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Customer Experience, Customer Journey, Digital Culture, Digital Marketing

@BrianSolis on The Future of Business, Generation C, and Napkins

A few weeks ago, I sat down for a chat with Brian Solis (@briansolis) from the Altimeter group. We had a great time discussing a number of topics that are close to both our hearts, several from his smart and enlightening book, ‘What’s The Future of Business?’.

You can watch the entire 30 minute video here.
WTFbookyesIf you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you get hold of a copy and see if you have the same experience with it as I did. And experience is exactly the word to describe it because Brian deliberately wrote it and designed it that way, even changing his methods of writing to adjust to the sound-bite mode of preference in which we consume media today.

“I love writing, but now suddenly everything had to be a tweet version. Maybe a paragraph and then an image before you continue with a longer post, but I didn’t dumb it down,” Brian explains.

It is Brian’s view that the addressable audience is not specific to a demographic based on age per se, and whilst Millennials are the fastest growing segment of consumers – with a spending power of £1.5 Trillion by year 2015 – it is the way Millennial habits are being adopted by older generations that is driving consumption, purchase and interaction trends today. He terms this newly created and ageless demographic ‘Generation C’ — or the “Connected Generation.”

In the full interview, available here, Brian and I discuss the following topics:

  • Customer experience is becoming more important than the product itself.
  • Disruptive technologies and customer behavior are changing how we do business.
  • ‘Generation C’ – not an age but how customers behave and become digitally connected.
  • Digital culture, experience and journey.
  • The importance of empathy combined with understanding the customer.
  • Design by napkin…

Yes, napkin. Funnily enough, we discussed the fact that napkins are still a popular design medium of choice in Silicon Valley. Take a look at this extra outtake to find out more and if you haven’t had chance to see the full 30 minute interview between myself and Brian Solis, it is available on demand for you to enjoy at your leisure.

I have to admit my brain hurt a bit afterwards! Hoping to sit down with Brian again soon.

Big Data, CMO, Customer Experience, Customer Journey

Boost 2014 Performance with These Q2 Resolutions for B2B And B2C Marketers

Every January, there’s plenty of buzz about New Year’s resolutions. But the truth is, you can set new goals any time of the year, and I’ve even found that short-term quarterly resolutions can be much more effective than long-term annual ones. This is because you significantly increase your chances of success if you split big (read: intimidating) resolutions into smaller, more manageable chunks, and you increase the opportunity to course-correct as things change (as they inevitably do)

To help get you started, here are six marketing resolutions on which I feel you and your team can start working–and likely achieve –in Q2.

Rethink the customer journey. Buying behaviors have changed dramatically over the past decade, and it’s clear you’re really not selling business-to-business; you’re selling business-to-individual buyer. Use Q2 to start honing in on relationships with your customers, influencers and prospects. Make it a priority to create customer experiences that are ongoing, consistent, meaningful and mutually rewarding.

Focus on big small data. There’s no doubt about it: data is your most valuable asset . . . and you must use it to develop and nurture the business-to-buyer relationships described above. But don’t get overwhelmed by how vast your data can be. Instead, concentrate on the data that’s most relevant. Make sure your data sources – sales, marketing, accounting, press/analyst relations, executives – are consistently capturing information in the same format; it’s much easier to work on clean data up-front, than to stop and undertake a huge data cleanup effort down the road.  Start small and expand as you gain experience and produce results.

Worry less about channels, more about customers. Stop feeling flabbergasted by all of the available channels, platforms, devices . . .  Keep this top-of-mind: you don’t need to be in all places at once. You simply need to be where your customers are. Find them. Connect. Engage. Listen. (And then repeat that sequence over and over again.)

Assess your mobile capabilities. Forrester calls it a “mobile mind shift” and says that customers now expect that “any desired information or service is available on any appropriate device, in context, at their moment of need.” If you haven’t already done so, Q2 is the perfect time to determine customer preferences and evaluate your capabilities. Is your content mobile-friendly, consistent across screens, localized and relevant?

Use data to find an audience that’s fragmented across multiple channels and platforms. Your customers are telling you where they are, how they’re doing, what they like and what they don’t. All of that information is locked up in the data they’re generating. You need to ask the right questions, gather the right data and apply the right analytics to attain the insights you need to create more personalized and compelling customer experiences.

Call the CIO. Data is now the lifeblood of marketing, and that means you need to collaborate with IT –and across the enterprise, as well. Over the next few months, make a special effort to open up communication so you can start developing a comprehensive, shared data strategy. You can’t move forward unless everyone is pulling together.

Who needs New Year’s resolutions and all the fuss of noise-makers, party hats and confetti? (Some estimate that as many as 90% quit on their goals by the end of January, anyway.) Let’s celebrate the beginning of Q2 with a little less fanfare, and a little more determination now that spring is here.

So tell me, what resolutions will you be making in the coming months?