In 1998, William C. Taylor, founder of the business magazine, “The Fast Company,” shared: “Seth Godin and his colleagues are working to persuade some of the most powerful companies in the world to reinvent how they relate to their customers. His argument is as stark as it is radical: Advertising just doesn’t work as well as it used to — in part because there’s so much of it, in part because people have learned to ignore it, in part because the rise of the Net means that companies can go beyond it.”
Have you ever shopped online and wished that you could physically see or feel an item? Have you ever shopped at a store and wished that the associate could understand precisely what you wanted? Companies are now moving in a direction in which both of these needs, and more, could be met. Businesses need the combination of digital and physical marketing to thrive in today’s competitive market. It is for this reason that the convergence of bricks and mortar into digital is one of the most significant marketing trends today. This integration of offline (bricks) and online (clicks) is referred to as “click and mortar.”
The overall idea of the trend is to track consumer habits more closely to provide companies with information, and eventually sales, on products that behavioral data suggests an individual would want to buy. The marketing trend benefits firms while also enhancing a consumer’s overall retail experience. Improving the consumer experience helps a company to establish a positive brand image in a competitive market.
A friend of mine is working in the marketing department of a medium sized B2B industrial company. The latter has just over 300 employees and operates on a large network of distributors throughout the world. The business is quite flourishing. But things can change. In fact, things are changing very fast today. My friend believes he should board on the digital marketing wave, to increase his company’s visibility on the web: in other words, he wants to develop a strategic presence on social networks. The problem is that he is not really familiar with all the digital concepts. So, he turned to me and asked me for advice.
This lead to a long reflection with him about what digital marketing really is and especially what the benefits can be for him and his business. It is important to understand digital before rushing into it prematurely. Finally, I quickly described to him the different steps that are essential to the success of his “digital marketing” project.
Digital Marketing and B2B: the two make a pair!
Digital marketing is first a matter of trend. To be competitive and innovative it is necessary to stay in the race, and therefore follow the flow.
But digital marketing goes well beyond a simple trend. It has real advantages in B2B.
What are the advantages of digital marketing in B2B
Multi-channel: By using multiple channels, digital marketing offers many opportunities (complementary to traditional marketing) and allows users / companies to act at all levels of the purchasing process
Cost-efficiency: Digital marketing is less costly than “traditional” marketing; indeed “…Even stalwarttraditional marketers know that they cannot compete the Internet’s potential to reach thousands with just a single post”. Printing and shipment costs are not taken into account in digital, this is the advantage of CPC (you pay only when click). Read more →
Content brands vs branded content: the concept appealed to me. The iMediaBrand Summit opened with a very exciting keynote this morning in Biarritz in the South West of France. Andrew Davis(picture below) taught us not to focus on branded content anymore, and build content brands instead. Sound advice.
Let’s build content brands not branded content
We are swimming in data, linkedin, data base, Big data , data you wish you had some you didn’t. But marketers are withdrawing nice insights from very small data Andrew Davis told us today. Yet the marketing pie isn’t getting any bigger. The CMO pizza is shared among a growing number of things for we have, over the years, added so many things, we are overwhelmed.
We have added websites, and SEO and promotions and advertising and then we have had social media, so all budget ended up being sliced up but the marketing budget isn’t getting any bigger. “So what is the ROI for this?” Andrew asked. We need to be able to measure it.
We have CPC, CPM and CPA etc. but what we have at the end of the day is a very shallow understanding of our marketing actions and their impact. What we need, according to Andrew is a new way of looking at the world.
And I liked very much what he said about how marketers should look at the world.
Marketers should look at the world in a different manner
We look for intelligent insights which shape our marketing initiatives but to do that we have to challenge the basics of marketing understanding.
Like the funnel for instance. The funnel was invented in 1898 by St Elmo Lewis (above). Lewis didn’t draw a funnel though, he drew a scale. A lot has changed since then but much of what we so is still based on this 1898 knowledge though.
Let’s rethink the funnel
To this end we need a new world view. The old world view is Ptolemy’s, Andrew said, whereby we were the centre of the universe. The way we brought people to our websites was like this but we need to adopt a Galilean view of the universe now. “We are just a small planet revolving around the Sun” Andrew Davis said. It’s hard to swallow for marketers to understand they aren’t the most valuable thing in the world though. Google has become central to people’s world today and our Websites has become lost in the middle of nowhere. As a result, the insights aren’t going to come from us but from the embracing of a Galilean model, from “acting as a customer” he added.
As a result, marketers should “stop asking themselves the wrong questions. This is why we have to rethink the customer journey.
4 visions of innovation with Censhare’s Dieter Reichert
Innovation is on everyone’s lips except that what we see is hardly what we get. For innovation is, primarily, a matter of vision. Technology is nice and it travels fast, but what is it to us who can understand so little about it? It’s as if we, modern day Frankensteins, had invented new creatures and as they come to life, we barely understand what is going on. As the frightful Swiss in awe with his newborn wretch, we run around like headless chickens, trying to embrace these new technological objects of ours or merely trying to survive them. What if the answer were in the hands of the Indians of an obscure tribe in a Mexican desert? I tried to find out while interviewing Dieter Reichert, CEO and founder of Censhare, a worldwide software house set to redesign the way we handle information. And God knows there is a dire need for this.
Dieter came to visit me some time ago. We had decided I would interview him about software and we came to talk about his background and experience. Talking with entrepreneurs is always a fascinating experience. One gets to understand how they innovate, how they lead their business in their daily lives, how they overcome whatever obstacles they encounter. This is a very worthwhile experience, especially when you are are yourself an entrepreneur. Talking to Dieter for a few minutes, I realised that our interview would be on a totally different level. His was not the experience of an average businessman, but a real journey through life, deeply rooted in experiments. Well, all kinds of experiments, so to speak.
Vision of innovation 1: don’t do what’s expected of you
Dieter started in a way that wouldn’t appeal to most Parents, by flunking school at the age of 18. He wasn’t “cut out for that”, he admitted. By “that”, he meant reading books, and learning with a teacher locked up in a schoolroom. He was one for larger spaces, he fled to India. There he learned Yoga, then became a teacher and eventually, got bored, because “not much happens in India” he said. Not one for contemplation, Dieter, but much of a rolling stone.
He left India soon after that to live among Mexican tribespeople. Columbus had mistaken them for Indians and named them after others, Dieter went on to live with them. He liked it a lot. In actual fact, living with them shaped his vision of life and innovation. His vision of time and understanding the cosmos. He thinks he can understand innovation better than us because of this. This is a life-shaping experience, not just any kind of experience.
So here went Dieter, from adventure to venture, from the Mexican Indians to the creation of an events organisation setting up symposiums with the Dalai Lama and other celebs, then to the creation of a drugs rehab centre, all the time working with and for Apple. Meditation being the link between these things, most probably. “Think different” is certainly a motto that Dieter could live with. For he is a very different kind of person.
Vision of innovation 2: one day, computers will be less dumb
I liked his views on IT too. It’s true that computers aren’t that smart. This is an understatement. The more we are sold new versions of AI and self-driving cars, the more we have to reboot our machines, circumvent bugs and even live without the features one used to enjoy (where has the old Phatware ICR – intelligent character recognition – feature in our year 2000 PDAs gone?) They are just miniaturised versions of their bulky elders, even though we have gone quite a long way from the prehistory of IT, I readily admit.
Yet, exactly 26 years ago to the day, I was tip tapping away on a computer just like the one I have now in front of me. It’s true I was one of the happy few to be equipped with a laptop computer, its battery life was not going beyond 1 hour and a half and it was black and white (two years later I pawned it in exchange for a brand new colour Zenith PC). Having said that, it was a PC nonetheless, with an older but reasonably functional version of Office by Microsoft. Not much less powerful than the ones we have now and certainly less bug-ridden.