As someone would say, “We are all prisoners of our own devices.” This holds true depending on where you stand and your competencies. Well, I am speaking with regards to technology. Buying the latest gadget, using the latest app, or switching to mobile banking is thrilling for some, but terrifying for others. This is quite understandable, considering the fact that as at 2010, only 10% of the Ghanaian population had computers, 4% had access to the internet and 72% owned mobile phones. The Ghanaian is relatively slow when it comes to the adoption and usage of technology. Marketers need to understand what motivates or inhibits the use of technology and capitalize on it.
The following are some motivators…
- Technology makes me more efficient, which improves the quality of my life.
- Technology connects me to people and the world.
- Technology empowers me by making it easier to find information
- Technology is a status symbol
- It is enjoyable rather than a burden.
… And some inhibitors to adopting technology, including;
- I am afraid I won’t be able to use a new technology
- Technology is too expensive
- New technology may not work
- Technology threatens my safety, privacy and security
- Technology creates dependencies
This is you talking or it probably sounds like a line you have heard before. As much as these sound like good excuses, they are not the only reasons that marketers should be worried about: one technology enthusiast confesses, “One technology or app emerges today, you get hooked on to it and soon, you find another – a more complex form that you have to learn to use. I am not saying innovation and new technology is bad or otherwise. However, what happens is that you find people giving up entirely since they have not really been able to get a full grasp of the old technology, and now, a new one!”
What does this mean for marketers?
Technology critics cannot help but be hypocrites, and the more we criticize something, the more we confess our secret dependence on it. For all of my mistrust and dislike for Facebook and Twitter, for example, they are still among my most frequently visited sites. For all the negative qualities described in their newest features and changing agendas, there is never a red line that an angrily informed user will not cross.
As stated in numerous articles and books, technology requires a unique approach to marketing. This means reaching out to innovators to learn about next generation functionality, while testing reliability and ease of use among second wave adopters. People vary in their “Technology Readiness,” but most have a “love/hate” relationship and marketers should not relent in their efforts to getting all on board in their marketing efforts. The many benefits of technology need to be reiterated and proven to the group of “skeptical” consumers, while reassuring communications and guarantees are required for insecure consumers. Marketers ought to know factors that drive, as well as inhibit the use of technology by consumers to help them increase their technology’s penetration.