Last week, I had an honor of speaking at the Canadian Financial Marketing Forum with some of the brightest minds in the digital space. We discussed variety of issues facing the industry — from building a holistic strategy to best practices that generate a positive ROI. Here are few thoughts on some of my learnings from the session.
The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.
The common theme that emerged from the debates and talks was that the world has changed but not everyone is impacted equally by it. Some can’t live without it. And some aren’t impacted at all.
In some industries, regulations and rules have made it difficult for the change to occur. And for some, no matter what they do, it isn’t working.
There is no cookie cutter tactic that works for everyone. At the same time, we are all seeking ways to be less distracted, more productive and more engaging within our networks.
Tactics and buzz words aside, there are some key principles that have proven to true over the years — no matter who you are, what you do and where you operate.
Less shiny objects
It is much easier for us to chase shiny objects. It requires less thought. It gets executed faster but..
As Seth Godin said yesterday, “A tactic might feel fun, or the next thing to do, or a lot like what your competition is doing. But a tactic by itself is nothing much worth doing. If it supports a strategy, a longer-term plan that builds on itself and generates leverage, that’s far more powerful.”
In our world, vastly influenced by the shiny, fluffy and ideas that are oversimplified, it becomes even harder to filter out the noise from the signal.
Authentic, Approachable and Compelling
Without further ado, I would like to share the top 3 principles that have proven to work for my own programs over the years at organizations of all kinds (IBM, Bell Canada, Enterasys, Extreme Networks etc). This analysis is further validated and influenced by the latest Gallop study on what is working on the social web and what is not.
- Authenticity: The social web is highly personal and conversational. Folks within social networks don’t want to hear sales pitches. They are more likely to listen and respond to brands that seem genuine and personable. They want to interact with a human, not a logo.
- Responsive: The digital world is 24/7 and consumers expect timely responses — even on nights and weekends. If you are part of the medium, be truly part of it. If you aren’t available 24/7, make it known so that expectations can be managed effectively.
- Compelling: Content is everywhere and consumers have an ability to pick and choose what they like — Create interesting content that appeals to busy, picky social media users. Create content that develops affinity. A cause that people want to be part of. (Think IBM’s People for the Smarter Planet, Charity Water Campaigns etc).
“People like to buy but no one likes to be sold to”.
Let’s move from being document centric to becoming more people centric.
I tell my teams to keep this in mind every time they sit down to create content, design digital interfaces or just engage in a conversation. Luckily, the rising importance of design based thinking and processes in our businesses has allowed us to be more sensitive to the user’s needs and desired experiences.