Home Office Highway and the virtual office is all about technology. Sure, cooking burgers on a grill doesn’t take much in the way of high-tech gizmos — unless you bought your spatula at Hammacher-Schlemmer.
But this blog has been written on a laptop connected to the Internet by a USB device that delivers broadband Rev-A through-put from almost any location — an RV park, at the base of Stone Mountain in Georgia, or as we drive along I-95 toward Massachusetts. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you telework / telecommute, tech is your toolbox.
If you’re a tech marketer, the secret of successfully putting high-tech gadgetry in the hands of consumers (especially if you don’t have an IT staff behind you) is making it accessible to folks in a non-threatening, high-touch venue. The chance to play with the latest handset, or demo some new device, or ask “Like Duh!” questions without getting some “You Silly Consumer” look in response is the answer.
Call it the “Evolution.”
The ideal, to many, has been the Apple Store — a retail showcase awash in white light, a lot of tech and a very “touch the stuff” mentality. Except sales clerks and those folks at The Genius Bar have a way of being just that: Geniuses who, if you just happen to be a PC user who owns an iPod that gone awry, look at you as if you’re a Red Sox fan in Yankee Stadium. My 16 year old went through that recently. It was not fun (note to Apple; soften up on the attitude. No matter how much better they may be than Windows-driven devices, they’re still but a sliver of the PC market).
People wanted more than to be looked down upon, rushed, hurried or otherwise sold a device they weren’t sure was right for them. Evolution, it seems, was the answer.
Verizon has embraced the hands-on perspective with its Evolution retail concept. While visiting Jacksonville, Fla., on our way north, I stopped by just such a store in Orange Park. Natalie Stern, the store manager, gave me a tour. She spoke of modern colors, open views, free-flowing floor plans that lead to “demo pods” and “demo zones” where people can touch the stuff. They can sit while investigating and waiting for their names to come to the top of the wait lists displayed on plasma screens throughout the store.
“This is a better experience for customers,” Stern said, “a much more fun side of Verizon.”
Today’s tech isn’t just for geeks. But non-techy consumers need to know how to handle the stuff. Inviting people to touch, goof with and otherwise wrap their fingers and minds around gadgets can help them mentally embrace the latest device — which, in turn, will help drive sales.
That’s where Evolution comes in. Evolution offers home officers and other consumers a high-tech and hands-on experience with wireless voice, data, music and video services. What’s really cool is how Evolution plays perfectly into the psyche of the growing number of tech users who aren’t business owners. They’re soccer moms, carpooling dads and people who straddle the line between work, family and life. Business might not even be part of the equation. But email and Web browsing are.
So the tech is flowing in kind.
Marketers take note: Want to sell more gadgets? Help the non-tech moms and dads out there to mentally embrace the stuff.
Even as they drive an RV down the highway…