Decoding Technology Marketing

The Art of Marketing Technology to Millennials

Melissa Galloway wrote this on Dec 7 / 0 comments

An avid tech-enthusiast, puzzle-lover, coder, and gamer, Melissa Galloway is currently a Research Assistant at BuzzBee and a University of Washington student with prospective majors in Computer Science and/or Biology. She loves to analyze current trends in science and technology and predict what will become the newest and biggest thing in the market next.

Recently I participated in my first ‘hackathon’, DubHacks 2015, and it was exhilarating. There were hundreds of student hackers and dozens of tech companies in attendance – and many of the companies gave away swag related to their offerings (I can’t wait to tinker with my new Raspberry Pi 2.0). Even more exciting, some companies offered prizes to the teams that used their technology the best, compelling hackers to use their technology to solve real-world problems. 

Today, a huge percentage of the world’s consumer base includes young people like those at the hackathon – or “millennials” – people born sometime between 1985 and the early 2000s. These consumers are also the future of our global workforce (up to 75% of it by 2020). And since millennials are the most tech-savvy generation to date, with many raised experiencing the rapid evolution of personal computers and smart devices, it’s essential to understand how millennials think in order to attract them.

This got me thinking about how mutual relationships are being fostered between tech companies and millennial customers. How do you get millennials to try your tech offering? Then, how do you convert them into customers? I spoke with some of my fellow engineering students and compiled a list of questions we ask ourselves when confronted by new technologies.

  • Is it an improvement to a tool I already know? If not, how easy is it to learn?

Learning new things can be difficult, and finding the time to learn them is even more difficult. Selling a product with a steep learning curve has never been a bigger challenge. At DubHacks, it was evident which technologies were most enticing. For instance, a machine-learning API that can enable photo recognition attracted a big crowd because it was new, easy to learn, and produced fast results people could see. How can you do the same with your technology?

  • Why do I need another app or device?

We have so much technology at our fingertips, often empowering us to be more productive, efficient, and interactive. But one can only commit to so much. What makes your app or device uniquely meaningful to millennials? What makes it worth incorporating into a daily routine or wearing on a wrist? 

Most millennials like to have the most popular mobile apps and devices as the interdependence with social networks on these grow (Can you name the last app you used that doesn’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest extension?). For millennials, deciding to purchase and adopt new technology rarely happens in a vacuum. Take advantage of this, and integrate ways for people to interact with and expand their social network. 

  • How can I use technology to build something new?

Watching innovation evolve so quickly drives millennials to solve challenges at a record pace. When there are several competing brands selling the same type of technology, millennials are often drawn to the brands that feature relevance in the modern world and the potential to integrate other technologies. After all, what would the iPhone be without all of the apps?

My experience at DubHacks proved that there is value in offering free tools to showcase why they’re worthwhile. After getting my first real experience working with API’s, I now love to find ways to integrate different ones to make some useful application. 

  • Is it really worth my time and money?

Coming of age during the Great Recession and having the highest rates of student debt than any previous generation, most millennials are accustomed to being frugal and selective in their buying choices. Marketing your solution in a way that quickly catches attention and clearly shows how it can improve one’s lifestyle is essential. 

At the end of the day, to truly be a millennial-savvy technology marketer, always consider how you’re fostering the mutual relationship between your company and millennials. Whether you get them to explore your product through a creative and witty marketing campaign, leveraging the power of social media, or by investing some time and resources to introduce your technology at a hackathon, one thing is certain: you never know what scrappy young innovators may come up with under pressure and fueled by entrepreneurial aspirations and liquid courage (Red Bull and Monster Energy, FTW).

5 Ways the Eco-Movement is Driving Innovation

Melissa Galloway wrote this on Apr 21 / 0 comments

An avid tech-enthusiast, puzzle-lover, coder, and gamer, Melissa Galloway is currently a Research Assistant at BuzzBee and a University of Washington student with prospective majors in Computer Science and/or Biology. She loves to analyze current trends in science and technology and predict what will become the newest and biggest thing in the market next.

Nationally recognized on April 22nd, Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the impact sustainability has on modern technological innovation. It’s no surprise that brands have been leveraging this eco-movement more than ever, from eco-friendly cleaning supplies to reusable coffee filters. And yet I’m consistently surprised by new innovations that support sustainability.

With Earth Day around the corner, I’m counting five big ways technology is helping us live sustainably. Which of these technologies do you use? Better yet, what do you think will be the next green innovation in technology?

1) Smartphone Apps

Don’t know whether that bottle cap is recyclable? There’s an app for that. The majority of cell-phone users own a smartphone, and apps are enhancing our daily lives more than ever. Apps can help people recognize what can be recycled or composted, recommend how to optimize your gas mileage, and even keep track of and change the heating and cooling settings at home. Check out the EPA’s top-rated apps to help you live greener this year.

2.) Electric Cars

Believe it or not, but electric cars have been around since 1880’s. Aside from saving on gas money, electric cars are popular because they emit no tailpipe pollutants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions of oil drilling and gas usage, and some are even becoming integrated with renewable solar technology. As technology has advanced rapidly over the last 10 years, electric cars have been becoming more affordable for the manufacturer and thus the consumer, while performing as well, if not better, than standard gas engines.

3.) Cloud Technology

Every year, more and more businesses have been adopting cloud technology with the primary incentive to save money, increase productivity, and ultimately stay ahead in the modern economy. In addition to traditional monetary benefits, integrating cloud technology in both the workplace and for personal use can significantly reduce one’s ecological footprint. Some research claims businesses can save up to 78% in energy costs. Specific eco-friendly benefits include decreased transportation costs, up to 80% less of physical server space, and a significant decrease in the amount of paper documents being used.

4.) Solar Panels

Solar panels and solar cells work by storing solar energy and converting it to electrical energy usable in applications such as powering electronic devices or heating your home. Today, a growing number of homeowners are investing in solar panels to heat their homes, saving both energy and money in the long-run. Additionally, many brands are now investing in research to integrate solar chargers and solar panels into portable technology including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

5.) Smart Homes

If you haven’t heard, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) is becoming big business, especially for homeowners looking to save money and energy with smart technology. Current innovations in IoT are expected to impact the energy efficiency in both residential and corporate buildings. Smarter thermostats, lighting, and kitchen appliances are among technologies that are becoming connected to the Internet, helping us optimize energy consumption via smartphones and computers.

Pi Day: Inspiring the Future of Math and Technology

Melissa Galloway wrote this on Mar 13 / 0 comments

An avid tech-enthusiast, puzzle-lover, coder, and gamer, Melissa Galloway is currently a Research Assistant at BuzzBee and a University of Washington student with prospective majors in Computer Science and/or Biology. She loves to analyze current trends in science and technology and predict what will become the newest and biggest thing in the market next.

After much anticipation, digit-memorization practice sessions, and pie recipe hunting, Pi Day is finally around the corner. This year, Pi Day falls on 3/14/15, a rare occasion where the first five digits of pi (also expressed as π) in are in standard American date format. While millions of mathematicians, scientists, and pie lovers will celebrate the day with pi digit competitions, pi-themed clothing, and of course, millions of pies, I find the holiday significant in other ways.

Let’s start with the facts. It’s just wrong to approximate the irrational number pi with a date. For one, countries like France and England would be missing out on Pi Day – many countries express days in day/month format. Unfortunately, there’s no such day given by the 3rd day in the 14th month. Furthermore, there has been a proposal with growing following to replace pi altogether with “tau”, or 2π, due to the fact that most fundamental equations in math and science include 2 as a coefficient with π. Personally, I’m just not hooked into Pi Day because pi’s marvel comes from the fact that it cannot be expressed as a finite number. Simplifying it to a three digit, five digit, even 12 digit number, if you want to go down to seconds, is like changing its identity entirely.

Now that I’ve poked holes in the premise of Pi Day, I’ll admit that the annual celebration has a profound influence in inspiring people to pursue science and technology. Of all the “magic” irrational numbers, pi, or approximately 3.14, is the one most often introduced in education at the earliest age. I remember coming across the oddly curved “n” in 5th grade, during my first Pi Day celebration thinking the two-letter word was a typo on the class calendar. Amidst sharing dozens of pies with my fellow classmates, this was the first introduction I had to pi. We had several activities learning how to write the symbol, wrapping strings around circular objects and cutting them in pieces to calculate pi, and having a competition to memorize as many digits of pi as possible.

As a passionate math and technology enthusiast, my early discovery of pi significantly fueled my interest in mathematics. Here is this little three-stroked symbol in my textbook, and it holds the irreplaceable ratio of every circle to its diameter, laying the foundation to hundreds of formulae in mathematics, science, and technology. What’s profound about pi is not only its important application in mathematics and technology, but its role in sparking worldwide interest in these fields.

Pi Day is the only official holiday recognizing a mathematical constant. Whether or not you agree with its generalized approximation on March 14th, it gets people thinking and excited about math. Students (and passionate mathematicians, engineers, and scientists of all kinds) will be celebrating the undeniable importance and beauty of pi this year.

Yes, I admit, Pi Day used to be my favorite day of the year. Maybe my calculus courses in college turned me a little too much into a mathematical purist today. But the important takeaway is that Pi Day holds a special place in the heart of many fellow math-and-technology enthusiasts (it’s also the birthday of Albert Einstein), and is a unique opportunity to inspire future mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and technological innovators all around the world. So, enjoy this upcoming once-in-a-century 3/14/15 Pi Day with your favorite pie, and perhaps enjoy two for the celebration of Tau Day on June 28th.

Growing Up Tech: The Mobile Revolution

Melissa Galloway wrote this on Feb 3 / 2 comments

An avid tech-enthusiast, puzzle-lover, coder, and gamer, Melissa Galloway is currently a Research Assistant at BuzzBee and a University of Washington student with prospective majors in Computer Science and/or Biology. She loves to analyze current trends in science and technology and predict what will become the newest and biggest thing in the market next.

It’s a fact: the modern digital age is moving faster than ever in both predictable and highly unpredictable ways. What we used to see as conveniences have evolved into daily necessities. As a student pursuing a degree in computer science and/or biology, I am immersed in a world of science and technology. New devices with new capabilities are coming to market almost every day but the value we put on devices is tied to how they enable and inspire us. What does this relationship look like over time?

Being born in 1995, I have had an invaluable opportunity to grow up with the digital age as technology has been progressing at a pace more rapidly than any other period in history. One of the fastest-growing industries I have watched evolve over the years is mobile devices. For the younger generation in the early 2000’s, the Motorola RAZR was the coolest device a kid could have. Oh how I envied the sleek, modern style and the ability to text people messages instead of calling.

Fast forward a decade and today I prepare to say farewell to my beloved iPhone 4S. It has been my trusty side-kick (a.k.a. lifeline) in many ways. Until it recently went on the fritz, I didn’t realize how much my life and both my academic and professional success relied on this single device. But a new iPhone 6 is on its way, and I am eager to see what new features it has in store. Realizing the impact of my smart phone in my life led to the inspiration of this post, my first at BuzzBee.

Using my phone to complete so many different tasks, from waking me up in the morning to looking up how many minutes late the bus is running, I can’t imagine what life was like only 20 years ago, when people in both the academic and professional world didn’t have the technology we have in our fingertips today.

Smartphones and tablets have, in many ways, made our lives much more efficient, productive and organized. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have expected my phone to sync both my academic and professional calendars, stream music and play videos from almost anywhere I go, and keep me occupied with brain games during my commute. I expect that relatively soon, the term “phone” will become obsolete and be permanently replaced by a category generally becoming more recognized as “smart devices”, including tablets and laptop hybrids.

In many ways, today’s mobile devices also make our lives much more distracting. There’s been a lot of research done lately showing that peoples’ attention spans have been getting shorter and shorter. Whether that’s good or bad is a matter of perspective, but it’s definitely a result of the technology and social media most of us rely on 24/7. Just check out this infographic.

Sure, you can argue which is best: Android vs. iPhone vs. Galaxy vs. Oppo (a pretty impressive Chinese phone my international friends have introduced me to), but in the end, I think the biggest takeaway is that where we are in technology today is inspiring, especially compared to only a few years ago. It’s exciting to be a young adult entering the field of technology today in one of the most technologically-progressive cities today in the U.S., and I am eager to see what discoveries and innovations are to be announced in 2015.