There are a thousand possible trends that fit this bill: big data, mobile apps, connected objects, social CRM, social media, 3D printing, Facebook Home…
I am writing this post because I was asked this very question in a recent interview and I thought I’d expand on my reply.
And my answer is: change your point of view.
Today’s technology goes a long way on many levels, but only if it is used properly.
Big data & CRM
Today’s machines are capable of analyzing on their own who they are dealing with (age, weight, sex, corpulence). They allow us to delve deeper and deeper into people’s intimate lives, they stock loads of data and facilitate reaching our customers through a multitude of paths.
So the first issue with CRM is not a technical one. It resides in the fact that the customer relationship is viewed not as an asset, but as a cost.
In most companies, a customer who contacts you will cost you money and time; by definition, he is wrong or at fault.
There are of course those customers who will call you even though the information they’re looking for is in the user’s guide. These are the ones in need of some company.
But today, the customer relationship boils down to finding every possible way NOT to talk to the customer. I arrest my case.
Yes, Facebook Home will undoubtedly change things. Yes, everyone needs to offer a well-designed app that is updated regularly in order to enhance customer loyalty.
But, as I have already written in this space, the main concern with branded mobile apps is that they often serve no purpose other than to satisfy the marketers who had them developed. It’s time to put the ego aside, take a step back from the brand and think about the customer and what his needs might be.
I know that TV advertising is still effective and I wouldn’t dare to challenge this. However, the sacrosanct formula of maximized repetition as the only way to make people remember and purchase the product/service no longer works and is very costly, at best.
The consumer no longer believes the ads, even if seeing the product on TV is reassuring.
The first thing to do is to create ads that are based on emotional consumer insight, and to accept that TV is one of many media essential to a well-rounded advertising plan. The entire consumer path must be targeted. TV is not the ultimate media – let’s stop calling it that!
If you want to see the difference between a product-based ad and an emotional insight-based ad, here are 2 examples. Tell me which one you prefer (even if one lasts twice as long as the other).
Although social media are now part of the communication and customer relationship mix, I still prefer to address this separately because there are many people out there who question the use of this tool.
Obviously, going back to the roots of a brand is the most efficient way to understand how to use these tools. But here again, you must alter your point of view. Use social media to offer authentic services to the customer. Understand who interacts and in which communities rather than trying to start your own.
When Colgate uses Facebook to provide advice to dentists, the brand has put itself in the partner’s shoes. The brand doesn’t need to advertise on Facebook and Twitter. Each tool has its own specific use.
When we speak of “a consumer-based strategy”, it sounds really corny. But what that phrase really means is, stop selling yourself anywhere, anyhow, thinking that the whole world may actually care.
“Customer” isn’t a dirty word; “useful” isn’t either.
If you add them to your vocabulary, the rest should follow.