Technology Changes the Way We Communicate—Can Marketers Keep Up?

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technology_changes_can_marketers_keep_up.pngAs marketers, we are always on the lookout for ways to be more productive, create more content, generate more leads, and just be all around more awesome. Part of doing that successfully means having an eye to see what’s new on the horizon.

We have to be the among the first to spot an emerging start-up with a game-changing product or service. We see a new marketing strategy and give it a shot. We are innovators and early adopters. We have the ability to see the potential in a new app and use it to improve our businesses and our lives.

Technology drives change in our communication channels

When it comes to watching out for what’s new, nothing changes like technology. But it’s not just the technology that changes; we change right along with it. Over the last several decades, perhaps one of technology’s greatest effects on societies has been how we communicate.

We can talk to our friends on the other side of the world, not just through audio, but video too. We no longer need a phone line to call someone. Sometimes we don’t even need words when emoticons can express so much more of how we feel;)

Technology isn’t changing our personal lives only. As technology evolves, we no longer communicate to our co-workers via email—the back and forth constrained conversation flooding your inbox and stalling productivity. We have even moved beyond chat services with limited one-to-one text communication.

These changes happen fast. As marketers, it’s important to understand how these changes affect our industry and know where our industry is headed.

Communication channels are evolving faster than ever.

Samuel Morse and his colleagues first started developing the telegraph in the late 1700s. In 1876, Bell made the first phone call, and nearly a century later Ray Tomlinson sent the first email. Today, more than 2.5 million emails are sent every second.

Motorola developed the first cell phone in the early 1970s, and in 2007 the world first laid eyes on the handheld computer that would change everything: the iPhone. After this release, changes start to speed up.

We’re no longer waiting centuries or even decades between advances. Changes happen everyday.

Three main communication channels shaking up the game launched within five years of each other—beginning just four years after the iPhone release. Those channels are Slack, Snapchat, and Periscope.

Slack, a messaging app for teams, allows users to talk to an entire group, a small group with a specific category, or private message—all with the capability of emojis, text snippets, file uploads, even gifs to fully explain a reaction or feeling.

Where email is a start and stop, send and receive, open and close method of communication, Slack offers users a fluid method of communication that can keep up with their busy work schedules.

As the Guardian describes it, “Slack is part of a wave of technologies trying to change the way we communicate, enabling continuous, fluid, more natural conversations to replace restrictive and time-consuming emails. Already, more than 2.3 million people use it every day, sending 1.5bn messages every month. Despite being just two years old, Slack is already valued at $2.8bn, a figure that makes it the fastest-growing business-to-business company in history.”

At our inbound marketing agency, we use Slack as the main communication tool for our team. We have channels for every client and channels for important projects or events like Growth-Driven Design and the Austin HubSpot User Group. This not only keeps conversations moving but also on-topic and easily searchable for whatever conversation or file we need to find.

Slack recently introduced voice calls where users can make a direct call to teammate straight from the app. You can also launch a conference call among all users of a channel.

Another app changing how we communicate? Every second, Snapchat users share 9,000 photos.

Snapchat changes how we communicate with everyone from our friends to our favorite brands by removing a lot of the communication barriers we once faced.

Snapchat uses a single interface to call, video chat, send a picture or video, or share your story with friends. The app allows its users to get realtime updates without using an algorithm (we’re looking at you, Instagram) so you never have to miss an update.

Snapchat recently released Chat 2.0, with audio and video call capabilities. What Snapchat loves about their newest version is the way you can transition between multiple methods of communication without ever leaving the app. These changes came less than five years after the product’s release.

Snapchat isn’t just self-destructing images with doodles. Snapchat wants to be your phone by offering a number of ways to interact and communicate with other people without ever having to leave the app. When the app first launched in 2011, not too many people expected it to  become a social media bedrock. Is it time to jump on the wagon?

Periscope, a live video streaming app, has made an impression on communication. The app already had 10 million accounts in the first four months after its release.

You don’t have to go on vacation, take photos, come home, upload photos to Facebook, and have your friends scroll through your album weeks later (I won't even mention actually developing film—we’re way past that.) Instagram fed our need for instant updates with photo and video uploads. But Periscope changed the game with live video streams. You now have podcasts and webinars and simple chit chat in real time, from your mobile device.

Now, one year after its release, Periscope users watch 110 years worth of video every day. That’s almost triple the number of hours streamed per day eight months ago. Triple!

Why do these fast-growing communication apps matter? Inbound marketing relies on our ability to communicate with our buyer personas. When changes happen, we’ve got to be ready to adapt. We need to identify when changes or trends are coming and be ready to integrate those into our marketing practices.

Stay ahead of the curve.

Things change everyday—it can be tough to keep up at times. One way to stay on top of evolving technology and trends is to gather research to help us predict where we’re headed in the future.

Every year, HubSpot release a report of benchmarks, challenges, and priorities of marketers and salespeople all over the world in a report called the State of Inbound.

This year, we’re teaming up with HubSpot to survey savvy marketers to help fuel the 2016 State of Inbound study. This forward-thinking survey covers inbound marketing and sales topics. It asks about new channels marketers will tackle and what marketers think will disrupt their day-to-day jobs.

Be a part of this international research and report!

How will communication apps change the way we do marketing and sales in the next few years? Let us know when you take HubSpot’s State of Inbound survey!

State of Inbound 2016 survey

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