CARY, N.C. – Advances and changes in technology not only affect enterprises but also the marketing agencies that represent them

An example is Patty Briguglio of MMI Associates. Her firm recently made a significant investment in cash and personnel to help clients create podcasts. And at some point MMI will offer video services as well.

“Today, people are changing the way they gather information,” Briguglio told WRAL Local Tech Wire. “Previously, the majority of the population relied on mass media outlets to filter their ‘news’ for them. That is all changing, businesses and news-makers are now by-passing traditional media and going directly to the consumer, removing the gatekeeper.

“Parallel to this shift, communications has developed into a dialogue format that encourages interactive participation,” she added. “Because of this, tools such as podcasting allow consumers to hear directly from decision makers, giving them the ability to then post comments and feedback about the content of the message, which encourages a dialogue.”

Asked how marketing firms must adapt changing technology, Briguglio said the driver is not just client needs.

“It is not about the client, it is instead about being a student of society and continuing to learn and study the evolution of communication and how changes in communication habits tie into the public relations and marketing objectives of the client,” she explained.

Briguglio also said embracing changes in technology is more than a differentiator.

“It is a differentiator in the fact that not many other firms currently offer podcasting services, but we see it as an extension of our current service offerings and a way to give our clients added value and a competitive edge in the market place,” she said.

Her company is investing some $15,000 inn the podcasting effort, including time, space and equipment.

“One of our staff members is knowledgeable about podcasting and did all of the research and project coordination to develop the studio and our distribution platform,” Briguglio said. “Once this was complete, we had training sessions for all other staff members to instruct them how to use the hardware and software within the studio and mange the audio files.”

Podcasts continue to increase in popularity as more people use iPods and other portable players.

“The emergence of iPods and other digital music players, combined with faster internet connections and cheaper hard drive space, have made it possible to consume more multimedia content,” Briguglio said.

And video is next.

“We believe that video is the next step and it will, of course, be another large investment,” she explained. “However, it is just as important as podcasts, traditional media, and news releases for distributing information to a public that is becoming a larger consumer of multimedia news and information. We are currently in the process of purchasing equipment and up fitting space to perform the video capture and editing.”

Briguglio’s firm has 18 people with staff in Cary and Arizona. She opened the Cary office in 2003, having moved to the area from Arizona when her husband was transferred to a Triangle operation.