Sharon Salzberg’s quote about life being like a kaleidoscope can aptly be applied to marketing and business operations. One slight shift, and everything changes.
Over of the last 10+ years, the methods in which marketing communications are sent and received have changed. These changes are having a dramatic impact on the way businesses and organizations are assembled, managed, communicated, and grown.
Are you ready to be a 21st Century Business?
Always On The Go:
As if you didn’t get the memo, mobile is huge! The devices in our pockets we call smartphones are more powerful today than most computers were just a few years ago. They also have faster connectivity to the Internet than wired devices of the same time. People today want to be able to take everything with them – or at least have access to it wherever and whenever they want.
Social media and mobility demand that content be available in their format and timeframe. I think it is a bold statement for Instagram to only have posting features available on their mobile app – not through a wired device. The manipulation of photos, videos, and graphics must be done in the moment. They are not perfect; nor are they approved by 15 different people before they are broadcast. This increases their authenticity and interest.
This marks one of the biggest shifts away from ‘traditional media’ like print, TV, and radio. We are mobile and have neither time nor patience for such interruptions. There are people to see, places to go, and experiences to have. If you can figure out how to help us, we will take you with us.
With this hyper-connectivity, there is more data available than we are ready to consider. I’m not talking about the BIG-DATA info that is available for the right price. I am referring to the information that people give willingly and trustingly. Their preferences and feedback are worth more than gold when used properly. If you ask for a birthday, send a birthday greeting every year – and change the message every year at minimum.
Use the information you have as ways to build connections with people rather than an excuse to offer a promotion. To the extent we connect and share genuine human moments; people will share more, purchase more, and introduce us to their friends with encouragement to buy.
Because we are constantly surrounded and bombarded by marketing communications, we are really good at ignoring them. Even when it is recognized, it is likely forgotten within nano-seconds.
Insatiable Need For Information:
We crave information so much that there is a highly recognized condition called FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It paralyzes some people and forbids them to step away from their screens. For the majority of us though, this craving of information helps us make better decisions. Savvy organizations who take the time to understand the habits of their customers and fans will shift the flow of information to speed or increase purchase transactions. Amazon was one of the primary innovators and still does a fantastic job of helping us buy stuff (regardless of whether or not we need it).
Information is not just about the marketing you produce and make available. People want to know product specs, comparisons to top competitors, honest customer feedback, employee feedback, past employee feedback, behaviors of CxOs and members of Board of Directors, how financing is being leveraged, and social power/influence.
Marketing in the 21st Century will continue this trend for many years while it will be constantly refined. Marketing departments should be developing ways to use peer networks and informal channels as this is where the true power is. Operationally, organizations that strive towards transparency will be far better-off than those that don’t. Focusing on global improvement goals or social components is another way to gain more support – as long as it is authentic and relevant to the organization.