Offices filled with cigarette smoke, dusty mounds of paper, and the grating of fax machines: some of us remember and others have heard stories from colleagues. Anyone who has watched Mad Men will be struck by how workplaces (and ethics) have changed in the age of technology, and it’s all just proof of the progress we’ve made. But we all know this, right?
What’s more interesting and relevant to us here at a global communications agency is how technology has changed the way the sector operates. The answer comes down to two simple words: analytics and channels.
With data widely considered to be the new oil, it’s no surprise that analytics have changed day-to-day practices of the communications industry. Clients now expect their comms agency to provide quantifiable ROI as standard, which includes data on the media impressions generated and its reach. What was once the task of a secretary with a pen and paper, is now a fully automated, quick, and relatively accurate process.
Data enables communication agencies to justify their effectiveness and relevance, but companies can also take action to make sure their websites and social media channels are primed for optimum return. Automated marketing tools available today mean website visitors can be monitored with accuracy, as well as the leads and sales this traffic brings. Where marketing teams once relied on customers taking part in a written or verbal questionnaire, data now brings the necessary information straight to their desktops.
Which brings us to our second change: the increase in channels.
While the much-anticipated death of print media a few years ago never quite materialised, it is true that the number of printed publications has reduced significantly. There was a period of time when this worried a lot of communications professionals – where would they place their earned media if not in a magazine or newspaper? One of the biggest surprises was the rise in digital channels as a consequence, with thousands of online publications springing up in each sector and a multitude of social media channels.
But what do ‘channels’ actually mean? Well, we as PR professionals are experts at getting our clients earned (that’s not paid-for) exposure and the explosion in the number of channels (that’s mediums to place this exposure) has us doing a little happy dance. To put it in perspective, we at GingerMay pitch to hundreds of different channels and have direct relationships with journalists from many of these, whether through broadcast, print, digital or social media.
Technology has given the workplace a much-needed shake up, and staff are now more agile and connected than ever before. It has changed the communications sector through the introduction of analytics and metrics to measure reach, alongside an abundance of new channels and opportunities. Never before have companies been able to get exposure on so many different platforms at once.
In essence, technology has not only increased the level and depth of conversation in the world, but also given us the ability to analyse it.