Remember needing to carry a dime or a quarter to make a phone call if you were out? How about just knowing people from your neighborhood?
What about having to wait until Saturday mornings to watch cartoons? Or NBC’s “Must See TV”?
Remember having to go to the library, rifling through shelves of books, after having searched through the card catalogue in order to do research for your class projects?
Well, teenagers today don’t.
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The Triple Revolution, as Barry Wellman of the University of Toronto explains, is the merging of Mobile, Social Networks, and Internet, changing everyone’s lives (especially the lives of marketers!)
The mobile revolution is about continuous presence, with time and space no longer being as important as before. Mazda reminds us that Martin Cooper invented the mobile phone in 1973, leading the way for us to be physically untethered to landlines but forever connecting us to the world, 24/7.
Just 10 years ago, Facebook first hit the scene. It wasn’t the first in the social network revolution, but it’s become the biggest. Today, essentially 1 in 7 people on the planet are on this social network (check out Digital Marketing Ramblings for interesting Facebook stats). That means your “neighborhood” has gotten considerably larger. We’ve moved from social groups to social networks.
25 years ago this year, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, putting nearly all of the possible information you could possibly want, at our fingertips (remember World Book Encyclopedias?). The Internet has proliferated and essentially become more personalized for each person (think Google search, targeted ads).
When you put these three revolutions together, it means that for us marketers we have to live in the now, look to what’s coming in the future, and stop reminiscing about the past (except when hanging out w/ fellow Gen X’rs).
Here are 9 points you must consider to make your marketing efforts thrive in the midst of the “Triple Revolution”:
- IT’S SO NOISY!!! The beauty of technology and its reach today is that everyone can be a publisher (and it seems like everyone is trying). For marketers though it means that your competition to be heard has grown exponentially. You need to figure out how what you have to say is going to cut through the clutter, be heard, and be acted upon. It’s not about screaming louder; it’s about saying something relevant.
- Listen to the chatter: The flip side of having to compete with everyone to get heard is that social media in particular gives marketers the opportunity to listen to what current and prospective customers have to say. This is a goldmine of information! But, you have to know how to take advantage of it and turn that data into actionable insights. So, listen carefully to take informed actions.
- Word travels fast: Today, one tweet can catch fire in a matter of minutes, even seconds. Ellen DeGenere’s Oscar Tweet was retweeted 2.4 million times in a 12-hour period. The good news: if you delight people, there’s a chance that word will spread. But, if your brand ticks someone off, there’s a very good chance that word will also spread, fast, and very, very far. Real-time marketing is awesome and powerful, but you always need to think before you act.
- Tomorrow is too late: People want what they want when they want it. That might be at 2PM or 2AM. If you aren’t there to help them satisfy their need, someone else will. Your prospective customers will simply Google what they need and find someone else who can provide it. And if they have a better experience there, you may have lost them for good. Think about your customers’ needs and organize your business around them.
- Communicate like you’re on sodium pentothal: No, I’m not advocating using drugs. Sodium pentothal is truth serum – the stuff of spy movies, that when taken forces people to tell the truth. What I am advocating is to be truthful, to be real, to inject a humanness to your communications efforts. People today expect it. If you are hiding something, it will come out and you will look terrible.
- Your customer is a person: I’m a huge believer in segmenting your audience. But, all too often we forget that inside these segments are actually human beings; ones with names, interests, fears, hobbies. Technology today allows us to personalize our messages. Do it. But don’t be creepy.
- It’s about mobility: Not only is it a 24/7 world, but maybe more importantly, we are now no longer at the mercy of wires to be connected. We have phones, phablets, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, Google glasses. Craft content with the user’s context in mind. The medium and message are connected.
- What’s private is now public: People now reveal their private thoughts and feelings to the public via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. In the public realm, people can share where they are through Foursquare, thus publicizing to the world where they are. At the same time, Snowden has brought front and center the issue of privacy and governments going too far. Brands need to be careful with the information they gather and use (look back at point #5).
- Communications has been democratized: Now that anyone can publish content, and share it, it means that the most compelling and relevant stuff can come from anyone and anywhere. That content can come from a global brand based in NY or a teenager in Buenos Aires. Brands no longer hold all of the communication or content cards. You need to know when to speak, when to listen, and where to find the influencers who can make your point even better than your brand might be able to.
So, I’ll continue to tell my kids about life with TV commercials, about NBC’s “Must See TV” and how if you missed the show, you missed the show and you had to wait until they ran it again. But in my day-to-day as a marketer, I know that I need to look at how these revolutions are evolving and what they have in store for people and those of us trying to market to them.
Have any other points you think are key to managing through these “revolutions”? Let me know.