When to dabble in and embrace new tools and technology

@Kevin | Strategy

Choosing when to dabble in new tools and technology and when to embrace them is one of the hardest decisions to make. Be it trying new software, joining a new social media site, or creating a platform on a new technology for people to engage with, knowing when to try something and when to embrace it requires careful deliberation.

As the title of the post shows, I think there are two distinct choices to make: when and if you should try out the technology and if you should embrace it. (Okay that is three choices… whatever.) For the most part, time and resources are finite items, gambling on the wrong tools and technology at the wrong time can set back your efforts. Kind of like a sports franchise investing heavily in a poor first pick in the draft or the wrong free agent.

Working with different companies in different capacities I see a lot of pitches and requests to use different tools and technology. At times it feels like I am in a constant evaluation process. While I have the tools that I personally like to use, I am open to hearing and seeing what is out there and what is emerging. (I would hate to be the last person to the dance.) On top of considering the pitches, I’m consistently following technology and social media news about emerging sites and trends.

When I evaluate these tools or technologies this is how I approach it:

Choice 1: To sign up or not to sign up? That is the question.

Is there a publically exposed username involved? 9 times out of 10 if the answer is yes, I am signing up to protect my or a client’s brand. At this point it is habit.

Is this tangentially related to what I do? I used to have a bad habit of wanting to kick the tires on everything even though the product might not be something I would remotely ever use. In the past, I thought I might learn something from trying everything but I realized that it was an enormous time suck.

Choice 2: Do I dip my toe in the water?

Is this something that will potentially enhance the user experience or help me grow an audience?

Am I going to obtain an advantage over a competitor if I am an early adopter of this?

Will this make doing business easier?

If the answer is yes to any of these things I am trying it out.

Choice 3: Do I fully embrace this?

If I embrace this and have to make a choice with my time or money over something else, can I live without what I am cutting out? I think when it specifically comes to marketing technology this is the question I am asking the most.

Is this the right time to embrace this product? Sometimes being an early adopter pays off and sometimes it leads to paying or using a product that is undercooked and you end up having to deal with a lot of growing pains to your detriment.

Is adoption and the application of resources (time and/or money) going to definitively and positively impact my business? Kind of a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people get seduced by a product or technology and want to dive head first into the shallow end of a pool.

Often times I talk with people that get overwhelmed by everything that is out there and available to them; you can’t be everywhere, you can’t use every tool, and you can’t use every technology. Being able to evaluate what is out there is going to separate you from the field.

How do you evaluate new tools and technology?