We are surrounded by digital transformation, both personally and professionally, but just because we see it and acknowledge that it’s happening and that we need to adjust accordingly, doesn’t mean we are (and if we are, we may not be doing it right). The focus for the column this week is how marketing and IT need to first think differently, then make the right changes to meet the future (and the present).
Brian Solis Says the Future of Marketing is screwed…Maybe
Let’s kick things off talking about the future of marketing, which according to Brian Solis may very well be in trouble if things don’t starting changing.
Solis, who is a Principal Analyst with the Altimeter Group and author the book What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), recently shared his perspective on the state and future of marketing. What he said is that marketers are taking legacy thinking (how marketing use to be done with respect to scale and mass broadcasting, in particular) and attempting to apply it to the new world and all the innovations that are coming with it.
This, he says, is a huge mistake. Instead, Solis says you need to take a step back. Take some time to look at how technology has affected behavior and how that behaviour is affecting expectations and decision-making.
Solis says that as a marketer you need to accept this new world of “always on society” and evolve the way you do business completely. You have to change yourself, and you do that by immersing yourself in the digital customer experience.
Consider the research he quotes that says 88% of organizations say they are going through a digital transformation, but only 25% studied the digital customer experience, and only 12% actually immersed themselves in it.
“…you start by understanding the digital customer experience. What does it look like? What are the touch points? What are the screens that people use? What are the frustrations they have? Where did they find success? Immersing yourself – in a social science way – in digital customer experience is a great start.”
It’s great to talk about changing and try to change, but trying may not be enough. Some challenges Solis points out relate to how organizations look at things. For example, we don’t necessarily see disruption as a competitive threat, instead only looking to what our current competitors are doing and trying to beat them. But disruption often comes from new innovations and not from the current competition. In another example, he writes about the need to support intrapreneur/entrepreneur spirit to motivate millennials within the organization, something traditionally structured organizations struggle with.
Solis says that organizations need a leader and marketing can be that leader, but you need to understand how to be more human. And you learn that by understanding the digital customer experience innately.