Thoughts

SKATE TO WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING TO BE

October 16th, 2015   |   Peter Tressel

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” –Wayne Gretzky

Yep, The Great One has good advice for marketers trying to make sense of the changing digital landscape. It’s what digital marketers do for a living. Too often, however, nervous gatekeepers allow only the most tried ways of connecting to customers in order to prove ROI and avoid the embarrassing risk of going down unproductive rabbit holes. And yes, there are easy traps to fall into around new platforms, and they should rightly give us pause.

But not every @#%& time!

Let’s skate where the puck will be. Tried live streaming apps Meerkat or Periscope yet? You should. It’s an unusual early opportunity to test two competing platforms against each other and compare and contrast them. Live streaming isn’t new, but these apps are. Both are new enough that they still have an air of slightly dorky experimentation around them, both offer questionable content, and both offer push notifications that are truly annoying. Don’t let the downside dissuade you from playing with their possibilities for your business.

Developed by Life On Air, Inc., Meerkat launched on February 27 this year. It is a little raw and, in some ways, cooler. It is available on both iOS and Android. Subscribe and watch Victoria Fratz the “Meerkat Queen” or Matt Adlard who does a food show with an interesting twist.

Twitter launched Periscope on March 26, but they didn’t invent it, they bought it as a startup. It is more polished than Meerkat and has the big advantage of letting anyone play the stream back – a nice feature because it feels less like being chained to someone else’s schedule. To get the sense of the app, try Chris Hadfield’s show; he explains space and technology.

We like this democratization of broadcasting and the excitement of live TV. These apps combine both, and the results are still developing before our very eyes. It will be an interesting ride.

What should a marketer do? Probably obvious to you by now, but if you haven’t already, start experimenting today. Overcome the protective instinct to wait for something to fully catch on before you bother, and dip your toe into new platforms before they mature.

Since both of these platforms cost almost nothing to participate in, find some live event you think your consumers might want to watch and try it out. Start today, not when it’s proven. We can all learn earlier, fail small and iterate on success because that puck is going to be there; you just have to get there first.

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