Public perception is the largest hurdle. According to a 2012 CNET article, which quoted a Nielsen study, 57 percent did not want to wear 3D glasses and 90% felt that watching 3D would interfere with other tasks they perform while watching TV. Negative public perceptions can be reduced if not altogether eliminated through the right combination of the products, public education, and managing expectations.
Most of the public perception is not based on actual experience. It is based on what they heard in the press or what they anticipate. I recently spoke with a real technical friend who I consider very intelligent. When I brought up 3D television for the home, he immediately snapped back: “I am not wearing those darn glasses.” This is the same person that years ago had the same opinion of 3D movies. He currently goes to and enjoys 3D movies in the theater.
A method is needed to gauge the actual acceptance versus perceived acceptance. Additional marketing research is required to find out the reasons for these perceptions. Additionally, focus groups in different geographic areas using different 3D technologies and content can be very useful to identify what is real and what is perceived. Once we have an understanding of what is real and what is perceived, an education program targeted to your market must follow. Use press coverage, social media, roadshows, and public events. Place 3D on the smaller screen in front of the public in as many venues targeting the general public as possible. Also let the public know that the 3D is there, or even better, start out with teasers before it is there to peak public curiosity. Use every possible opportunity to get the word out to the public. By the way, using 3D professional groups only educates 3D professionals. We want to educate the public. We need to get the public used to viewing 3D on the smaller screen and understand how the increased viewing experience adds to the enjoyment of the story.
Start this process with your initial target market. Your target market may be willing to accept glasses or even the current state of autostereoscopic displays. This may give more time for the advancement of the technology as we move forward from the initial target markets to the next.
Keep in mind the work it took in the early adoption of HDTV in 1989. Very few users were equipped with HD and there was very little content available. When I was purchasing my first HDTV, I was advised to not spend the money on HD. Times have changed. (By the way, I did not listen. I am pretty stubborn.) The key is going to be educating the public on 3D, creating a market acceptance and a market demand.
Overcoming Negative Press
In recent years, there was an overabundance of negative press proclaiming the death of 3D. Additionally, most press releases proclaiming the opposite have fallen on deaf ears. Recently, press on 3D has fallen off considerably with 3D printing press releases raging on. Has the negative press successfully predicted the demise of 3D? No, the detractors of 3D have either figured that they won and 3D is dead or they simply got bored with the discussion on a subject that will never amount to much. All of this negative press proclaiming the death of 3D has significantly impacted the market. Many experts feel that any attempt to resurrect the discussion will bring on the onslaught of negativity. One PR expert once told me that if you don’t like the conversation, either change the conversation and story or find someone else to talk with. Let’s do both.
Let’s change the conversation. Let’s talk about advances in the user experience. Let’s talk about what we have learned about the technology and where it is going. Do not get into an argument with someone who is not going to change their mind. Let’s change who we are talking with. Let’s use other press, other editors, and other channels, such as blogs and social media, to get out our message. Social media is one of our greatest marketing methods so choosing to learn more about nitreo or how and when to post is only going to be beneficial to your marketing efforts. There are millions and millions of people that use social platforms so it would be a wasted opportunity avoiding them. Another method would be to use reverse SEO. Put out as many messages, articles, and press releases with positive messages targeted to the public that will in turn push down the bad press in the search engine listings. Methods like this can be seen in use in a study by Gotch SEO, and by the companies listed.
When writing press releases, they must be written to the target audience, and not just posted in the hopes that someone somewhere picks up the post. Most press releases today have product centric titles and text, the kind that a local SEO checklist can highlight as working rather well. Additionally, they are posted on the top press release submission websites.
When writing a press release, the target audience is the press for that one segment that you are trying to reach. Select the right press and editors that match your current target market. If you were working on a press release for a public relations law firm, then you wouldn’t address it to supermarkets who are looking for new products to sell because it simply wouldn’t make sense. You need to find the right target market because a press release that’s targeted for a broad market will be far less powerful. If you are targeting multiple media for multiple markets, write multiple press releases.
The press release title along with the accompanying text must be about a subject that attracts the editor or editors that you are interested in attracting. Unless these editors are sitting at their desk just waiting for your specific product, a product-specific title will not attract much attention. Along with the press release document, develop a frequently asked questions document (FAQ). Anticipate any questions or reactions that you will need to respond to. Additionally, call the editors both before and after release of the press release. Before you send out the release, let them know that something new and of interest is coming. Give them just enough to peak their interest. Once you release or post the document, give them a call again. This is not the time to be shy. Keep the conversation about their area of interest and what your product does for this area of interest.
For a final point, locate editors who are more likely to listen to what you have to say. In my years of working with different press, I have found that editors and bloggers fall into three categories: 1) ones that listen to what you have to say in order to respond, 2) ones that don’t listen at all – either interrupt or politely wait until it is their turn to talk, and finally 3) listen with the intent to understand. It is the third group that you want to talk to. The first two groups will miraculously change their story once 3D bashing goes out of fashion. The third, more friendly and open group, are the ones that need to be educated as to what good 3D is, what bad 3D is, and how 3D enhances the user experience. There are a few groups that can help in this education such as the International 3D Society or UP3D in Europe. An invite to one of their conference can go a long way in educating the press.
Sustaining the Target Users’ Attention
The strategy required for the different 3D markets must go beyond seizing the target users’ attention with constant messaging, and must also sustain their attention. In order to sustain this attention, we need a complete understanding of the target market’s needs importance, interests, emotional appeal, badge value, and risks or worries. The biggest mistake that can be made here is to either trivialize or ignore any of these points. Let’s make use of the current marketing content channels such as blogs, social media, and standard media. Only this time, let’s stop convincing each other. Let’s target these channels toward our defined target market.
The perfect storm is approaching and it is the perfect time to take advantage of the technology and content coming together. The right approach can speed the acceptance of 3D as the preferred viewing experience. An industry-wide and unified demand generation program, with unified messaging, is needed. Even though the name “3D” now represents gimmicky , faddish, uncomfortable, and goofy glasses, a unified program can redefine “3D” as part of the story and an improved viewing experience with many useful applications wherever visual information is displayed.
Get the word out with a demand generation program. The old opinion that we have all fallen for “3D is so cool, everyone will be drawn to it” does not work. There is much too much bad press and negative perceptions for that to ever work.
I recently saw a saying posted on LinkedIn that can become the industry mantra: “I love the smell of possibility in the morning.” (source unknown)