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The forgotten art of conversation

The forgotten art of conversation

There are fundamental shifts taking place in the world we live in across Geos, Consumers, Business and Marketing. And the underlying driver of this change is the rapid rate of technological innovation. Technology is empowering people, driving economic growth, turning existing business models upside down, whilst giving birth to new ones and categorically redefining how we think about Marketing in the Digital Age. The Consumer is King and Marketing in the Digital Age is a whole new ball game.

And let me repeat myself, it’s about how we market in the digital age and not about digital marketing. Technology is now enabling marketers to do more than just create digital ads. It’s allowing marketers to engage consumers through more immersive advertising, to drive richer experiences which connect the offline world to the online world and more importantly, it’s allowing marketers to customise their messages for the masses, and enabling them to execute based on more accurate targeting across both demographics and behaviours. Performance driven marketing that allows marketers to put a science to an art.

Consumers have changed. They have been empowered with the evolution of technology as organisations rapidly lose control of their brand. The democratisation of the brand has been enabled by the rapid innovation of technology that’s given birth to various new technologies that we’ve seen. Its empowered consumers who now have a bigger voice than before, who are not afraid to voice their yays and nays and do so whilst retaining their anonymity. To make matters worse – consumers trust the word of other consumers more than they trust brand advertising. That’s pretty scary and makes the marketer’s job really challenging.

So, a real dilemma faces marketers today. They are forced to rethink how they engage with consumers across not just one screen (TV in the past) but multiple screens – across the TV, the Phone, the PC and other mobile devices. The traditional marketing funnel has been turned upside down. Consumers are all over the place presenting their views and opinions. Traditional research is too slow and doesn’t allow organisations to respond swiftly. Their attention span is low, they are inundated with a lot of information and they don’t want to be talked at. They want a dialogue – they want us brands to communicate with them. And that’s how marketing is evolving - from Communications to Conversations.

So how do you have a conversation with your consumer? How should you be thinking about your marketing strategy in the digital age? Does Social Media solve all your problems or does it create new ones for you? How do you drive a richer and more immersive experience for the consumer? What role does content play in the overall strategy? Should I do this all on my own? Who should I partner with to be successful? What aspects of technology should I own and what should I outsource? How do I gain dynamic Insights that I can translate to Engagement strategies that I can than put in place Acquisition activities that I can than connect with my Campaigns to eventually ensure all these aspects of marketing allow me to drive Advocacy? These are questions that every marketer needs to ask. Finding the right partner to help you think through and connect the dots across all these aspects are critical. Social Media, today’s buzz, is a feature and not a destination and definitely not the solution to the marketer’s dilemma. Great content, immersive experiences, engaging authentic conversations across multiple screens which links the offline and online world will be key ingredients for success.

Things are changing fast and will continue to do so. The way we interact with technology day by day will become more natural. Proof is in the pudding when you see Kinect become the fastest selling consumer device, making it to the Guinness Book of Records selling 8 million units in 2 months. Just as technology is rapidly changing, so are consumers. We need to communicate with them. Our brands are in the hands of the consumers. And technology is an enabler for us to leverage and transform the way we market and stay relevant. We need to allow our brands to reside in the realm of consumer culture where we can drive inspiring conversations and engage with our consumers beyond the category of where our products sit. Brands that succeed will be those that inspire and lead in the Digital Age and not those who purely compete. All said, the old and the new must co-exist, more often than not. Marketing in the Digital Age is not for the faint hearted. Get ready to reinvent and stay relevant, everyday.

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