Screenshot 2014-10-17 12.13.09
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.

Standard
stockxpertcom_id20629241_jpg_4e919c062aba02efbc8451c73c412b55
b2b, content strategy, Digital Channels, Social Media Marketing

Content: Focus on Your Customers, Not Volume

Feed the beast. Tame the monster. Stop the roar. Why do marketers insist on characterizing their content consumers as unruly, insatiable animals?

I suppose it’s because that’s exactly the way many have learned to think of it. For years now, marketing organizations have been trying to create messaging that can fill what may seem like an infinite void. Just keep churning out the content, and somehow, someday, some way, it will all pay off in the end . . . right?

There is a better approach, and now that 90% of B2C marketers and 93% of B2B marketers say they’ve thrown their hats in the content marketing ring, you need to start using a strategy that’s more efficient – and more effective. If you don’t, much of your effort will be wasted, because your customers are becoming increasingly distracted by the marketing messages – the content – bombarding them at virtually every turn.

To be more effective, you need to cut through all that noise. And to cut through all that noise, you need to produce content that’s targeted, useful, succinct, and shareable delivered at the right time within each buyer’s journey.

I’m not suggesting that we simply substitute one impossible beast with another. Rather, the key here is to break the problem into more manageable pieces.

First, take a long, hard look at the data surrounding the content you’re already creating. Analyze it. Find out what your audience wants to consume and how you can best present it to them. In other words, learn which 10% of your content does 90% of the work to create impact.

Then, strive for operational efficiency in your engagement tactics.

For example, our research shows that Millennials turn first to social networks for content discovery, and then to online and customizable newsfeeds. How many of your customers are doing the same? Or let me ask an even more fundamental question; do you know where your customers are engaging with content? (A recent study from Forrester showed that for some top brands, Instagram delivered 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.) Are your customers using Instagram and wondering why you’re not?

As you dig into your customer data, you may also discover where and when to create triggers for communication at different points along the customer journey. Fine-tuning your messaging so customers feel like they’re being acknowledged as individuals –with unique preferences and paths to purchase – can also lead to very effective (and cost efficient) content marketing.

In the end, it’s not about satisfying an endless sea of content consumers. And it’s not about taming. Instead, marketing success today – and even more so, in the future – is all about paying attention to your data and implementing a solid strategy so your content finds the people who matter most, your customers.

Standard
100707_typewriter_hemingway.grid-6x2
Customer Experience, Digital Marketing, Marketing Trends

Evolve or Die: Are Marketing Campaigns Destined for Extinction?

Remember how business professionals used to be completely devoted to the BlackBerry – so much so that “Crackberry” was named Word-of-the-Year in 2006? Back then, we didn’t realize that most of the technology we were holding near-and-dear would quickly become passé.

But now, we’re getting more accustomed to the rapid evolution of technology and processes. Looking around, I know that much of what’s familiar in the workplace today is probably on its way to becoming obsolete, replaced with alternatives that are more user-friendly, more intuitive and always connected.

And I know that’s exactly what’s happening with conventional marketing campaigns, too.

As I see it, one-way, mass-market marketing campaigns are going the way of dinosaurs and dodo birds. In the not-too-distant future, they’ll be extinct – not because there’s anything inherently “bad” about conventional marketing campaigns, but because they’re becoming less and less effective.

Digital channels, social media and mobile communications have fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with brands. As a result, today’s consumers don’t necessarily show traditional buying behaviors. Instead, they design their own experiences, jumping between on- and off-line channels, consulting their social networks for input, creating highly individualized paths to purchase and then, ideally, continuing on to become brand advocates.

In the era of the empowered consumer, every one of your customers is unique. Your marketing communications must reflect that uniqueness, including each customer’s often unpredictable change in interest, preference and expectations.

Certainly, blasting out a one-size-fits-all campaign won’t do the trick. Nor will any kind of old-school push marketing.

If you want to achieve marketing success, start focusing on customers – not campaigns. Become part of your customers’ buying cycles by building relationships that are ongoing, consistent, meaningful and mutually-rewarding, and keep in mind. . .

The clock is ticking on this paradigm shift. And the customer is controlling the stopwatch.

According to the data my company SDL has collected as part of a year-long research project on Millennials, they are already expecting brand interactions that are more innovative and more relevant. They’re connecting with companies on social media networks, and they like it when a company reaches out with a holiday/birthday card or some other kind of brand building that is more personal and not product specific.

In other words, Millennials – the 20-somethings who may be your customers today and will certainly be your customers in the future – aren’t interested in traditional marketing campaigns. They want to interact with your brand in a way that’s more timely, more customized and more relevant.

Are you ready to adapt to these new expectations? Are you positioned to focus on the customer experience?

As marketers, we can’t be resistant as our tools and processes evolve and improve. I remember holding on to my Blackberry until the bitter end, determined that an iPhone-sans-keyboard couldn’t possibly replace my beloved email-savvy friend. But, I was finally forced to change over when a former employer mandated the switch to an iPhone, version 3. I took the iPhone out of the box, started downloading apps and never looked back . . . not even for an instant.

You can do the same. Forge ahead. Don’t look back. Even though traditional marketing campaigns are extinct, your organization doesn’t have to follow suit.

Find out more about our millennial research here.

Standard