Are You a Tech Early Adopter? You Should Be!

(Note:  SJ Insights’ CEO, Sheree Johnson, offers her POV on talking the talk and walking the walk on content delivery devices.)

TV Remote ControlYears ago, I was interviewing an individual from a fairly big national agency for an Associate Media Director position I had open in my media services department. It was a senior level position, and this candidate was perfect on paper. One of the questions I asked her (or any candidate) was, “so tell me, what TV programs do you like to watch?” Her response floored me! She answered, “I don’t really watch much television, in fact I refuse to pay for cable, I really only watch a little PBS now and then.”

If she wanted to impress me, she didn’t, and she didn’t get the job. I couldn’t believe that someone who was making a career in media, admitted with pride, that she wasn’t a heavy consumer of TV and of several other media types. Now this was in the early days of the Internet, so that wasn’t her excuse (nor should it be now), but regardless, I believe anyone in advertising, not just media, but account service, creative, digital, clients and agencies alike, should at least sample all media, should watch some TV, should have a Facebook and Twitter account, and more.

Technology has dramatically altered the TV viewing habits of marketing and ad agency executives, who are often (and I believe, should be) on the cutting edge of new media trends. With the proliferation of mobile devices (according to eMarketer U.S. smartphone penetration will reach 80% this year and tablet penetration will reach 64%) viewers are now watching content on multiple devices at their own convenience.

How Industry Execs Use Technology
So I was excited to see the study Advertising Age conducted recently among marketing and ad agency executives on their own viewing habits and use of the new content delivery devices. While there are many core insights about the future of marketing on TV in this study as well, I was happy and encouraged to see the following:

  • Citing changes in technology that have given them more options, 91.4% of marketing and agency executives say their TV viewing habits have changed over the past two years
  • 73.3% of marketing, agency and media execs say they are early adopters of technology
  • While 98.1% still access TV via their TVs, as evidenced by the chart below, marketing and agency execs are using multiple devices to watch programming content
  • In verbatims within the study, many respondents shared insights about how they are multi-tasking, using many of the devices at the same time (i.e., watching a show on TV while following it on Twitter via their iPad or smartphone)

Industry Execs Use of TV Tech Devices
While these levels are higher compared to the general population, what is surprising to me is the number of marketing and advertising execs who haven’t experienced watching TV on other devices. How can they be in a position to be of counsel to clients on this topic? How can they develop strategies and messages in today’s multi-channel environment without having experienced using any of these devices for programming/content viewing? I’m also utterly floored about the number of industry pros who are average social media users at best – it’s a shame that many senior level media and advertising professionals who I know don’t even bother with doing a few social media basics. (Yes, we’re all busy, no excuse.)

We need to talk the talk, walk the walk on this subject. Yes, we can and do rely on our subject matter experts in this area, but we need to individually experience these devices and platforms from a consumer standpoint. Those that are already early adopters of TV technology devices should be commended, those that aren’t, it’s time to get on board.

Check out the complete Ad Age report here.

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Posted in Technology, TV

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