4 Tips for Surviving a Hyperconnected World

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How marketers can thrive in a world of connected devices and growing expectations.

Let's face it: The marketing landscape isn't what it used to be. Today's consumers are hyperconnected, and they expect marketers to be the same way. Although this challenge has led to the demise of some brands, others are thriving in this environment.

Disney is one example of a company thriving. During a session at the Direct Marketing Association's &THEN conference Nick Worth, CMO of marketing automation provider Selligent, talked about how Disney evolved from being a company originally known for its hand-drawn animation to a true digital innovator, such as with the debut of its MagicBand—a wearable device that lets park visitors unlock their hotel rooms, pay for food, and receive faster access to rides at its parks. Contrastingly, although Kodak invented the digital camera, the company eventually filed for bankruptcy because it couldn't transform itself into a digital-first company.

Perhaps naturalist Charles Darwin said it best: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

With new technology constantly emerging and consumers becoming more engrossed in their hyperconnectivity habits, one question still remains: Can the marketers of today adapt to this new world and meet consumers' growing expectations? It certainly won't be easy, but here are Worth's four tips for how to do so:

1. Understand that marketing and advertising will converge.

The battle of the budget can be a true struggle for marketers and advertisers. However, Worth argued that the days of fighting are numbered. Addressable media and the two-way dialogue will win, he said, while the practice of running countless ads on TV will decline. Consumers want to be able to respond to brands, he explained, and engage in back-and-forth conversations. 

2. Know that trust and respect are required.

In a world overflowing with consumer choice, it's more important than ever for brands to deliver on their promises. Consumers want respectful and trusting relationships with brands, Worth said, ones built on the assumption of privacy and respect for their preferences. They also expect to receive some sort of value in exchange for their data, he added, especially millennials. So, whether it's in the form of discounts, points, or entertainment, consumers want to ensure that their loyalty doesn't go unnoticed.

“In this new world, we have to treat consumers with trust and respect,” Worth said. “It's absolutely obligatory."

3. Talk to consumers, not at them.

It's no secret that consumers engage across multiple touchpoints, so contextualization and relevant engagement is essential. Indeed, consumers want brands to be aware of their individual situation, Worth said, and offer them tailored and seamless communications based on their needs and feedback.

“People expect contextual, situational, relevant engagement,” he said.

4. Think less about the journey and more about the moment.

Marketers love to talk about the customer journey, but Worth recommends that they focus on individual moments and how they can optimize them. According to the Worth, there are three ways to do so:

1) Seize the moment: See an opportunity to engage a consumer in a moment of need? Grab it. These moments are critical and marketers need to prove how much they actually value the consumer, Worth said.

2) Understand the moment of need: When considering a consumer's moment of need, marketers need to put themselves in the shoes of that consumer. Take the example of a cancelled flight. Instead of forcing consumers to speak to an agent or try to rebook a flight on their own, Worth said, why not text them flight options and enable them to rebook by simply pressing a number on their keypad?

3) Satisfy the need with messaging that delivers value: Marketers need to show consumers that their brand is a valuable partner to them, Worth said. Sometimes, this requires providing information without a sell attached. For instance, let's say that a recipe publisher is dealing with a novice chef. Instead of listing all of the steps on one page, Worth said, the brand could offer to send that consumer step-by-step push notifications to help move them through the cooking process.

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