When I read about or watch an online video on technology, it’s usually under the auspices of a company such as Cisco or IBM. One such subject is “The Internet of Things,” about devices that can transmit data across the Web — autonomic systems that enable devices to ‘talk’ to each other. For example, one can enhance the user experience of a transport system whereby the actual time of arrival of a bus to a specific stop is transmitted to the rider in advance.
This wasn’t just any advertising conference. It was a clear call to action to marketers, brand and advertising managers, creative leads, public relations and media professionals.
The agenda read like a conference on technology futures: Wikibrands, gamification, ZMOT [Zero Moment of Truth], SoLoMo [Social Local Mobile], F-commerce, iOS and Isis. I knew Isis as the ancient Greek goddess worshiped as the ideal mother, not as a mobile payment system or a mobile wallet, a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. iOS? Well, that’s Apple’s mobile operating system. If you prefer, it’s computer software.
So what’s really going on here? Are various business disciplines merging together? Is this the rise of something one might call Marketing Technology, where the CMO and CIO work together to drive their company’s advertising and branding efforts? Is this about developing real time media plans and defining both the optimal media and mobile technology mix?
Consider the following sound bites from the slate of world-class speakers:
Kurt Karlenzig and Michael Oliver, The Marketing Store Worldwide: “Products, services and campaigns are being brought together in the mobile environment – the key is choosing the technology mix…”
Charly Pall, Google Canada: “ZMOT – 86% of Canadian consumers research product online pre-purchase… this is where competition for digital shelf space is taking place…”
Gian Fulgoni, comScore: “Cookies are not people…clicks are a small and declining segment of internet users…”
Paul Price, Creative Realities: “Throw away your marketing plan…think technographics not demographics.”
Steve Rubel, Edelman: “In this Web era of validation, it’s time to integrate messages across all media…traditional, owned, hybrid, & social…”
The main takeaway of the conference was that it’s time to re-tool the marketing mix. For example, P&G coined the term FMOT [First Moment of Truth] in 2005, this was when 3-7 seconds to make a buying decision in-store mattered. Managing the ZMOT in the age of pre-purchase decision-making on the internet has become a new critical success factor.
As Sean Moffitt of Wikibrands advocated, put aside the 6Ps, it’s time to think of the 13Es — experience, entertainment, exchange, etc. — the new brand levers of the 21st century. This sentiment was echoed by Paul Price in similarly advocating a 21C customer experience model involving storytelling and platforms.
The digital era is the new Opt-In era. Consumers choose their own media in which to engage with a brand. Consumers are also very savvy when it comes to technology as they practice cross-platform consumption using a broad array of devices, from laptops to tablets and smart phones. Consumers do three main things: browse, access and download content. They also transact.
The digital age is about the speed of change and having real-time media plans, metrics and methods to keep in step with the consumer’s dreams. This is also about consumers taking control of and changing the conventional view of their purchase process as they actively research your and your competition’s brands on the internet and get results at the speed of light.
Make no mistake, you can still control your brand, but now you have to take on a new set of skills, design new processes and make new investments that will keep you in step with our technological society and fulfill consumers’ dreams. This Opt-In era for consumers implies zero-option for advertisers to embrace marketing technologies and provide digital experiences that drive engagement.
As someone once said to me, “The customer is saying: if you don’t build me a process, I will do it myself. Either way, I will be the one who decides whether or not you and your brand get an invite to my party.”