The art of doing business used to mean a lot of interaction, hand-shaking and face time. Small business owners in particular had a greater chance of closing a deal when they met with their customers and put a face to their business name.
The digital age has changed all of that, of course. While it has accelerated a lot of the steps in the sales process, it has taken the human aspect out in many ways. There are tactics that business owners can use, however, to build better relationships with customers that they have never actually met.
Personal communication technologies such as smartphones are playing a huge role in the end of mass communications. They are often worn on the body. They are highly individualized and they are regarded as extensions of the self. They make us individually addressable, regardless of where we are. Putting this into context, a mobile phone today is in the possession of the average user for 5,840 hours per year. That compares to the 2,920 hours the average user in developed markets spends in front of a PC and the average 1,865 hours spent watching television.
Looking at a message and trying to achieve the same communication in each object or screen is increasingly myopic. Context is critical because more and more our attention is split between distinct activities in more than one device. It’s about in which object the message is viewed and its timing, because we have different mindsets in different moments. Object goes back to understanding culture, because throughout history the objects we choose have always defined us, while timing relates to utilizing our constantly evolving understanding of the workings of the human brain. In traditional marketing, the belief was that the human brain is only capable of processing so much data and can be overwhelmed when too much information is thrown at it.
Measuring online influence is not an exacting science springing forth from today’s social media vehicles, even though that’s what Klout tells you. They’re using a façade of what’s happening today to cover up the simple fact that influence has existed for centuries and can’t be measured as easily as they state. In fact Klout, Kred and the other tools work very hard to make us believe that the awareness they are measuring is equal to influence.
There is a fear, in Advertising, that crowdsourcing will eliminate or decrease the need for some services. Why? Embrace it. In the past year I have worked on a dozen campaigns that have incorporated elements of crowd-sourcing. They have consistently doubled or tripled the ROI of a conventional campaign. Make something a strength before it becomes a weakness. Turn heads before they turn to something else.