Living in the future - Networx's end of year event
Friday 27th November 2015 04:21pm
By Matt Ryan, Andzen
The end of the year is always a time ripe for reflection - what did you do this year that soared and what will you do next year to surpass those achievements? Where did you miss the mark and how will you learn from those mistakes? With that in mind, our panellists turned their attention to the future of marketing, and how we as marketers might prepare for its arrival. The future always seems daunting until you are living it; but as we learned, so many of the lessons of the future lie in the experiences of the past.
While technology enables us to communicate with people in new ways, so often we are fixated on the “how” at the expense of the “who” and the “why”. If your customer isn’t at the centre of your concept, your copy and your execution, you’ve focused too much on what you’re trying to achieve over the person you’re trying to interact with. Your customer is buying your product, consuming your content and teaching you about your service and without them and their experiences at the centre of your planning, you won’t engage them.
Data is meaningless without emotion
By now most consumers have come to terms with the fact that to a company we are each a row and some columns in a database. The problem is that as marketers who spend so much time focusing on the data, we are starting to think of our customers as exactly that - rows and columns in our database. We are forgetting the whole function of marketing - to connect with people. Yes, the endless amount of data we now have access to is incredibly powerful, but only when paired with real, emotive messaging that puts meaning to those data points.
The way companies interact with us should demonstrate that they’re as invested in us emotionally as they are financially. You can’t advocate or evangelise a company that doesn’t understand you. For all the power of big data and the potential for technology to make marketing easier, people are still people and won’t respond positively to the cold impersonal manipulation of data.
Plan for mobile first
Every year we are confronted with stats that tell us the same story - mobile usage is on the rise. Consumers are being conditioned to expect a seamless experience on the devices they are using and this experience should be your prime consideration. Our positive experiences with mobile technology only reinforce the unease we feel when we have a negative mobile experience. Keep your focus on the lives of your customers and how your product or service fits in (if at all) with their mobile usage.
The corner store vs the commercial giant
As modern consumers we expect to have the same experience with our corner store as we do with a large national company. One of the great aspects of digital marketing is that so many of the channels we use to communicate with our audiences are democratic in their accessibility and we should study the ways in which our competitors and global leaders are using technology to truly engage.
Any consideration of the future of digital has to involve emerging platforms and communication styles. To that end, my colleague Chris Strutt’s steady hands broadcast the evening’s proceedings on Periscope and will continue to do so at Networx next year. Personal mobile streaming has allowed people to create spontaneous opportunities for shared experiences and the Networx community has been tremendous in their support of this channel. If you’re out of town or unable to attend Networx in person, follow our team on Twitter at @socialandzen to tune into the next event.
End of an era
The last Networx of the year also allowed us to thank the amazing Cat Matson for her dedication as panel chair, and her passion and inquisitiveness were in full flight in her final session. She leaves significant shoes to fill and a lasting mark on Brisbane’s close-knit marketing community. Thanks for the memories Cat!