These three trends are wide and deep; so putting them into one blog post is like explaining that a monsoon is a really big rain storm. But in the spirit of pithiness and simplicity, here they are:
- Social Business: In essence, brands now need to assume that every audience (customer, employees, shareholders, etc) has ADD and a smart device. Further, social business means shifting from linear, one-direction marketing and branding to a more spherical, conversation-based approach. This is what myself and others are calling The Fishbowl. Just like any relationship, audiences want be heard, be validated and be contacted on their terms. Finally, social business means that there are really only two pools of audiences left: the connected and the disconnected. The connected have devices, are on social media, have short term memories about advertising and long-term memories about experiences. The disconnected read the newspaper, watch the evening news, are less active on social media, have flip phones, etc. They are much easier to reach via advertising but are also rapidly shrinking group.
- Big Data: The holy grail of data used to be the 18 – 35 demographic. Now, traditional demographics are largely fragmented into thousands of smaller groups that are more recognizable by their psychographic profile than their age, race, geographic location, etc. Sure, there are predictable larger groups like hipsters, Republicans and the elderly – but even those groups are fragmented. So now the emphasis is much more on ndividualized data – which is the most difficult to capture and measure. Brands are paying huge dollars to understand that an individual person’s opinions, buying habits, etc. This is why SalesForce just bought ExactTarget for $2.5 billion. That’s also the reason they didn’t buy a media ratings company.
- BYOD: The Bring Your Own Device trend ties together Social Business and Big Data. A smart device is now the primary point of engagement for most consumers and employees. From these devices, they raise up or tear down brands. They are the great equilizer of the puffery of advertising. They are the truth check to a brand’s PR spin. Smart devices are the on-boarding point for learning, consuming content, starting conversations, deepening relationships and more. BYOD means that humans have access to three critical decision-making points: 1) Immediacy: buying/talking/consuming RIGHT NOW 2) Information: access to lots of it and 3) Influence: their influence and their ability to connect with other influencers.
I would encourage every brand from personal brands to large brands to all points in between to re-examine their marketing strategies, communication plans, internal cultures, etc in light of the above. Once examined, here are three questions to answer:
- Which of your competitors are doing the above better than you?
- What do you need to change right now?
- How will your brand look and behave differently if you view these as opportunities?
By the way, our start-up SlideKlowd exists because of these three trends. Check it out.