Thursday, July 10, 2008

Digital is for Generation Y???

I just returned from Event360, which is a 3-day conference with focus on the Event Industry. And over the conference, there was a speaker from the portal "Conference Bay" who was invited to speak on the latest integrated digital platform for booking of conference tickets. He was explaining the potential of the untapped market for conferences and events on the digital platform and how his company provides the solution to this pool by allowing people to book and bid for tickets at desired prices to fill up the remaining seats of the conference.

Now that created quite some buzz among the audience. As we have a pool of conference organisers at the tables, they start debating on the price control and comparison if people starts bidding at any price they like. Which brings us back to the same case as in travel industry, where you can name your price for air tickets online. Now, why are people acceptable to the practice in one industry and not acceptable in the other? They say, "But we've always done it this way."

When asked how many people on the floor has a facebook account. Surprisingly, that amounts to less than half in the room.

Over the party on the second day. I had a chat with some industry friends from other countries. And not one has linkedin accounts while only some of them uses facebook (not actively) and obviously, none blogs.

On the last day of the conference, a group of us had coffee after the end of the itinery. As we sat down, we decided to exchange facebook accounts. Then a young girl says, "No! I don't want to sign up for it." Apparantly, technology is pretty intimidating to alot of people. The idea is "one is enough, I don't need more". As we chatted further, I realised most of them do not fully ultilize the potential of the readily made available digital platforms. Another young fella said, "I think if you do your job well, naturally people will come to you. Why do we need to market ourselves?", the girl earlier then said, "but we have ads." The comparison between advertisements and a social network is absolutely wrong. It is like comparing an apple to an orange. Interestingly, some of these friends belongs to the media industry, they do media buying and monitoring (on traditional media). Being leader in the media industry, they quite aren't the leader in the new media industry.

The BIG question is... why are so many people ignoring the potential of digital marketing? Why are there so many people relunctant to explore and understand the tools they have at their disposal when they need it? It came to me as quite a surprise that although we assume everyone has a facebook account, that's not all true. And most of all, not enough individuals (not to mention corporations) understand the essence of web 2.0, and thus are ignoring what could potentially translate into an infinite playground of opportunities.

Even in the context of events. We must understand that event marketing has gone beyond building a tentage, installing a background and giving out flyers. Marketing through the medium of event should see through the pre-event stage all the way to post-event. Apart from the operations process which is great importance, if your event does not reaches to your target audience, the desired impact cannot be achieved even if you have planned for a great show. Also, there is such a thing we call the "online event". It can potentially be an "event" online. Coke Cola launched the full animation of "Happiness Factory" on Second Life and invited international media to cover the grand event. If you have no idea what is Second Life, it is a virtual world where you can build anything and has its own rules of economy.

It seems that digital is not restricted to "generaton Y", but even "generation Y" is not picking up the messages coming through in the evolution of technology. It takes time investment to understand about Web 2.0 and how to use it effectively. So if you only try to learn it when the market truly sees an urgent demand for it, that'd be too late.

So, my advise is spend an hour on social networks daily and the results may be very surprising.