The aeroplane, nuclear power, cars, submarines, television, the personal computer and… the Internet – just a few of the 20th Century’s most important inventions.
Impressive feats of human creativity by any measure – so what about the remaining 80 years of the 21st Century?
In his 2001 essay The Law of Accelerating Returns, inventor, futurist and Google’s Director of Engineering, Ray Kurzweil predicted: “100 years of progress in the 21st century…will be more like 20,000 years of progress.”
At the beginning of the 21st century, Kurzweil observed more than 32 doublings of performance in computers since World War II. The nature of exponential growth, he continues, is such that technological trends are not noticed as small levels of technological power are doubled. Then in a watershed moment and seemingly out of nowhere, technology erupts into view.
He found the acceleration in fields ranging from electronic to biological technologies.
There wasn’t just simple exponential growth either, but “double” exponential growth – meaning that the rate of exponential growth is itself growing exponentially!
Automation is part of the suite of technological change and it’s a hot topic in marketing and business. It threatens to make large sections of the workforce redundant while for business owners it promises an opportunity to get time back to grow business rather than working in it.
The outlay on automation is also growing. As Digital Marketers we’re used to keeping abreast of the next shiny object to capture leads, measure its success and the latest platform algorithm update. To this end, an estimated $25 Billion will be spent on marketing automation by 2023. Furthermore, if given extra budget, 32% of marketers would spend it preferentially on the information derived from artificial intelligence (AI) in these platforms.
Modern-day predictive analytics leverages insights obtained from the diverse confluence of statistics, AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data mining. Combined, these tools are delivering exponential change much like electricity did 100 years ago.
Machine learning algorithms are already anticipating our needs. The end-user experience is guilty of treading boundaries between intent and intrusion, although it’s intended to remove friction and make customers’ lives easier. We now see ads about the things we just said or talked about, (be careful what you say in front of your phone or smart speaker!)
Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law
Moore’s Law refers to its founder’s observation that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years, though the cost of computers is halved. We see this when the speed and capability of computers increase every couple of years and we pay less, (except for Apple products), for the improved performance.
The internet is a perfect example. Smart device users have been able to connect to a growing network with rapidly improving bandwidth and falling prices. For more than half of the world’s population, the value has risen to a point where it’s an expected part of their home and business environment.
For good, (Kiva) and bad, (@realDonaldTrump,) the result is an unbridled network of processing power and the creation of a truly global village.
The Law’s in Action
Put into perspective, the CPU and RAM for the guidance system for the Apollo moon landing, (2MHz and 4GB RAM) had roughly the same power as 2 Nintendo systems today, (1.8MHz and 2GB RAM.)
FLOPS, (Floating Operations Per Second), a useful comparison of computer performance, has undergone a 1 Trillion-fold increase in processing power in the 60 years until 2015.
Supercomputing continues to hit new milestones. The next milestone will be exascale computing, capable of a million trillion calculations a second!
26 billion devices are connected to the internet. This number will grow to 75 billion, (10 per person), in 2025 as the Internet of Things, (IoT), too, is poised for exponential growth. IoT is an affordable way to put a microprocessor in everyone’s pocket and inside everything.
In his book, Future Smart, author James Canton believes IoT will be “the bridge between the digital world of electronics and the physical world. The convergence of emerging technologies – automation, AI, machine learning, Big Data, wireless systems, nanotech and quantum chips, will…blast through the limitations of Moore’s Law…[and]…give us massively powerful supercomputers that live on the tip of a pin but have the power and intelligence to run a city or a planet.”
Consumers have increasingly high expectations of the brands they do business with. A great Digital Marketer will ensure that all touchpoints meet these lofty customer expectations.
They’ll employ an integration strategy involving SEO, retargeting, lead generation, social media, and content marketing, leveraging exponential technological change and the exploding growth in human interconnectivity.
People are still the greatest asset
This is not about the newest trends in technology, though. A shameless technophile, it may appear counterintuitive for me to suggest advocating a people-first approach in business. Despite all the trappings of tech, one thing we should never lose is our humanity. Group culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet…It’s the x-factor inside of successful businesses and elite sports teams.
One Harvard study over 11 years and 200 companies showed a strong culture increases net income by 756%. How we collaborate, view new ideas, join and build communities and establish relationships within a workplace is a key driver of success.
In his 2017 book The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle encourages looking for connection behaviours in your organisation. These include “proximity, eye contact, energy, mimicry, turn-taking, attention and lack of hierarchies where everyone talks to everyone else. All these ask the question: Are we safe? What’s our future with these people?”
The importance of team cohesion was illustrated in the 2006 study, The Firm Specificity of Individual Performance: Evidence from Cardiac Surgery, by authors R. S. Huckman & G. P. Pisano. It followed 38,577 procedures performed by 203 cardiac surgeons at 43 different hospitals. They found when a surgeon worked with specific surgical team members at a particular hospital, patient mortality decreased for that procedure by 1%… but stayed the same at other hospitals where they performed the same procedure. The surgeons had seemingly reached the limit of their surgical abilities – the only thing that contributed to better patient outcomes was the smooth machinations of a team dynamic.
Watching people stare into smart devices endlessly makes it seem we’re losing our abilities to make the personal connections necessary for effective team building. On the contrary, technological upheaval makes it easier to share and use information, organise business, make decisions, and maintain relationships with each other. In The Social Organism, Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey commented that it’s “changed the way ideas are generated, iterated and reconceived and how culture takes shape. It reshapes what it means to be human.”
Television, (Netflix), newspapers, (Facebook), taxis, (Uber) and hotels, (Airbnb), have already experienced major disruption. The glaring impact of climate change will accelerate electric vehicle adoption. Banks will feel immense pressure from micro-financing startups. Large scale healthcare organisations will need to rethink their business models as medicine shifts from curative to preventative models.
In their book Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster and cheaper than yours, Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone and Yuri van Geest tell us to prepare for this kind of disruption in all industries to continue – anything predictable is, or will be, automated by AI or robots. We’re moving to a world where everything can be measured, (IoT) and anything can be knowable, (information and algorithms.) Fortunately, they continue, this will relieve humans of the mundane and free us to be creative and innovative in our jobs.
There is no denying technology is changing us. Let’s hope this new creative and innovative workplace though can be an example of the accountability, purpose, sustainability and connectedness that make us human. The effects of exponential change on the way we live will be here very soon!
Getting the most and paying the least for it, is a top priority for them.
With so much information available to digital consumers, SMART companies leverage psychological persuasion as part of the engagement and conversion strategy.
Neuromarketing describesthemix of traditional and modern methods used to exploit the irrational decisions we all make when purchasing. It leverages colour perception, the human desire to fit in, snag a bargain and avoid loss.
Consider implementing the following tactics to get the most from your digital marketing spend, today.
Think about the last time someone did something kind for you. You thought immediately about returning the favour – that’s reciprocity.
It began when Caveman A fashioned the tools that allowed Caveman B to hunt Dilongs. Cavewoman C maintained the fire that allowed them to cook the meat. Cavewoman D knew which berries made a palatable, non-poisonous accompaniment.
The first experts and co-operative societies were created!
How to Implement Reciprocity
Reciprocity is known to be a powerful sales motivator. Last time you received a free sample of food, it was accompanied by directions as to where you could purchase the full product.
The free sample gesture was an attempt to begin the reciprocity cycle where you return the favour with a purchase.
Free and trial versions of software are made available hoping to achieve a sale in the future.
Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful referral engines. Delivering exceptional service triggers referrals naturally, but don’t be shy about asking existing your customers for new leads.
You can incentivise the referral with a future discount or cash back for the referer. This increases the lifetime value of the existing customer and continues the reciprocity cycle.
The father of advertising, David Ogilvy, stated, “What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.”
Certain motivating words have been used in marketing for decades now – the simple reason is they work!
Some like “Exclusive Offer” and “Limited Availability” appeal to our FOMO. Cialdini called this kind of persuasion, The Scarcity Principle. People place greater value on objects when they are framed around exclusivity and scarcity.
“Free Trial Period,” “Guaranteed” and “No Obligation” help allay consumer fears of being ripped off.
How to Implement Power Words
Your business needs to develop and articulate its unique selling proposition. A Digital Business Consultant can help with this and the power words to use in your marketing copy.
Consider running limited time offers.
Use countdown timers to add urgency to discounts or special offers.
Offer a free, no-obligation trial period and present the offering as a gift to invoke reciprocity.
Such is the apathy that occurs when we offer our clients too many choices. When it comes to offering choices, the sweet spot seems to be 3 to 6.
Those yellow discounted price tags in the same
aisle are an exception. They immediately appeal
to my visual importance with their percentage-off
Avoiding choice overload is beneficial to the business as well. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, your Digital Business Consultant will help you develop your ideal buyer personas. These are the fictional representations of the group of customers you should aggressively target.
Rationalising products or services will narrow your focus and avoid wasted marketing efforts on people who will never purchase from you. You also become an expert when you own the niche!
How to Avoid Choice Overload
In the discovery phase of the buyer’s journey, avoid complicated pricing and feature offerings.
Use pricing tables to present features in an interesting manner. Position a particular offering that will serve your customers needs the best and maximise the return to your business.
Concentrate marketing efforts around portraying yourself as an expert. This informative kind of marketing is received better than a hard sell. Ogilvy also said, “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”
Get help to ensure your business presents a contemporary presence. Deliver design consistency across your website and social media profiles. People hate confusion and mixed messaging. Failing to deliver on brand consistency will make you look disorganised and unreliable.
Keep your website design fresh and on trend with new content in a blog format. Google loves new material.
Develop a long-lasting relationship with your Digital Business Consultant. Take them up on digital maintenance plans. They’ll be more willing to do minor FOC modifications and offer future discounts to clients with whom they have a long-term relationship.
Conduct regular audits of your social reach strategies. Be prepared to ditch poorly performing platforms and be open to emerging ones and new integrations. Just don’t put all your efforts into the one digital channel. Your competitors may swoop into that space and steal the search rankings you’ve worked hard to achieve.
Acting in a way in which the majority of others behave, is a protective mechanism. It establishes social norms and helps us fit-in.
80% of people believe testimonials they read on a website. Social proof in the form of testimonials protects us from loss.
If you deliver consistent, exceptional service, a constant supply of positive reviews will be your greatest asset. Keep updating these reviews to reflect innovation or diversification in your business – that’s an expertthing as well.
Monitor and respond to positive and negative reviews on your Google+ page. Keep the reciprocity cycle turning with a message of thanks for positive reviews. A throwback to an earlier time would be to send a handwritten message in the mail. This is much more personal than a DM!
How to Use Social Proof
You don’t have to dedicate 10 web pages to testimonials. Choice overload suggests 2 to 6 testimonials will suffice.
We’re all attracted to shiny objects. If you’re a member of a professional society, eg CPA or Master Builder, make sure to display these affiliations on your site.
Maybe you’ve won “Best in Class” industry awards – show them off.
Personalisation is about delivering relevant and timely marketing messaging to your customers. It can aid their understanding, make it easier for them to do something or provide value.
The cloud computing power of Customer Relationship Management software like Salesforce and Pipedrive, make omnichannel customer engagement a breeze. Automation features deliver appropriate messaging based on where the customer sits in your sales funnel.
A customer downloads the retailer’s mobile app and opts in. The business then knows a customer’s location at any given time. Push notifications are sent to that customer promoting products when they are within a certain range or instore.
Digital loyalty cards, personalized offers, and speedy checkouts are just a few of the other offerings available with this technology. Financial barriers to entry are tumbling so this is a viable option for smaller business now as well.
ECommerce personalises visitors experience by displaying suggestions based on purchase history.
Youtube and Netflix use your history to make suggestions.
How to Implement Personalisation
As part of a total digital solution, your Digital Business Consultant can data mine important insights about your customers’ behaviour. Your existing CRM, pixel tracking, and analytics plugins are just some of the tools they’ll use.
Consider investing in an email campaign and drip feed ongoing, relevant knowledge to those who opt-in. You maintain brand awareness when they hear from you regularly as well.
8. “Use Video”
Consumption of video content is exploding. The stats speak for themselves.
95% of people will watch an explainer video to learn more about you if you provide one.
81% of people will be convinced to buy from you after watching that video.
How to Use Video:
Write a script
Create a Youtube channel
Grab your phone
A 30-second introduction video to your business is better than no video at all!
Google owns Youtube and gives it preference in search engine rankings
Make video an ongoing part of your digital strategy
9. “Use The Reject-Then-Retreat Method”
A sales rep recently gave me a quote of $17,000 for a Tesla Powerwall. While I admire Elon Musk for his innovation and entrepreneurship, I don’t admire him that much!
He immediately retreated to a less featured, $8500 solution when I told him $17,000 was not an option.
The same principle is employed by a new car salesman. When viewed in the context of a $30,000 new car purchase, additions like $2000 leather interior, $1200 paint protection and $800 driver assist technology, seem small in comparison to the actual vehicle cost.
Interestingly, salespeople never start by trying to sell you these features. Once you’re emotionally invested in the purchase, then the upsell comes!
In a lesson for all business and services, both examples led with the most expensive option first.
When a customer sees the willingness to come down in price from a high starting level it’s viewed more favourably than the other way around. Think traditional upsells – I always resist them!
How to Use The Reject-Then-Retreat Method
Used wisely, this can be a very effective conversion technique. Just make sure the initial offering is reasonable.
If you run an E-commerce store, customers should be shown cheaper items to compliment or accessorise their purchase as they’re about to check out.
10. “Tell A Story”
Stories have been part of human evolution. We started telling stories before we learned how to write.
Scientists have studied the brains of people invested in a story. Oxytocin, the same hormone that helps mother and newborn form a bond, is released. It makes us more caring!
When you’re engrossed in a (good) movie, oxytocin is again at work helping you form a connection with the characters. It’s also the reason going to the movies is good for your relationship. You’re building a connection with your partner based on the similar experience of the plight of the characters.
How to Implement StoryTelling
Any reputable Digital Business Consultancy will factor in a discovery phase of your operations.
You don’t have the budgets of multi-billion dollar companies like Nike and Coca-Cola, so they’ll help craft a narrative that tells your business’s unique story.
This is the kicker though – the business motivation, what your brand stands for and the market need you address is about the customer, not you.
If you can craft a great story, oxytocin will be surging in your business prospects.
There is the question as to whetheremploying these tactics is ethicalgiven their persuasive success?
The consumer today is well-educated. They are empowered like never before because of digitisation. New levels of opportunity, customer experience, and connectedness, are the result of digitisation and these will only continue to expand.
It’s difficult to build a business with a single marketing tactic. A recent report suggests up to 20% of ROI is lost when adopting a single channel approach. An integrated Omnichannel approach makes it more likely a potential customer will encounter your message across multiple platforms and times.
The approach begins with your website.
#1: Your website is the “always-on” embodiment of your business. Integrated correctly, it collects leads and can help turn customers into brand advocates. Given 80% of people research a company or service online before purchase, can you afford not to add a digital face to your business?
#2: The financial barriers to digital entry continue to tumble! While we suggest you engage a Digital Business Consultant, an online presence with a relatively small initial outlay, is possible for any size business. Having a website is now a necessity, rather than a luxury. You can deliver your unique message to a much wider, digital audience. And besides…your competitors are executing on their digital strategy as you read this!
#3: Developing your unique value helps to position your company or service in the expert category. If you’re a handy writer, there’s an opportunity to share your expertise. It’s cheap and easy to get help in this area though if you’re not an accomplished writer.
#4: Integrate a Social Media strategy and now your reach is exploding! You can update your customers on new products or upgrades. Concentrate on delivering an exceptional consumer experience time after time. People will share their positive brand experiences with their followers and expand your digital reach.
The 3 certainties in life – death, taxes and change. The first 2 are becoming less certain as medical advances are adding to life expectancy and big companies exploit tax laws. Change does seem to be the one true constant. Businesses who keep up with digital change, bring value to the customer experience and will their meet competition head-on.
#1: Partner with a digital business consultant.
Many businesses have embarked on Digital Transformation. They realise an online presence is a necessity to move their business forward. For those looking for traction in the digital space, the services of a Digital Business Consultant can be invaluable. Their knowledge of web integrations helps you cater to an increasingly impatient audience.
#2: Leverage people’s obsession with mobile technology.
The average person checks their phone over one hundred times a day! Such is the attachment to digital devices, it’s argued that we are already a human-digital hybrid. Maybe this is the beginning of Elon Musk’s vision for a digitised humanity?
A steady stream of email, social media and marketing notifications hijacks attention spans. In the background, an always-on, digital hum from growing connected technology. Your brand just has to be there. Make it searchable and ready to deliver on mobile devices!
#3 Begin optimising for voice search
Two-thumb typing searches will become extinct.20 percent of mobile queries are already voice searched. In 3 years, it’s anticipated 50% of all searches will be performed without the aid of a screen.
Your potential clients are already asking their Digital Personal Assistant, (DPA), Siri, Alexa and Google to “Begin morning.”
With this command, lights switch, coffee percolates, traffic and weather updates are received. A grocery list is sent to a smartphone for a recipe search a connected refrigerator.
The next command could be, “Find me, (insert your business type here.)” Ensuring your business has a location and service-optimised digital strategy will make you searchable 24/7/365.
Your digital business consultant will develop a keyword strategy to connect direct answers to direct questions.
No longer the conjuring of science fiction writers, artificial intelligence and machine learning, will be smarter than humans.It doesn’t matter who your clients are, be assured that most will always use digital channels to search, interact, transact, share and purchase.
Retargeting can track browsing and purchase history and abandoned cart sales. The information can then be used to place your ads on other sites, keeping your digital brand in the forefront of people’s minds.
#5 Always be contactable
Digital business needs to receive email, respond to Messenger queries and website chat while maintaining a social media presence. People expect to make a connection at the very instant they have a need. It’s critical to screen, direct and respond to that need in a timely fashion.
Email marketing, Messenger chat and social media strategy are just some of the tools your business needs to integrate. You need to satisfy the immediate need when they’re ready to purchase!
And remember…it may take fifty interactions to gain someone’s attention, but one poor interaction to lose it forever! Be human, trustworthy, publish quality information and you will see positive effects from your digital marketing efforts in 2018.
The consumer controls the game and investing in tools to improve their experience, should be a no-brainer.The best promoters of your brand are engaged and satisfied customers and favourable digital reviews are like word of mouth on steroids!
There was a light bulb moment for me when I was first introduced to acronyms.SOHCAHTOAhelped me navigate the mental torture of trigonometry.BOLTSS, the six essential features of a map.
In Healthcare, (where I spent 20 years), acronyms abound to aid recall of physiological processes.
My favourite acronym though is theSMART Digital approach. It helps convey plans and timelines when developing a digital marketing strategy for clients. I liked it so much, I even called my agency Smart Reach Media.
Reachis the amplification and distribution of a message to achieve greatest digital penetration. An example of reach could be the number of unique visitors to a website each month.
SMART digital marketing is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Scaled.
At the core, any business needs to stand out from the competition and communicate aunique selling proposition.
Simple Who, What, Why and Which questions clarify the process and make itSpecific.
Who is involved? What do we want to do? Why are we doing what we are doing? Which constraints and requirements are there for the project? Goals seem more attainable when objectives like these are established early in the planning process.
There are manyMeasurables these days. Likesare important but your Bank Manager won’t take them as part of your interest repayments.
Digital Marketers analyse Click-through and Bounce Rates and use A/B split testing.
Google analytics and Facebook provide audience insights. The user experience on the website is modifiedaccordingly.
The Digital Business Consultant delivers this information in easy to understand language for the client. The data helps the marketing process for the business.
Appraising the available resources and constraints at the business level is Attainability. This is necessary to improve performance.
Up to this point, the process has set Relevant goals to achieve short and long-term business goals.
This all needs to occur within an acceptableTime-Scaledperiod for the client. The designer needs adequate time as well to deliver their best work.
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” Your business will benefit from a structured development phase between you and the Digital Transformation agency.