One of the highlights of SXSW Interactive this year was Dr. Shaquille O’Neal (did you know he had a doctorate degree?). He joined me on stage at the Long Center for Performing Arts to a theater packed with adoring fans. Before we took the stage, we spent some time to shoot a special episode of Revolution.
Do more with less! Sound familiar? This is a statement I hear in almost every strategy and planning meeting I attend on behalf of enterprise and startup clients alike. The idea of course is to accomplish great feats, beyond the output or achievements of years gone by, without the previous resources exploited over time.
Today’s leading companies are already becoming obsolete. Fortunately or unfortunately, they won’t know until it’s too late. In 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 was replaced. Irrelevance is only accelerating. It’s Digital Darwinism out here. #AdaptorDie!
Ignorance is bliss, until it’s not.
Technology…social, mobile, real-time, it’s changing the world. Customers are evolving into something new. They’re more connected, empowered, and demanding.
In a post Occupy world, organizations everywhere should contemplate the themes that flooded the undercurrent of one of the greatest consumer uprisings in recent history. Even though some minimize the rise of Occupy as a rebellion without a cause, I believe there’s much to learn from these events to prevent them from happening again…or at least to you.
For years I’ve written about how the 4 Ps of Marketing, Product, Place, Pricing, and Promotion represented a dated perspective of customers and markets. In an era of connected consumerism, one could argue the merits of any of “Ps” and whether or not they’re still relevant. I suppose that’s a debate for another time. Instead, I’d like to introduce of two additional Ps that will propel a decades old concept and modernize it for a social economy.
Social media experts will tell you, and they’ll make a pretty good case too, that it is the golden key to unlocking meaningful customer relationships and the gateway to surprising and delighting them over time. So how does social media do this? Well all it takes is to listen, be part of the conversation, curate great content, run native advertisements, and oh yeah, be transparent and authentic. Done and done.
The Millennial or Generation Y has the world abuzz. This generation is not only changing how businesses sell and what they sell, they’re also changing how businesses work. Millennials are indeed the first truly digital generation but they’re aren’t the only group with digital DNA. Generation Y, those that follow X and Generation Z behind them are rising fast. They too see the world differently and already represent a significant economic force in the world. In the United States, Generation Z is said to control up to $30 billion in spending. They’re connected. They’re informed. And, they’re practically immune to traditional sales and marketing programs established to serve the generations before them.
Every day, an increasing number of connected consumers are taking to social networks to ask for help or express sentiment related to business or product related experiences; some do so to seek resolution from their peers, others broadcast questions or comments as a form of catharsis; and a smaller group of consumers actually hope to receive a response directly from the company. The reality is that social media is the new normal. A myriad of social networks, whether you use them or not, are now part of the day-to-day digital lifestyle with Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Youtube among others becoming the places where your customers connect, communicate, and engage around experiences. They take to these social networks and more because they can. The question is, what are you going to do about it?
One of the key challenges in the social business/conversation world is: how can companies honestly be customer-oriented. In my research, I learned that four pillars help companies to move forward in this challenge. These four dimensions are: Customer experience, Conversation management, Content marketing and Collaboration with clients.
Customer Experience: people love to talk about your service and your products. It is the key driver of consumer conversations.
As you’ll no doubt read here over and over again, social media is important to your business. If you don’t engage on Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube, you’ll eventually go out of business. At least that’s what the experts will have you believe. Fear tactics are not so much as effective in business or defining customer relationships as they are at creating a sense of [contrived] controversy. I must be honest with you however. While social media is indeed a game changer, it is not the magnum opus of your legacy. I would like to introduce you to what really is important…your customers. Allow me to be a bit more specific. This isn’t just about your customers. This is about how a growing number of your customers are changing how they influence and are influenced, how they communicate and connect, how they learn, discover and share, how they make decisions and how they take action.
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.