This article is cross-posted from Geoff Livingston’s blog. The first person voice in this post is Geoff’s, as he shares his ideas and interviews me about mine.
The Internet is everywhere. You know I’m a big proponent of integrated marketing, but the very nature of the pervasive Internet will force marketers to integrate experiences or suffer dwindling results. Cheap mobile broadband makes this possible. Where ever a customer is, they can find out more information and make purchases on demand.
We cannot escape the fact that marketing has to take into account the very real relevancy of now. All marketing information is in play, including articles about your product, web site, inventories, store locations, and customer reviews on demand. If your company’s communications are siloed, and customers get different stories from a) your communications channels, b) what’s being said about you by media and influencers, and c) customers also have a different story, then you’ll lose opportunities.
We went car shopping over the weekend (we bought a new Subaru CrossTrek), and found our shopping experience was dramatically shaped by access to media, customer and dealer information on the Internet, including our mobile experience. In one case, we dropped a popular car brand because of customer reviews. In another case, improved customer reviews about a second year model and mobile friendly access to dealer inventory caused us to visit the lot, and keep a second brand’s auto in the mix until the very end. One of the key buying decisions revolved around Internet connectivity in the vehicles. Which would make accessing online information safely while driving.
Pervasive data and information, the true game changer for marketing.
Retooling Marketing Thought
Digital ubiquity will only increase over the next few years with faster mobile networks speed and new technological interfaces. We have to consider how digital ubiquity changes the way strategists think about their marketing programs, both on and offline.
Marketing Futurist and former crayon CMO Greg Verdino recently joined the xPotomacspeaking roster to discuss Digital Ubiquity. His session on February 25 will provide intelligence to marketers seeking clues towards this new everywhere environment.
I asked Greg his thoughts on the topic:
“Clearly, the distinction between online and off becomes more blurred than it is today, ultimately becoming meaningless. But I think that there are some even bigger changes that will be accelerated by digital ubiquity. When we talk about digital ubiquity, we’re talking about a state I like to call the hypernetworked now. This is about more than just online vs. offline. And it’s certainly much, much bigger than just social. It’s analog, digital, social and mobile. It’s always-on, instant-on, and everywhere-all-at-once. That may sound like rhetoric but it’s not – and the changes digital ubiquity will require of marketers are profound. Let’s look at just one big shift…
“We’re already witnessing a shift from a product economy to a service economy. Why own your music when you can access music you don’t own through Spotify? If you live in a major city, why own a car when Zipcar can provide you with access to an auto-as-a-service?
“But when consumers are literally connected to the web, to companies, and through each others all the time through all sorts of networked devices (not just computers, tablets and smartphones but kitchen appliances, houses, streets and shoes) business models will undergo a further shift from service to experiences. By this I mean: products plus services plus content, all driven by access to (and analysis) of rich datastreams, designed to work together and super-serve key segments by meeting unmet needs in ways that exceed expectations.”
The Customer Experience Will Drive Change
At the core of this change will be understanding how uniquely changes customer experiences. Just like my auto buying experience, brands have to transcend physical to online and back again across many diverse media.
What does this mean from the customer experience standpoint? Greg added some more insights:
“I assume this is a trick question, since any effective marketing strategist must always view the landscape through the lens of customer experience. But in terms of what we can expect as consumers, I think we can expect hyper-personalization of products, services and experiences; solutions that learn through behavior and evolve to better suit our needs; a truly channel- and platform-agnostic approach to the way brands engage and serve customers across all online and offline touch points; and a marked increase in a pattern wherein people realize exponentially more value from brands when they choose to become or remain loyal to those brands across a fuller range of products, services and experiences.
“Consider the functionally integrated Apple ecosystem today: As a consumer, you capture more value from usage of multiple devices and services – say, your Macbook Pro, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, iCloud plus Apple TV – than just the simple combination of hardware and software might imply. In the very near future, we’ll see this dynamic play out not only from early innovators like Apple and Google and Nike, but from just about every corporation we reward with our business to matter how mundane their products or services.
“On paper this may sound like brands will finally deliver on a promise of exactly what I want, when and where I want it. But of course it won’t all be upside. We may not want corporations to know us quite that well, and if present day Big Data or even just constantly changing Facebook controls raise concerns, privacy watch dogs will have a field day when literally everything has the ability to capture, transmit, and even crunch data about us and our behaviors.”
What do you think?