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Email Summit: Brian Solis on the connected consumer and the digitally evolving world

Last week, we held our Email Summit 2012 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where more than 750 of your marketing peers joined us for four days of keynotes, workshops, discussion panels, case study sessions and networking.

Brian Solis, Principal, Altimeter, joined us as one of our three keynote speakers for the Summit.  Brian spoke to the audience about integrating social media with your email marketing to engage a new type of connected customers. After his keynote, Brian took a few minutes to chat with GetResponse Community Manager, Jim Ducharme.

 

 

In this video interview, Brian talks about two main thoughts:

The connected consumer

  • The democratizing of information is creating an empowered and connected consumer
  • Technology simply facilitates to bring about change
  • Success now comes from listening and learning from consumers

 

The “Digital Darwinism” concept

  • When technology and society evolve faster than your ability to adapt
  • Examples of companies fading away because consumer behavior is evolving toward a digital world
  • The connected consumer requires you to design the experiences and outcomes they want in the channels they want

Since everyone consumes information in a different way, I’ve also included a rough transcript of the interview with Brian Solis …

One of the things is that sure, we’ve always underestimated, or maybe a better word is underappreciated the customer. But before, they only had so many channels that they could follow. Right? So if they wanted to take action, wanted to attend an event, if they wanted to make a purchase, they still, by and large, had to go through channels where the businesses they were supporting had greater control over the experience.

However, now as information is becoming democratized, as customers are becoming incredibly empowered and connected. They are, by default, becoming more influential than we know, and in some cases, far more influential individually and even more powerfully when they are collectively moving in a similar direction that we have seen all around the world.

Not just in the world of business, but in the world of politics.

When people get together around a common mission, technology just becomes a facilitator to bring about change. And now that change, and it’s just a matter of time in this post-Occupy world, that consumers will land in your lap.

And they’re already starting to land in the laps of every bank that’s out there because they want reform. They want change; they want to be heard; they want to hear and see that you are empathic toward their needs or their wants or desires. They want to be part of the process. They want be valued. They want to, in turn, give back that value in terms of reciprocity and advocacy.

So really, there is no more opportunity or even need to underestimate or undervalue the customer. You can learn from them, and actually be even more successful than you are today. It’s a great thing.

One of the elements at the beginning of the book is sort of justifying what happens when customer behavior changes to the point that it affects your business. Take Facebook, take Twitter, take social networks out of it. I just mean simply by when people make decisions that aren’t in your favor.

At some point, customer behavior gets enough traction that if it goes unaddressed, it starts to move away from you. The concept of “Digital Darwinism,” as I call it, is this idea that when technology and society evolve faster than you ability to adapt.

And that could affect you from a business model, that could affect your products, it could affect your relevancy. So we saw that happen with Tower Records, Warehouse Music, Sam Goody as music started to get digital. We started to see that with Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, as videos became digital. And we start to see that with newspapers and magazines all around the world because customer/consumer behavior is evolving, is changing.

How they use technology is changing. It’s changing their patterns, their behaviors and how they get from point A to point B, how they make decisions. And businesses are not recognizing that opportunity.

Instead, they’re mostly looking at the channels that they are using to say, “Well, if we get into these channels, then we are by default connecting with them the way they wanted to be connected to.”

But they’re not taking into account that what ends up happening is this idea that if you’re not adapting to their needs or their preferences or their stated rules of engagement, then you are not heard. And you may have a million Likes or followers, or whatever it is, in whatever network, and it won’t mean anything if you’re not driving the right kind of engagement or acting, outcomes, sentiments, or desires or values that people have.

My point is that your customer is not only connected, but they’re sophisticated and they want certain experiences through certain channels to certain types of outcomes that you can design for.

My point is that you need to design for it. Now, the hard case is how do you make the case. And that’s kind of the inspiration for this book (The End of Business as Usual). But the reality is that you’re not going to convince the connected consumer to give you their attention by simply showing up where they are.

 

Related Resources:

Video produced in cooperation with GetResponse Email Marketing. See more at: http://www.getresponse.com/promo/emailtv

In Social Media, Your Return Represents Your Investment — via Brian Solis’s website

Email Summit 2012: Top 5 takeaways from the industry’s largest research-based event

Customer-centric Marketing: Tap into your culture to differentiate from the competition

Small-Business Marketing: 5-step email survey process leads to 600% revenue growth

Social Media Marketing: How to optimize the customer experience to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising

Guided by Buyers: 4 tactics to create a customer-centric sales and marketing strategy

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