I've always loved the last scene in Revenge of the Nerds when the Nerd fraternity wins the Greek Olympics by playing an outrageous techno number — complete with a laser lightshow, amazing choreography and trendy hair (by 1984 standards). They defeated the hugely favored Jocks, who put their eggs in a safer basket by performing a spirited, but unoriginal, cross-dressed cheerleader skit. The Nerds stole the show by knowing their audience and by implementing the latest technology to reach out and communicate with them. The Jocks played it safe, believing that their dominance and popularity would be enough to carry them through. If you haven't seen Revenge of the Nerds, you can download it to your iPad and watch it there because there's a pretty good chance that you're one of the estimated 2.5 to 5 million people who will purchase one in the next year. More importantly, if you want to capture the attention of those new iPad owners, you're going to have to think like a Nerd. The same old cheerleader skit isn't going to stand out on the new platform. The new format opens opportunities for the Nerd who can optimize multi-media content, manage the redesign and technology hurdles posed by the new platform and, ultimately, decide whether the technology appeals to a targeted demographic.
Let's consider the last point first. Before investing in multi-media channel development for the iPad, it's worth determining if your target market is likely to be on board with tablet technology. As an evolutionary step past the iPhone, it stands to reason that the early-adopter market will be composed largely of technology junkies. At the time of this writing, that number is somewhere in excess of 300,000. Still, with functionality for reading e-books and periodicals, watching video and web-browsing, it's a pretty safe bet that tablet computing will spread to a much wider audience, in a relatively short time. As that audience grows and becomes more diverse, it will be the Nerds who can make their message stand out on the new platform that will win over the crowd.
Flash and sizzle (like a spike-haired electric violinist, backlit with a high-wattage strobe), is going to get your iPad presence noticed. Just resizing your presence to comply with a big screen iPhone format will leave you at the back of the pack with the also-ran Jocks. The "big" screen format should be an advantage simply because it provides more real estate to work with, and compared to the typical smart phone, bigger, better and more sophisticated multi-media web marketing campaigns are made possible. The large screen format will make online product demonstrations and video marketing campaigns far more effective than the small screens of smart phones and on par with laptop capabilities, yet more easily accessible thanks to the lengthy battery life and on-board WiFi.
So, what awaits the intrepid Nerds who set out into the undiscovered country of iPad channel marketing redesign? Well, the aforementioned "big" screen means that websites designed for the smart phone will need to be redesigned to take advantage of the larger screen. Also, consider the multi-media potential of social networking sites. Optimizing and overhauling an organization's social networking presence for tablet computing should be a near-term concern.
The movie ends with the adoring crowd declaring their own Nerd-ism. The Jocks are left to grumble over their loss and blaming each other for their poorly conceived performance. The colorful, creative and eclectic Nerds won the contest, got the girls and earned the credibility and respect of the college community. Their presentation got their market's attention, held it and communicated to it effectively. It's time to get your Nerd on.
DAVID MARTINA [david.martina@NEPS.com] is the vice president of systems integration for NEPS, LLC of Salem, New Hampshire, a firm that provides solutions for the automation of document-intensive business processes.