The Wall Street Journal recently made a small change in its format that reflected a big transformation in the world of business. The newspaper re-branded its venerable “Marketplace” section as “Business & Tech,” a move much more substantive than those of earlier days when other papers refashioned their “Women’s Section” as “Living” or “Movies” as “Entertainment.” The Journal’s business editor, Dennis Berman, suggested the new banner affirms an expanding trend, observing:
"It reflects the fact that every business is a technology business, whether it's farming or mining or consumer packaged goods or travel. Tech is permeating every industry."
The tech that Berman is talking about goes beyond automated machines, assembly and all the other more traditional business technologies that emerged in the 20th century. He’s acknowledging that what we used to call “high tech” is now the norm in every business. It’s digitally dominant, Internet-driven, massively connected technology that is changing every aspect of business operations.
I would go further, in fact, and argue that every business is or soon will be a consumer-technology business. Certainly business-to-business marketing and commerce will remain critical to our economy, but increasingly it’s being carried out with technology originally designed for consumers.
In a new white paper called Bye-Bye to B2B, I contend that the growing convergence of consumer technology with every aspect of life and business is rapidly making the distinction between B2C and B2B technology irrelevant. When we market to businesses today, we’re marketing to consumers within the business who rely on consumer tech.
· Offices, labs, plants and warehouses bristle with B2C devices, software and networks, from iPhones and iPads to mapping and video apps.
· “Bring your own device” has become a policy for employees in many companies; Gen Y workers trust their personal mobile devices and clouds far more than their company’s computers and clouds.
· Corporate customer service departments are intently focused on Twitter, Facebook and other social media to track and respond to complaints.
Look around your own office; you’re certain to see many more ways consumer tech is directly impacting your processes and your products.
This new business landscape demands new marketing methods, using technology in smart ways to reach tech-savvy audiences. Marketers must develop an understanding of technology to be able to compete effectively in a world where the first definition of IP no longer is “instrument panel” or “intellectual property.”
Airfoil has helped shape the tech PR and marketing profession throughout this 21st century. This year we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary, a milestone on a course that has taken many sharp turns at breakneck speeds. When we founded Airfoil as a tech PR firm in 2000, the nation was riding high atop the tech bubble, which burst just months later. Yet, Airfoil remained aloft and continued to rise while many other tech agencies dropped from sight. Over the years, we’ve earned the confidence of many of the world’s most noted brands that sought to gain a foothold among traditional businesses and consumers, as well as U.S. and European brands seeking to open new local and national markets.
In more recent years, it’s been gratifying to note that a wide array of businesses not generally considered to be rooted in tech have sought and benefited from Airfoil’s insights, analysis and market engagement. That’s because, as the Wall Street Journal has recognized, all businesses today are tech businesses. Companies that we wouldn’t immediately consider to be part of the tech sector–Starbucks, Brookstone, Walsh College, Thomson Reuters and Armaly Brands (which markets Brillo products, among others)—have joined our client list alongside more traditionally tech businesses, like Microsoft, Altair, Faurecia, Creditera, Parrot, eBay Motors and Comcast. They’re all tech companies now, and they’re all driven by consumer tech that is pulling more B2C technology than ever into their business operations.
“Business & Tech” is certain to be a focal point for reporting on the ubiquitous impact of technology on America’s brands. Airfoil will be both tracking and contributing to its pages. If you’d like to learn how Airfoil can help make your organization’s tech story known, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.