Engagement, Customer Experience, Everything is changing. Your customer is changing, the way she interacts with your brand, the way she wants to be engaged with, her journeys leading to buying decisions, everything is changing… why are you then wooing her still the same way? Today’s marketers need to adapt to this. Today consumers need what they need, when they need it. Internet and Mobile has made access to information so easy that it is almost democratized.

We are sitting at an interesting cusp: It’s an amalgamation of Marketing, Technology, Biology and Psychology. Will write more about each of these in detail in future, but surely our worlds are up for change… and pretty soon that is.

So What’s coming up?

1. Marketing departments are going to get really interesting: You will see tech geeks entering your department, deeply analytical and big data guys entering the system, Neurologists and psychologists who understand mind-body-brand relationships (read NeuroMarketeers) entering the system.

2. CMO+CTO+CIO: Roles like these are going to become increasingly common. CDO (Chief Digital Officer) role that has recently sprung up in organizations is up for an interesting twist itself. There is a new bread of natively digital, tech savvy and marketing sensitive folks growing up (read millennials) and learning fast to take this up.

3. Ad agencies who produce shitty ads are going to Shut down OR Evolve!: TV Spends are not growing fast enough, print is anyways going down the drain, no body likes to see hoardings stuck in pathetic traffic in Bangalore/Mumbai roads! Or on their way to catch a flight (they are already delayed because of that jam en-route). People switch channels on TV ads. Ads have become so irritating that people start hating products and companies that produce them. This torture will stop very soon. Content will still be the king but the way content will be delivered to the consumer will change.

Remember today customers need to see what they want, when they want, where they want it. Understanding consumer journey is the key, interacting real time and meaningfully is the key, reading her mind is the key. Gone are the days of pushy salesmen or marketers.

So how do you adapt to this new reality?

I have tried to put together some thoughts that I believe are quintessential for any marketer succeeding in today’s fast evolving and increasingly digital landscape:

1. Adapt to change or become history: Today, this cycle of change has become too strong. One has to continuously keep learning. Learning now is a life long survive and thrive tool! Large part of Digital is driven by evolving technology, and tech is a v fast evolving landscape, you need to keep current or within 6 months knowledge gets obsolete. It’s like shifting sand; you don’t remain observant, landscape around you changes. Read-Read-Read and Adapt-Adapt-Adapt is the mantra.

2. It is not ‘E’ Commerce, ‘M’ commerce it is ‘ME’ Commerce: You would need to engage with the customer at an individual level, you need to build experiences tailored and personalized to each customer by deeply understanding her decision making cycle, how she lives, her persona at a micro level. You need to become her trusted partner, part of her life, not just a brand trying to sell her your product or service.

3. Think integrated (Connect the Dots): Your customers today don’t see buying in the store vs. shopping on-line or on mobile any different, its part of the same experience. All the channels need to talk to each other; Omni channel is not a phase 2 project! It’s Now! Think integrated and omnichannel. Offline, Online consumers don’t care where they can get your stuff, its you who have to create a seamless experience and presence across the touch points of your consumers.

4. Learn to make sense of real time data: I sometimes am surprised that marketeers are adept at reading and understanding the research numbers from large consulting companies about their industry but don’t know their web/mobile analytics numbers. Marketing agencies still look towards a digital agency to solve this conundrum and see digital as tech! (and vice versa) Unless Tech and Mktg understands each other’s language, there will always be barriers. These barriers need to go. Perhaps the new generation of techies and marketeers will be all rolled into one. These adaptations have already started, because that is the only way to grow today. Plus, you can’t hide real time numbers. It’s so black and white, ‘measurable to the T’ Campaigns start producing results in minutes not months. Numbers start clocking instantaneously.

5. Become the digital avatar that you so evangelize in your company: Some marketers I know haven’t updated their LinkedIn profiles in years! You need to live the digital life to really understand how it is going to impact your brand/organization.

6. Make Digital part of your team: Digital is not a separate department; its part of marketing and it should be part of the marketing department. You can’t have a digital campaign and an offline campaign. You cant have separate languages spoken to the customer on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn and on hoardings/Radio/TV.

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