iPods, Soccer, and Insurance Web Marketing

4thMar. × ’09

I have sat through a couple of webinars, and read several articles about web marketing in the last few weeks. And I’m afraid every one of them missed the point. When I hear somebody talk about a tool or medium as a thing unto itself (as in web marketing), I suspect they are too enamored of a new technology and prone to believe that the technology itself constitutes a sea change. And often, the way that sea change is positioned in these webinars, you would have to believe that you have to abandon all of your former practices and adapt to the sea-change, or drown in the tidal wash.

Take insurance for example. I would suggest that what people want from insurance providers, and what insurance providers need to deliver, has not changed in decades (if ever); to wit: peace of mind, economy, information on demand. The fact that an insurance agent might be using streaming video on YouTube, a blog, or website to serve up what consumers want doesn’t change the essential nature of the business, and probably doesn’t constitute a sea change.

I was reminded of this by my fellow blogger, James Hawley, who flipped me a link to an article appearing in the LA Times. The story featured Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster’s use of an iPod to study the tendencies of an opposing player. What made the story novel is that the iPod was used just moments before Foster successfully defended a penalty shot.

Foster didn’t turn into a technologist or web geek. He was still playing soccer the old fashioned way; he was also just using his powers of observation to stack the goal defense odds in his favor, as goalkeepers have done since the advent of the game. That Foster used an iPod to get a tendency update moments before a shot didn’t change the nature of the game, it just made Foster a smarter player, and resulted in a blocked shot.

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