It’s not a great many years since the term ‘Mad Tech’ conjured up only images of a Dr Frankenstein-style character, hard at work in his laboratory fulfilling some unnatural and demented ambition. MadTech is indeed one of the most unusual of linguistic contractions to enter the business lexicon in recent times; a fittingly unfamiliar title, for an area of technology which offers a wide range of startup and business possibilities
What is MadTech?
MadTech is used to describe the intersection between Marketing, Advertising, and Technology. It is particularly topical at the moment as quickly advancing technologies have allowed for significant innovations in online marketing and advertising, and its emergence has even contributed to whole new business topics such as growth-hacking.
From the perspective of a startup or SME, the whole thing is tied in with the dramatically shifting ways in which customers and clients discover and engage with brands, products and services. Of course this shift has been centred on the ‘online world’ and boosted enormously in recent years with the refinement and normalisation of cloud computing.
All sounds rather convoluted and complex right? It really isn’t; in fact the development of MadTech has brought with it the opportunity for startups and SMEs to add creative prowess to their campaigns and reach a larger, more relevant audience, without the need to shell out huge amounts of cash.
MadTech innovations are to some extent levelling the playing field between established businesses and newcomers, although there is still quite a way to go before SMEs and startups will have the same access to the most cutting-edge innovations.
There are a few areas in particular where MadTech solutions are disrupting the traditional marketing and advertising scene; take inspiration and imagine how such things could benefit your business.
Data and personalisation
Growth in this area has its roots in social media, and the now all too familiar way in which Facebook and the like, suggest promotional content based on assumptions gleaned from our previous online activities. It can be disturbingly accurate.
Nonetheless, it is highly effective, and flies in the face of most hitherto campaign techniques which often relied on an inefficient ‘hit and miss’ style of operation.
Such targeted social media techniques could almost be regarded as old-hat by this stage of the game, with the level of experience personalisation going far and beyond the mere identification of interests and preferences.
How does that work?
It all boils down to one thing… data! Of course companies have been collecting data for years, but the means of analysing it into something useful, was never on par with our ability to collect it. Until now.
Once processed by an algorithm, this data creates a richly textured image of you; your likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, relationships, economic and social status, political persuasion, aspirations and so forth. From this, an experience which is as personalised and targeted as possible emerges, making the most optimised space possible for all manner of selling to take place.
It might have killed the radio star, but video has cleaned up its act
Not just for the small and niche who have traditionally found online video an inexpensive and reasonably effective way of attracting attention, but for the giants as well. Live TV is falling out of favour as a way to reach a mass audience, as more and more people turn to streaming sites like Netflix and catch-up TV services as a way of accessing content.
What this means is that video advertising has a bright future, with huge amounts of capital being invested into technology to make the experience more intuitive, personalized, and interactive.
Video advertising is moving beyond the static and passive, towards something much more engaging and versatile.
A simple example of this is Belfast-based startup Taggled, which uses tagging to turn videos into shoppable storefronts, giving viewers the opportunity to browse and select items instantaneously from within a video.
Another is TheTake.com which lets you discover products and places from your favourite movies by simply pausing the video and hovering over a prop, piece of clothing, or location you would like some more information on. If an exact version is available to buy online, you are informed where, and it will even suggest alternatives where an exact match is not available.
These examples are the mere tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to new video MadTech, so it’s certainly worth looking into how others in your industry are utilising the rise of video advertising.
Evolving social media
Spawned from this increase online video consumption, has come what is perhaps one of the most effective ways ever, to engage with a large number potential customers / clients all at the same time; the live video streaming app.
Virtually unheard until very recently, apps such as Periscope (which embeds within twitter) allow you to broadcast live video to your followers, whenever you like from all over the globe.
Already the world of business is getting rather excited about the potential of this fast growing service, with people finding it a handy tool to add a ‘human’ dimension to their business, but also provide engaging, and up-to-date commentary and analysis of their industry.
These qualities make live video streaming a great way to build a reputation online, and provide a fresh alternative to the incredibly over saturated environment of more traditional social media.
Live video is also helping to progress the ease through which mobile devices can be used in a more person orientated way, simplifying the process of live video broadcast, and de-formalising the business / client online relationship.
Back to the start
The point is that even if you cannot see how the MadTech innovations mentioned here could have a beneficial impact on your business, the chances are that there is one that will.
This is a burgeoning field at the moment, with an incredible level of innovations being developed consistently. As always such progression creates both opportunities but also inherent risk; the risk being, that unless you go out of your way to explore the offerings being put forward, you could find yourself lost amid a sea of MadTech savvy competitors, wondering where it all went wrong.
Eoin O'Hara is a business developer at Startacus.net. He has a background combining arts and culture with strategic business development. Follow them at @Iamstartacus