Studying the impact of innovation on business and society An Interview with Brian Solis on Digital Transformation in Marketing

by Eloïse Cohen, (excerpt)

In this interview, Brian Solis speaks on digital transformation in the world of marketing. As Solis puts it, marketing is overdue for transformation: “It is not a question of stopping marketing, but of completely reinventing its practices to match modern consumer practices . But that’s not the way we’re going at all! At university, education has not changed in years. And then, companies, agencies … all these structures continue to promote so-called traditional marketing, without seeking to explore new ways.”

From the article (translated):

  • You say that the future of marketing will not go through marketing. what do you mean?

Today, the explosion of social networks has democratized the word and the relationship with the brand. And while marketing is built on the desire to reach as many consumers as possible, it’s now about engaging in more personal and engaged conversations, individual by individual.

  • You are not tender with marketing, which you say that its very definition is an integral part of the problem … And that because it involves more to manipulate the consumers than to inspire them …?

Yes, but let’s hear. It is not a question of stopping marketing, but of completely reinventing its practices to match modern consumer practices . But that’s not the way we’re going at all! At university, education has not changed in years. And then, companies, agencies … all these structures continue to promote so-called traditional marketing, without seeking to explore new ways. And while marketing has worked hard for decades to reach as many people as possible, it now needs to spark one-to-one discussion . The challenge is therefore to put the man at the center of all the interactions, because it is only

  • According to you, in a world of machines, the very one we are preparing, man is the ” killing app “, the keystone. But how can a director or a marketing manager, caught up in his daily work, his business challenges, reinvent his practices?

This is indeed the difficulty. Already because we have to understand that there is a problem, to know which one and to project oneself into a world and practices that we completely ignore. How then to imagine all the possibilities and potentialities to come !? As a result, experts tend to make decisions for the future based on what they know or what others have experienced. So it’s all about starting from scratch and thinking about what we would do today if we were to reinvent marketing today. What would it look like? What would consumer engagement mean? How could the UX, tools and channels be used in a novel way to deliver what customers or users want or expect? But all this, indeed, is confronted with marketing departments mired in their daily lives, in their reporting, their budget, and who are accountable to executives who continue to see the world as it was a few years ago . And it’s a great challenge to break all the habits and processes to reinvent what needs to be!

  • Do you have successful examples of such approaches?

Watch what Google has done with its micromoments . By highlighting that the Web was no longer visited in session, but rather in a variety of times throughout the day, it made obsolete mass media campaigns aimed at reaching the largest number of individuals. By the same token, it has upset the way brands should address their consumers. Because the message must be immediately understandable, as well as perfectly personalized and contextualized. And this brings us to what I called the ultimate moment of truth, The Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT). As a reminder, in 2005, Procter & Gamble formalizes the concepts of First and Second Moments of Truth ( First Moment of Truth and Second Moment of Truth).), which correspond, respectively, to the few seconds preceding the act of purchase and at the moment when the product is tested. Six years later, Google goes back, even before the purchase, with its ZMOT, Zero Moment of Truth … The opposite of which are played Ultimate Moment of Truth , when the customer will share his experience on the now powerful social networks. This is where everything is played out now or so. In the context of an increasingly fierce competition where advertisers can not only differentiate themselves by their offer, their product or their pricing, the attention must be focused on a positive customer experience, and in sharing it within communities.And to maintain the link after the purchase and encourage the spread of this lived experience, brands must make each of the ambassadors.

  • These developments, or even this revolution that you say essential, can be led by all marketing managers or should they come from the top management?

Marketing is not the only service to change! All business segments, all departments of a company have to change in depth. Now, nobody really wants to question himself, because we all have, basically, the feeling of doing a good job … and that’s good enough! But if you dare to compare yourself to visionaries, to those who disrupt and change, you realize the path you have left to go!

To convince your manager, this is not to prove the need for change, but rather to demonstrate the progress in terms of efficiency and performance it will generate . But it’s a big challenge! Because most decision makers do not understand marketing more than they know their consumers. They are so busy running the business, reporting to their shareholders, their executive committee and their board of directors. So , the challenge for you marketers is to market the need for change!

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