Waking up Monday morning hearing that Apple doubled the number of “pre-orders” for
the iPhone 5 compared to any other device in the past is simply astonishing. Based on the details of the device that Apple released last week, on a Wednesday and orders started on Friday, consumers had approximately 36 hours to decide whether they were “in or not” based on the information that Apple released. The information released was hardly detailed and hardly full of technical specs, but was very high level, simple and direct. Question is, is that when people decided to buy or was it way before?
Think about the hype over the iPhone 5 and how far in advance of last Wednesday’s release it started. There were infamous leaks of information about what the device was going to be able to do, some of the leaks even started by Apple (BLASPHEMY…ha). There was the press talking about how the iPhone 5 was going to be a device that changed the world forever (again). There were statements that the iPhone 5 was going to affect the US Gross Domestic Product by xx% (whew….a device impacting the GDP by some random percent..when is the last time a product had that impact). All of these things together, how could you not be somewhat interested if not already a buyer.
Lets switch to the world of HR/HCM/Talent Management/Social Collaboration and whatever else you want to put in that bucket for purposes of this read. Could we do a better job of starting the hype cycle earlier? Could we start to “leak” information that maybe got people excited about what we were going to announce? Could we make up some statistic that people on edge over how big this was going to be? Dang right we could but do we, no. Why?
We in HR are terrible at marketing. Terrible. Do we impact our organization’s bottom line on a daily basis – yes we do in a positive way but can we tell the story – NO WE CAN’T. Do we help the organization find the talent they need to continue to move the business forward – yes we do but can we tell the story in words they understand – NO WE CAN’T. We use fancy calculations, ratios and HR speak that make the business think we are talking about ourselves again instead of the true stuff that gets them excited, simplicity and “what have you done for me lately.”
Imagine if we told the organization they would have to go out and “re-learn” something based on how we changed the design of our processes. Whew, people would hate it, business leaders would revolt and what would we do, in most cases say – “the change curve is too much right now”, maybe next year. We slow down our innovation and entrepreneurship as a leader because we don’t know how to market and drive change. Now, think about all of the new adapters and accessories you will need for the iPhone 5. Is there revolt? Are people somewhat upset? (YES!). Will we buy the thing anyway, it sure sounds like it.
The best form of learning for HR and HR technology professionals in todays era is to watch masters at consumer marketing. Today, we must be masters of consumer marketing to get our processes and solutions adopted, if not, our announcements and launches will be received with a mild “thud” compared to a giant “WOW” just as we compare the last two weeks announcements of Amazon Kindle Fire and iPhone 5. Similar devices, similar amount of noise, one we have already forgotten about and one we are talking about and will for months to come until it is the standard device in the industry.
For those who hate marketing, sorry that I write this way. In a world where we are all asked to change on a daily basis, unless the change is a WOW and a I NEED TO JUMP ON THIS BANDWAGON, all of the hard work you go through in vendor selection, requirements gathering, implementation and testing will go for not.
Remember, until 5-7 years ago you marketed your HR technology work to the HR department, today you market it to the enterprise. Time to learn a lesson from Apple and all of our goals should be to be half as good as them at getting people excited, even if for nothing more than incremental improvement.
Another infusion of knowledge…