“Let me tell you what I wish I'd known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”
If you recognize this as the opening lines to the final song from Hamilton, then Bravo!
But did you know it also underscores the main principle of successful businesses and brands today – “you have no control.”
The Current State
Now, is this taking it a bit too far? Are we over-reaching? Of course, it is. In our hyper click-baited media landscape, what else should one expect. But there is some degree of truth to it. As sales people, as marketers, as business leaders and brand heroes, it feels as if we are all losing control.
In many ways, that may be correct but know this, it’s not your fault. The ability of technology has finally caught up with the demands of customers for transparency, immediacy, personalization and customization.
On top of it, we can track metrics, see conversions to sales, and continuously optimize results in real-time - all at the expense of potentially violating the trust we have worked so hard to build between our customers, our business and our brand.
Sure, this is all great stuff. From a digital perspective, we are closer to our customers than we’ve ever been. We know or are learning exactly what they want/need when they want/need it.
Why then, is there so much angst and agita about developing and implementing those types of solutions?
Is it because we believe in this transfer-of-control that our company’s, our brand’s and even our personal story becomes open to interpretation and perhaps even lost all together?
The Future State
In essence, we are all searching for the best ways to create value and drive growth. To that end-game, our Customer-In-Control world is real. It is a fluid, ever-evolving, ever-changing environment that requires a mastery of 7 key areas:
// On-demand access to information/accounts: This is practically table-stakes. The key here is how are you doing this? Is it based on what’s best for the company or what’s best for your customers? By focusing on the latter, businesses and brands truly have an opportunity to separate themselves from the competition.
// Shared values: As a business, we should all know what we stand for. How well do all employees, from top to bottom? Are they all aligned, or do they all tell a different version of the story? Likewise, does this align with what your customers believe is important?
// Personalized attention: The mechanisms are readily available for your business and brand to deliver personalized attention in the digital world and the real world. But make sure both are as Human2Human and as consistent as possible.
// Memorable experiences: To be realistic, not every customer touch point will surprise and delight – although that should be the goal.
// Customized messages: With data science and artificial intelligence, the ability to overlay persona and behavior-based messaging has come a long way. It should be a mainstay of how you go-to-market.
// Engagement on their terms: It’s no longer about what the customer can do for the company, but what the company can do for the customer – across the board. This goes without saying
// Flexibility: Continuously improve your organization’s mindset to stay nimble and stay active – to ask questions and listen to the answers. That is how you will be able to provide the new and enhanced innovations of product, services and process your customers long for.
What Comes Next
Technology has always been a double-edged sword. Today, we acquire and utilize personal data. We can hyper-target, geo-target and re-target customers. We can optimize results with specific creative versions, and make corrections in real-time with integrated metric monitoring.
If allowed, those forces can lull us into thinking technology will always save the day. It can give justification to marketing inertia because the choices are too daunting. It can cause us to spread our budgets too thin because of the prevailing intent to have a strong, visible presence where ever our customers are.
Who Tells Your Story
With all the changes ushered in with new AdTech and ManTech innovations, the tactical and implementation aspects of marketing probably feels like the world’s turned upside down.
It’s like your head is on a swivel, and you’re not sure where to direct your team’s time and your company’s resources. How can your business and your brand be in all the places where your customers are? How can your organization effectively deliver on all 7 attributes described above?
Even more importantly, who is telling your company’s story? And, how do we know they are doing it right?
A Right-Hand Man
Just like Washington needed a right-hand man, most companies can benefit from an objective, outside-in perspective.
Need a right-hand man?
We are //NKST, a growth acceleration firm for a world turned upside down - designed to help your organization know where to go next, make the necessary bold moves with confidence, and enable others to tell your story.