Question: What do beepers, dongles, laptops, Ethernet and cloud services all have in common?
Answer: They are all Commodities.
Cloud services are headed down the same path as laptops and Ethernet...they are everywhere and it's difficult to distinguish one service provider or product from the other. That's the challenge high tech PR agencies and content marketing professionals are facing when pitching and creating materials.
History bears this point out. In the early days, laptops took a page right from Henry Ford's marketing plan i.e. you can buy a Model-T in any color, as long as it's black. It took Chevy selling multi-color cars to personalize the product and capture market share...same way Apple hit the market. It's much easier to capture attention with a unique offering. Need another high tech PR agency challenge?
Ethernet was just one of many competing transports on the market. Remember Token Ring, Fast Token Ring, FDDI and ATM? Ethernet's flexibility and ease-of-use paved the way for it to become the ubiquitous reigning king of connectivity a.k.a Ethernet Everywhere. In the 1990s, pitching stories about the latest Ethernet switch was easy. Now, it's like pitching 120 volt outlets.
This brings us to my point about high tech PR and cloud services. Cloud services have been around for a long time and are now headed right down this same commodity path. The good cloud providers are aware of this commodity factor and are distinguishing themselves with Security as a Service, hybrid clouds and bandwidth on demand. These add-on services really help polish up an aging story.
In Brandon Buttler's Network World article, "We’ve had collocation, managed services and cloud. Welcome managed cloud to the party now," he says Rackspace is predicating this on their “fanatical support," while also calling out Amazon's Trusted Adviser program. These are prime examples of how to differentiate cloud services while the market is heading toward commodity.
Agencies need to dig deep and find the unique aspects to bring out. Here is a perfect example of bringing out specific cloud benefits in a story that landed in Virtual Strategy magazine.
For those high tech PR agencies not following these trends, well, their names will be affectionately placed in the technology lost and found... right next to the beeper, dongle, dial-up Internet modems and PDAs.