Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Follow the group tablet: Website, audience, ad shifts

Maybe you want a tablet computer or e-reader, or have managed to talk yourself out of one. But if you take your eyes off the product shelves, you can train them on the many groups that are being issued tablets en masse--a move that signals more widespread use of tablets, and with it, changes you need to anticipate for your marketing and communications. Don't rule out the e-reader, either: Its use is booming, with changing audiences to match.

Which groups are using tablets because they've been issued them? All of Yale University's medical students have been issued tablets, iPads they can use until graduation for texts, course materials and even patient information. British Airways, with improved customer service in mind, is experimenting with flight crew iPads that will hold everything from customer data to safety manuals, crew schedules, special customer requests and a library of company documents. At United and Continental airlines, pilots get the iPads -- 11,000 of them -- for navigational charts and flight manuals.

The motivation from those companies and institutions is cost savings in paper, printing and distribution. At Yale:
The program will distribute 520 iPads. If that sounds expensive, consider this: Dean Schwartz notes that the school spends about US$100,000 per year to copy, collate and distribute course materials. So far, he's spent about $600,000 on the iPad program. Within a few years, Schwartz notes, money saved on printing costs will pay for the initiative.
Ditto the airlines: United estimates it will save, per pilot, some 38 pounds of documentation and 16 million pieces of paper each year. That will shrink storage space, postage and shipping, design and printing. Can your briefing books for boards of directors and public officials be far behind? 

All this is to give you a heads-up on following your audience. If your intended target audience is likely to move to tablet or e-reader use, spurred by being handed one for daily use, how will you need to change your operations and plans to communicate with its members?  Are you publishing in formats that work on tablets and e-readers? Here are some additional data and options to consider:

How are you changing your communications and social-media strategies for tablets?

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1 comment:

beth schachter said...

Thanks for this heads-up, Denise. I've been holding off buying an iPad because I couldn't quite justify it as a work expense. But I'm about to embark on my fall schedule of multi-session writing workshops for scientists. In the past, each week I've provided paper handouts but now I see that I should also plan for handouts that work well on tablets as well as print, and soon maybe exclusively on tablets.