic Games, in front of gazillions. The bastions of cool workplaces – the creative and media agencies – are filling up with techies. Even fashion went all geek-chic for a while (so I’m told).

Geeks. Nerds. They’ve taken over.

Because technology is everywhere, techies are everywhere.

Everything runs through a computer chip of some sort.

The answer to almost any business question is technology…

“How do I build awareness?”  Social media.

“How can I sell more?”  Develop an app.

“How can I save time?”  Do it online.

“How can I save money?”  Automate.

Why on earth, are there so many marketing organisations that don’t seem to be bothered?

Are they burying their heads in the sand? Or have they taken a “strategic” decision to focus elsewhere? Are they just slow to develop?

There are print management companies that are offering market leading print services, but can’t provide customers with the ability to order and confirm pricing online.

There are marketing services companies who don’t have decent systems to manage the workflow of projects and approvals.

There are marketing functions of global brands who still send ads, images and videos around the world to local markets by email and CDs.

Our team has spent much of the last decade advising clients on how to be more efficient, choosing the right suppliers and getting them set up. Now it’s got to the stage that in doing so, most of our time is spent looking at technology and implementing it. Technology doesn’t need to be expensive, and it doesn’t always require a hugely cumbersome and daunting implementation project. But more and more, it’s becoming clearer that technology has become the key to successful marketing and making impressive returns, whether as a supplier or as a brand marketer.

It’s not just the geeks or the techies who are into systems and technology any more. Every single marketing organisation needs to realise that focusing on technology as a core activity is no longer optional. Choosing not to go down the technology path is a far greater risk than deciding that you’re going to start off on it.

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