Look at big corporate brands, and you’ll find plenty of businesses paying millions to cultivate influence by creating the next viral moment. Good luck. The impulse is understandable, but the tactics leave much to be desired. Obsessing over “the big one” all too often means missing out on the smaller moments of influence that really matter and you do not have to wait for. Viral moments were not named in haste. They’re called viral because they happen quickly and without notice, grow exponentially, and are very difficult to control for any business caught up in the wave.
Transactions, conversions, closing the deal. All good stuff in the grand scheme, but not what we should be focusing on when building sustainable relationships with customers. The problem is that when a transaction is the only goal, there’s little focus on keeping the customer coming back for more. Ten different people who make one-and-done transactions with your business may look the same in a spreadsheet, but one person who makes ten purchases over time is a much better indication that you’re doing something right.
I’ve been reflecting for a while on an article from MediaPost, which outlines some of the ways social media and online culture have changed the way we interact face to face. The upshot, based on a study by the British government, is that we’re making fewer in-person visits than we used to. They’re called “social visits” in the study, which is a perfect name given the subject we’re about to tackle.
Retail Relevancy has never been more… relevant. In part one of my conversation with my friend and business partner John Andrews, we touched on Alexa, Amazon, and the evolving way that consumers experience retail. In part two, we’re continuing that conversation, and digging into how the modern retail experience (when it’s done right) should empower both employees and customers to engage on a human level. Let’s dive into some of the highlights:
No matter how you slice the demographics, young people hold a lot of sway on social media. They influence social conversation, establish trends, and tend to help social sites thrive when they show up in large numbers. Part of this is the power of numbers. According to Pew Research, 82 percent of US adults age 18-29 actively use Facebook, though the 65+ demographic is no slouch at 48 percent. However a recent study highlighted by MediaPost suggests that one in three young social media users qualify as influencers.
When you tell your story in a way that people will care, you create a relationship, a connection, a value that goes beyond immediate $’s and cents. It is what creates conversation, the content that creates trust, loyalty and advocacy.
If you’re aiming for omni-channel excellence, or simply looking to thrive on your channels of choice, don’t forget about the human side. In fact, it should be your first priority. With every new trend and communication channel comes new opportunities to connect, so it’s natural for marketers to seek out the most promising tools for the job. The challenge is that every trend has an expiration date, and it’s too easy to sacrifice the fundamentals in favor of the hot, new tool with an unknown shelf-life.
The time is now. Not next year, or six months from now, or at the conclusion of a five-year plan. Success won’t come with the next marketing conference, the new social channel around the corner, or the next piece of “game-changing” tech that’s just waiting to be unleashed on the world. Your future is written largely by what you do today, so the biggest single challenge for marketers in 2017 will be staying focused. Stop worrying about what’s next and concentrate on delivering what is now!
I have been very lucky in friendship. I may not have the wealth or success that some can claim, but I know what it is to have people in my life who know me well, like me just as I am (well, most of the time), listen to me, make me laugh, support me always, and who make my life better on a regular basis.