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Come Together, Right Now

Ten years ago, the buzzword when talking about marketing and media was “convergence.” Experts used it when they predicted a future in which all digital (and even some analog) media would come together in one place. You don’t hear the word very much anymore. Do you want to know why? Because “convergence” already took place, and we were all too busy to notice.

Proof that media has officially “converged” came when Internet giant Amazon recently announced a slew of new tablets and e-readers. Unlike many product press conferences (including Apple’s), the focus was less on technology (processor speeds and screen resolution) and much more on the content that will be delivered to the devices. Amazon subsidizes its Kindle Fire tablets by selling you the books and music and TV shows and movies that you watch on the tablet. It’s also a great way to purchase the ten million other products available online from Amazon. A Kindle Fire is simply an inexpensive, mobile way to communicate with Amazon, which in turn offers virtually every media type available for consumption.

To a lesser degree, Google is trying to create its own ecosystem with the Nexus 7 tablet. The tablet was released to rave reviews and sold out almost immediately.

Google’s sales pitch for the Nexus 7 is “The playground is open,” an obvious reference to their Google Play app store. Of course, Apple already owns the mobile playground. They continue to dominate tablet sales with the iPad, and a smaller “mini-iPad” is almost certainly on the way. With both Apple and Google, you can watch video, read books (or magazines or newspapers), play games and listen to music. You can even use a tablet to put together your next sales presentation (if you can squeeze it in between episodes of True Blood and the new Vince Flynn novel).

In other words, tablets (and to some extent, their mobile phone brethren) are where convergence happens; they are where all media come together.

Welcome to the future. Now what do we do about it? You still need to build your brand. You still need to sell your products. You still need to tell the world about the good things you do. Ironically, convergence has made the art of communication (both marketing and public relations) both easier and more difficult at the same time. Convergence, it would seem, made things really, really complicated.

After all, you used to be able to send a press release to the local newspaper, and you could count on all of your customers seeing it. Today you’ll be lucky to have a newspaper even cover your story (unless you pay them to), and if they do, nobody under age 30 (40?) reads the newspaper anyway. You make a TV commercial, but how do you deliver it? You can air it on The Big Bang Theory, but you won’t get it in front of everyone who watches the show online, at least not without a few extra steps (and some additional spending).

As with all challenges in life, you can let convergence frustrate you, or you can see it for what it really is: a huge opportunity. Think about it – people haven’t stopped consuming media, they’re just changing how they do it. Technologies like pay-per-click advertising, Amazon product ads, social media, YouTube videos and apps are great ways to build your brand. Best of all, if you use them correctly, they can be very, very targeted. In truth, convergence allows your marketing dollars to go even further. The days of mass media waste are over – long live convergence!

Every day here at Anchor we spend our time putting new media to work for our clients. It’s not easy, but when done properly it’s very effective. Give us a call and let us show you how.