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The 6 Pillars of Digital Transformation To Improve Customer Experience

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"Digital innovation is as much about technology as it is about people." (Brian Solis)

In the past decade, business and society have undergone a whirlwind of changes. A digital disruption, in fact, guided by technology. The Internet and the smartphone have brought the entire world in our hands, forcing the transformation of markets, identities, and companies.

Every major paradigm shift in human history is strictly linked to a technological progress (just think about the wheel, the printing press, the steam engine). We are now witnesses of a similar evolution, facing what analysts have called Digital Transformation. 

Submerged in an ever-connected ecosystem, customers and brands move towards the dematerialization of the world as we know it. Physical and digital worlds collide and melt into a new ground of experience, where information is immediately accessible.

Businesses, governments and organizations are being challenged to embrace the latest digital technologies to improve sustainability and provide engaging experiences.  To reach customers and provide products and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Digital transformation means different things to different people, but one thing is for sure: mobile devices and social media have created a layer across our world, revolutionizing companies, products and customers forever. 

Whatever definition you prefer or adopt, you need to make sure that your approach to building and integrating digital customer experiences evolves as digital trends evolve. One single technology might change your destiny and pave the way to success. 

Here lies the secret to overcome the challenge of this new era full of threats and opportunities: start by understanding the rules of the new world, then review the customer journey your clients go through, and realign business model and marketing strategy to effectively engage your digital customers.

In such a complex scenario, if you don’t have a process, any discussion about digital transformation remains just that, a plain talk. While investing in new technologies (social media, cloud, big data, virtual reality just to name a few) is critical, it is not enough to ensure that you truly implement a digital mind shift.

Increasing investments doesn’t itself equate real change, when there is no deep evolution in company vision, brand identity, employee engagement and infrastructure.

Now that the smartphone has - finally - become the first reference screen, digital disruption implies thinking and acting mobile first. We see three great challenges here:

  • Change company culture and routines;
  • Invest time and money in new tools, processes and people;
  • Rebuild the digital customer experience from scratch.

Expectations are higher than ever, engagement is even more difficult and too many marketers struggle to connect with customers and create enduring relationships.

The first step to build a proper improvement path is to put digital customers where they ask to be: at the very core of your strategy. Once you understand that, you are ready to learn the 6 pillars of transformation to improve customer experience.

GENERATION C 

Since we have entered the Age of the Customer, traditional customers have been replaced by digital customers. They are connected, empowered and demanding. The smartphone is their way to access the Internet and social media the primary source of information. There is no marketing strategy for the Generation C without innovative technologies and social relations. Map your digital customer journey and make sure to create a proper experience to add value and earn their trust.

MOBILE SHIFT 

As Google recently stated in an eye-opening study, "what used to be our predictable, daily sessions online have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that now occur instantaneously. There are hundreds of these moments every day" and they decide the success/failure of your mobile engagement strategy. Context-aware content, multiple touchpoints and personalization become critical to reach your clients mobile-first.

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY 

Innovation is the life-blood any customer-centric company. The reason is very simple: customer behaviors usually evolve faster than companies. The ability to respond as quickly as possible is what makes the difference between winning brands and average brands. Connected people crave new experiences: smartphone, Internet of Things, wearable technology, smartwatch, mobile payments and so on.

BRAND PERSONA 

What makes a memorable brand? Products, tradition, innovation, identity? Your brand is valued not only for what it gives (products, services) but also - and above all - for what it is: intangible meanings and archetypes. Great storytelling is the foundation of engagement and loyalty. Know your true why; master your story; shape a narrative involving story, image, identity and people; build on it your content marketing and digital strategy.

PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCE

Given the previous pillars, it is easy to see why personalization is the ultimate goal that all companies should aim to achieve. An amazing shopping experience, specially in the retail industry, is what converts desires into needs. If you want to produce a sincere emotional response in customers/prospects, start by customizing your marketing to match their interests, tailoring communications based on customers’ known preferences and desires. 

BIG DATA MARKETING

The key to a successful transformation is the deep awareness of the importance of data in the planning and execution of a strategy. You are now able to collect meaningful information; you just need to learn how to convert data into actionable insights and prioritize improvements. Track and measure your results, to extract reliable strategies from numbers and statistics (i.e. using an analytics dashboard).

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How Customer Obsession Will Drive Your Digital Transformation

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Innovation Social Networking Analytics Storytelling Content Marketing Big Data Mobile

5 Key Takeaways From 2015 Internet Trends Report

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Nothing beats a great report when you need to understand concisely where we’re going. When it comes to technology, a major choice has always been The Internet Trends report by Mary Meeker, one of those Internet oracles you'd better take seriously.

The 2015 Internet Trends arrives 20 years after the inaugural report, published in 1995. Since the first release, the scenario has changed so much that you can now hardly remember the world before the Internet.

Let’s start with one single eye-opening fact: back in 1995, there were 35 million Internet users globally, with a penetration stuck at 0.6% of the population. In 2015, connected people have reached 2.8 billion; that means 39% of worldwide population is now online, at home and on mobile devices.

When the Internet story started, there probably wasn't a single person - except for sci-fi writers and dreamers - who could have predicted how this single technology would disrupt how we communicate and how companies build their customer experience. Connectivity constantly reshapes our daily lives, and almost every human being is influenced by it, in one way or another.

The 196-slides deck by Mary Meeker, partner at venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, has the great quality of delivering an overview of most pitfalls and opportunities that will guide the evolution of markets - and digital marketing strategies, consequently.

  • In 1995, only 1% of the world population used mobile phones. In 2014, that number has reached 73%, with a 40% penetration of smartphones.
  • The Internet has opened a whole new business: the market cap of the top 15 Internet companies is now $2.4 trillion; 20 years ago it was roughly $16.8 billion.
  • 51% of users come now from Asia, 23% from China; traditional markets fall behind, with Europe at 19% and the USA at 10%.
  • Today, the USA still have 11 of the world’s top 20 companies, but Asia is rapidly growing: China is now officially a tech giant with 6 companies, followed by Japan (2) and Korea (1).

These few insightful statistics create a broad picture of a social - and business - environment, shaped by innovative devices, where both people and objects are connected.

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Point here is: the world has gone mobile. While people have embraced the change, too many companies are still slow to adapt, focusing on traditional marketing funnels rather than what really matters: the customer.

Purchase and loyalty decisions are mostly based on customer’s expectation that they can get what they want with ease and speed, wherever they are and whatever technology they are using. Clients expect that you are able to assist them across all touch points of the customer journey, on any device.

While the overall subscriptions rate starts to slow, customers now possess the whole world in their hand. Information is just one tap away. Internet and engagement walk together, a correlation reinforced by the rise of time spent on mobile devices, where customer are online 24/7.

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As users, we are re-imagining all aspects of our lives; it’s about time that businesses do the same with their strategy and approach. Here are 5 takeaways from the 2015 Internet Trends Report that you can use to improve your customer experience.

THE INTERNET, REINVENTED

The Internet has reinvented the consumer and retail industry, forcing brands to re-image the way they connect with clients. Now the rise of innovative technologies and mobile devices turns the table again, encouraging a further evolution of technology and content. New frontiers are ready to be set: virtual reality, the Internet of Things, social media buying, mobile payments, real-time user generated broadcasts, messaging customer service. The Internet reinvents and gets reinvented day after day.

POWER TO MILLENNIALS

New generations mean new ways to explore the world and experience products and brands. The birth of a new generation of empowered customers is driven by the so-called Millennials. High spending and high demanding, these customers are submerged in a mobile ecosystem with totally different needs and desires. They love their smartphones, prefer visual content (Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat), and use social networks as main reference for opinions and information.

CONNECTIVITY EVOLUTION

Mobile technology brings in the need to get what you want when you want it. Patience is a virtue that empowered customers don't often pursue. The smartphone, together with other mobile devices (activity trackers, wearables, Apple Watch) and sensors, simplifies the access to just-in-time information: car directions, breaking news, events, public transportation schedule. Branded contents and services must be timely personalized too, 24/7.  

THE NEW COMMERCE

Digital disruption has brought a challenge within a challenge for traditional retail companies. Worldwide competition is a whole new story; traditional commerce has been replaced by a new digital arena, paving the way to e-commerce and social media commerce. The Internet has changed how we track of our finances, how we do research, and even where and how we buy products and services. One-touch mobile payments (Apple Pay and Android Pay) will be the next step in this evolution.

INTERNET IS YOUR JOB

Technology, society and business trends are so strictly linked that it is now impossible to talk about the Internet without mentioning the deep revolution of the marketplace. Said that many of the most profitable brands are now Internet-related companies, we have also witnessed a huge transformation in the meaning of 'job'. The widespread of connectivity has favored flexibility, allowing people to use online platforms (such as Airbnb, Uber, and Etsy) to increase their income.

We search online and mobile; we buy online and mobile. We live online and mobile. What about your company?

Here’s the full 2015 Internet Trends slide-show.
 

The emergence of mobile devices - and the need of a mobile-firts approach - is one of the key elements of the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Future Innovation Content Marketing Mobile

Top 5 Steps to Improve Customer Experience For Millennials

Millennials

Millennials, Generation Y, Generation Me, Boomerangs: they have many names and they are among us. Call them what you want but never ever ignore them, if you want to ensure a long life for your business. It is important to understand how to adapt your strategy to their lifestyle and rules: if your customers are not millennials today, they soon will be. Very soon. Play their game and improve your customer experience, starting with mobile.

There are lots of myths and misconceptions about millennials and how they see themselves and the world around them. Analysts say they are lazy and entitled; they only care about money and success. True or false, you need to design and adapt customer experience to how the so-called boomerangs think and act. In fact, you must love them.

Why? Because researches show that those born between 1980 and 2000 are projected to have at least three times the buying power of baby boomers (also known as the children of the World War II). That means more than 200 billion dollars in annual spending just in the U.S. Money that millennials will gladly deliver to brands and products they consider truly innovative.

Truth is, price is not that important anymore. Surely it is not the main feature they look for while in the purchase process. Born and grown-up in a digital environment shaped by smartphones and disruptive devices (Apple Watch anyone?), accustomed to E-Commerce and mobile payments, they feel competent with technology, they are always up-to-date on the latest trends and ultimately give a higher value to innovation, creativity and uniqueness.

Plus, they consider the Internet - and social media above all - as a primary source of knowledge and opinion. You should never underestimate the social factor and the importance of community dynamics: millennials are quick to praise brands/products on social networks, but also very quick to criticize. And to abandon you after a bad experience, when they can’t have what they need, when they need it, easy and fast.

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(Image Source: Pew Research - Wikipedia)

Here are 5 steps you should take into account to improve customer experience for the demanding clients of the Generation Y (waiting for the next in line: Generation Z):

FOCUS ON THEIR GOALS 

In the Age of the Customer, it's not so very important what's your business goal. Even more with millennials, the key to succeed and reach the best results is to put customers at the core of your strategy, and work to realize their goals, not yours. 

CRAFT A COMPLETE EXPERIENCE 

With younger customers, the experience is way more important than the product itself. The fulfillment of their needs and desires passes through a complete journey, engaging and compelling across all touch points (and mobile-first).

BUILD A COMMUNITY 

If there's something millennials would never live without, that is social networks. To engage with them on a deeper level, encourage customers to share their thoughts and connect with you using all channels. Be their primary reference and listen before talking.

SUPPORT PERSONALIZATION 

There is a reason if millennials are also know as 'Generation Me'. It might be a myth that they are selfish, but they surely are self-confident and self-reliant. Support individuality through Me-Commerce, in the name of context-aware content and personalization.

SHARE AND PLAY 

The power of games as business tools is now a fact. Customer retention and loyalty are direct consequence of your ability to engage them in a two-way conversation. Gamification is perfect to share your brand values and goals with unintrusive and compelling dynamics of objectives and reward. 

Companies in the consumer products, retail and fashion, luxury & beauty industries will face - more than any other brand - the effects of this customer revolution. In this context, it's important that you embrace this demanding generation and reconsider how you build your digital experience and customer journey map to fulfill the millennial needs and wants.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Social Media Trends That Will Define Customer Engagement in 2015

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Social Networking Facebook Branding Content Marketing Fashion Luxury and Beauty

Customer Loyalty: 5 Celebrity Lessons From Lady Gaga & Co.

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What do Lady Gaga, One Direction, Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Lawrence have in common? They are A-list celebrities, yes, but this is not enough to explain their enduring success. They must have something more, because you can't become the business machine they are today based solely on talent or luck.

The answer is simple: Lady Gaga and Co. did so relying on the ability to build and nurture a community of loyal and faithful fans. In the meanwhile offering useful lessons to every company and brand willing to improve customer loyalty.

In an age where social media and digital technologies dictate the business agenda, celebrities become more than simple icons and models of behavior; they become a brand, in the true sense of this word. Fame and fortune, thus, derive not just from what celebs create - a Billboard single, a blockbuster movie, a successful book - but from what they are and the experience they build for fans.

Their community is their fortune. Numbers explain this sentence better than a thousand words. It’s not by coincidence that:

  • Lady Gaga has 67 million fans on Facebook and 45 million followers on Twitter. Ever heard about the Little Monsters?;

  • Kim Kardashian has the most followed account on Instagram, without having any recognizable talent;

  • Oprah Winfrey has become one of the richest and most powerful people in the whole world, starting from zero;

  • Taylor Swift keeps on winning award after award and is now considered the pop star fans love the most;

  • J. K. Rowling has gone from being no-one to being multi-millionaire and the “most influential woman in Britain” (Time Magazine). Her secret is Pottermore

  • Madonna is still the scandal icon and bestselling singer all young pop star wannabes strive to emulate.

  • Angelina Jolie is the one of the highest earning and the most beloved Hollywood actress, with a net worth 120 million dollars.

You can have Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame but, if you just target success for money and celebrity, and fail to build an enduring community, you won’t go too far. A recent example: PSY, the Korean pop singer, has cracked YouTube with his 2012 hit Gangnam Style, reaching over 2 Billion views. No one before was even close to that cap. For almost a year he has been basically everywhere, but then? You can’t really say he was able to capitalize on that unexpected success.

On the contrary, Lady Gaga is the perfect case study to understand why a faithful community is necessary to guarantee success in the long term. Her latest musical efforts have not even remotely gained the critical approval and sales numbers of her first albums, and yet she is still here, loved and hated like the very first day. Because she goes way beyond her songs: she is a brand that tells a story, shares specific values and engages fans into a complex experience.

Do you see where this takes us? The entertainment business is the mirror that reflects the changes all other industries are going through: a digital transformation that leads to the Age of the Customer, where people - not brands - become the core of every digital marketing strategy. In hyper-competitive markets, the only way to grow shares and stay top of mind is to stop being self-referential and start focusing on your customers.

Of course, celebrities have absorbed this lesson long ago, and so they play their best cards to engage with fans and enhance loyalty. Using technology and innovation for this purpose: mobile devices, 3D and virtual reality, apps, widgets, wearables, branded content, social media, there’s no aim they can’t use. To say it with marketing terms, they are well-aware that “sales pass, loyalty stays”.

Entrepreneurs and marketers have a few lessons to learn from celebrities. We can sum them up in the following 5 suggestions:

  1. Share your values - every celebrity comes with different values and issues he/she cares about. Customers feel a deeper emotional connection when you share your values and build your whole strategy around them. To engage your community, be coherent, give them something to talk about and involve them into your storytelling.

  2. Understand their needs - real celebrities listen, not just talk. Lady Gaga, again, is a good example: she always makes her fans feel like rock stars. Little Monsters are the core of every communication. Start by analyzing and embracing your customers' needs, wants and desires. Put people of your community in the spotlight and make them feel special, like rock stars.

  3. Connect on personal level - the community is not the final aim of your strategy. It's just a means to get closer to every single customer. Technology evolution moves towards machine intercommunication (the Internet of Things), while clients ask for human connections: answer with a personal touch, create a sense of belonging, use social media to manage crisis and reputation issues.

  4. Make it about them - the Age of the Customers have replaced passive consumers with informed and empowered customers. This is a critical passage for your business: customer experience is more important than your brand, and the journey more critical than the product itself. Take care about clients, offer personalized content and guide them across all touch points of the customer journey.

  5. Exceed expectations - celebrities always feel the need to move their image and identity one step forward, to top fans' expectations, and then exceed them again and again. The same with your brand: don't slow down, keep on innovating and focus on the need to surprise. Don't be scared to try new solutions and always add a bit of spice to retain attention (Lady Gaga, again).

They all seem reasonable suggestions but too many companies, unfortunately, still think the old way, accounting their product or themselves as the main reason of business. Damaging, as a result, the connection with customers. Price, products and quality of service remain important, but it’s the digital customer experience that becomes the real key to succeed and become customers’ first choice.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Inspirational Customer Experience Quotes To Improve Engagement

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Social Networking Branding Content Marketing

Discover Your Superpowers And Grow From Relevance To Exponentiality

Digital_Revolution

Today we are living a second revolution, comparable to the Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution changed how people used their bodies to perform physical labor. The Digital Revolution is changing how people use their minds to perform conceptual labor.

Unlike the steam engine or electricity, Digital Revolution technologies continue to improve at a remarkably rapid exponential pace, replicating their power with digital perfection and creating even more opportunities for combinatorial innovation.

From 20,000 years, we as human beings have worked to own “stuff” and then trade access to it. This behavior started in tribes, was adopted by clans, and then later spread to nations, empires, and most recently, global markets. Value has always been generated by owning more land, more equipment, more machinery, more people. Ownership was the perfect strategy for managing scarce resources and ensuring a relatively predictable, stable environment. The more you had — that is, the more value you “owned” — the wealthier and more powerful you were.

In the new context that has been shaped by digital, a new organization paradigm has taken shape: the Exponential Organization.

An exponential organization is one whose impact, or output, is disproportionally large — at least ten times larger — compared to its peers because of the use of new organizational techniques that leverage accelerating digital technologies.

To achieve scalability, exponential organizations such as Uber (transportation), AirBnB (hospitality), eBay (commerce), Waze (car navigation), AWS (cloud computing), are turning the traditional organization inside out. Rather than owning assets or workforces and incrementally seeing a return on those assets, exponential organizations leverage external resources to achieve their objectives.

Two factors are pivotal for your organization to step up from relevance to exponentiality:

  • Ground success on resources you don’t own — if some aspect of your company’s product has been information-enabled, notably a compelling digital customer experience, then following Moore’s Law, can take on the doubling characteristics of information growth.
  • Take care of information as your greatest asset — thanks to the fact that information is essentially liquid, major business functions can be transferred outside of your organization to users, fans, partners or the general public.

Every company is now a technology company:

  • the way power is distributed among and in business;
  • the way investments changes;
  • the way we organize people and work.

Archimedes once said, “Give me a lever long enough, and I’ll move the world.” Simply put, we have never had a bigger lever.

So race to reinvent yourself and your organization before it's too late: any profession or company designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st:

  • Step back and define yourself in terms of the benefit you provide, starting with why.
  • Create great products and great services, make them truly deep.
  • Be recognized as intelligent when your customers look at you, let them know you understand their pain.
  • Be complete, deliver the totality of a product offering: i.e. it’s not just the software but also the APIs, the documentation, the webinar, etc.
  • Empower people, as Guy Kawasaki has taught us this was the key to Apple success.
  • Be elegant: great human interface design is a prerequisite.
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Human Capital Management Society Future Exponential Organization

HealthKit: How Apple Changes Your Medical Experience With Apps

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Apple’s iOS 8 has received mixed reactions from users and analysts, but there is one thing no one can deny: the new operating system comes with a couple of new features that have a huge impact on the digital customer experience. The first one is ApplePay, that can change the way we purchase, even according to Bill Gates; the second feature is HealthKit and is meant to change our medical experience. How?

There is still a bit of confusion about HealthKit: some identify this new feature with an app (Health), but there is a lot more than that. It is a dynamic platform, working behind the scenes even when you don’t see it running, designed to track and share with authorized stakeholders and apps a vast range of health and fitness data across multiple devices. A huge revolution when used as a serious medical tool.

You might not even interact with HealthKit directly, as it can be seen as a data repository where apps can insert and extract information to process. To make it simple: HealthKit allows apps that provide health and fitness services to share their data with the new Health app and with each other. This ensure a consistent experience to each user, collecting data through device sensors and connecting with Health and even with third-party apps to let you store and access data in one place.

You can use this new feature as a wellness tool or personal trainer, but it will produce the best results in the hands of doctors and medical specialists:

  • It can aggregate data from different apps or connected devices, i.e. smartwatches, self tracking wearables or blood pressure measurement devices.

  • It can automate the recording of medical data, to improve diagnosis accuracy and always present updated information.

  • It can interact with electronic records systems in hospitals or doctor’s office, so that your data could be automatically included in your personal report.

  • In the next future, iBeacons will play a vital role in how patients interact with doctors and hospital rooms.

The Health app designed for iOS, of course, is the first and best so far way to connect with data stored in the platform. It allows you to manually enter data and creates a dashboard for visualizing your whole medical scenario. More important, it includes a Medical ID feature - to record information like medications or allergies - available even when your phone screen is locked in case of emergency.

There are so many opportunities for medical applications that developers are still trying to figure out how to make it work the right way. And there is one last concern: privacy. What is Apple going to do with all our data? And third parties? Cupertino reassures that both platform and app are designed to respect privacy at their core, and that it has also barred developers from selling information or mining it for non medical research. Is it enough?

Anyway, what is really interesting for us it that, finally, hospitals and doctors and wellness players are entering in an era defined by big data and empowered customers. Being businesses in a moment of public funding cuts, organizations must adapt their marketing strategy to become more effective and attract clients/patients. The Age of Customers, with both iOS 8 and next generation Android, may result in a cheaper and faster health service and a better patient customer journey.
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Innovation

How to See Around Corners and Stay Relevant Towards 2050 Megachange

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Demographic trends are powerful and sweeping. It took 250,000 years for the world’s population to reach one billion people. In just 200 years, population growth accelerated faster to reach seven billion. In 2050, Earth will be home to nine billion people.

This growth will not be uniform: some nations’ populations will soar. Half of the population increase by 2050 will happen in Africa, which will hold three times as many people as Europe. Nigeria will have about 390 million citizens by 2050, roughly the same as the US; by 2100, Nigeria will be the world’s third most populous nation.

By 2050, some 30 megacities will hold more than 10 million people each and 70% of the world’s people will live in cities. More people will speak Mandarin, but because it is so difficult to learn, Mandarin will not replace English, which will remain dominant.

Islam will have expanded due to population growth. The number of people who follow a religion will grow just because China has recently allowed its citizens to be openly religious, and its enormous population ensures that religions will gain more adherents.

The world of 2050 will be far more connected. Since 2025 cloud computing will have become the one computing paradigm, and let anyone store data anywhere. People will gain more control over their data and will try to protect their privacy. Crowdsourcing will play a larger role in generating ideas. The public will be a greater force in driving communication, which will be simpler and more networked. Social networks won’t just be for entertainment; they’ll play bigger roles in the work world, as we can expect more than half of the population will be always connected and online in a social supercloud.

Democratic countries, striving to make a meaning of the word ‘citizenship’ out of geographic boundaries — 200M Italics widespread all around the world have a much greater impact than 60M “Italiani” in Italy — will become more authoritarian, while countries with more rigid systems will experience pressure from their citizens to become more open.

Nations like Brazil and China have already surpassed expectations because economic growth builds on itself. Emerging nations will keep growing and by 2050 they’ll be fully emerged. Goldman Sachs predicts that China’s gross domestic product will hit $70 trillion, far more than US GDP. Europe will have to raise the pitch of its voice and say even more interesting things to be the bearer of values that have grounded the development of Western society as we know it.

History indicates that as the middle class grows, it invests in education. This will accelerate emerging economies even more, since innovations spread more quickly through an educated workforce.

Globalization will fully develop by 2050, as today this global trend is not as developed as people think. Foreign direct investment is less than 10% of all fixed investment, and only a few people study (2%) or work (3%) outside their homelands. Globalization will coincide with Asia’s re-emergence as the dominant force in the world economy.

During this globalization, Asia’s share of the world economy will almost double, and the US’s and Europe’s shares will shrink proportionally. As the economy globalizes, so will innovation, with disruptive innovations taking place in transportation (self-driving cars), wearables, neuromarketing, labor, stem cell and genome research, nano tech and at least one major breakthrough research that we are not able to predict here.

We will continue to explore space, but more pragmatically than in the early decades of the space race. Satellites, robot and space-based observatories will multiply, but manned flights will decrease. Several more decades of observation should let people determine if life exists on other planets. This will further challenge the definition of what it means to be human: are we alone in the cosmos searching for meaning, or is life on Earth one of the many variations of life in the universe?

Topics: Human Capital Management Society Future Innovation Social Networking Neuromarketing Automotive Retail Wearable

Personalize The Digital Shopping Experience Turning Desires Into Needs

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Neuromarketing key discoveries of this decade applied to digital customer experience show insights on how to connect with customers in new ways across physical touch points, typically the stores, combined with customer-facing smartphone and tablet apps.

Sophisticated brain scanning machines and physical monitoring devices provide insight into consumer behavior, allowing marketers influence it by adjusting stimuli to draw out a desired mental and physical response in customers during their digital shopping experience.

Going shopping is a pleasurable leisure activity. People enjoy looking for something special, both online - mainly on their mobile devices - and at the store. Successful bargain hunters experience a physical reaction similar to that felt by someone winning a prize or taking a drug. The heart rate accelerates, and the beta waves in the frontal region of the brain vibrate at a high frequency.

Customers don’t differentiate anymore between what they “want” and what they “need.” When they start desiring something, it becomes a want-need and they strive to satisfy that desire.

Digital marketers can increase this longing by using such tactics as:

  • Make shoppers work for their purchases – Searching for bargains among messy, packed racks or negotiating prices makes customers earn a purchase.
  • Create a scarcity – The message is buy now, compete for a scarce item or miss out.
  • That’s not all – Retailers cut prices, offer bonus items or incentives, like buy-one-get-one-free deals.
  • Create a sense of inadequacy – You have bad breath, body odor and stained teeth. A cure awaits in a product or service.
  • Price manipulations – Sellers reduce the amount of product in a package while keeping the same price or they price items at €2.99 rather than €3.

Companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter collect detailed profiles on every user to develop campaigns designed to operate below consumers’ awareness levels.

Similarly, tools like Right-Time Personalization (pdf), one of the main features of the Neosperience Cloud, can generate personalized customer messages using algorithms based on the titanic amounts of detailed personal information available about Internet users and their past purchase and social network profile and behavior.

In the Age of the Customer, customizing your marketing to match users’ preferences and interests, tailoring content marketing and communications based on customers’ known preferences and desires produce a sincere emotional response in recipients.

The resulting connection between people and your brand forms at a deep-rooted level within the brain, causing people to mistake that manufactured connection for personal opinion rather than an instilled commercial message.

Start today building a personalization layer on your digital customer experience strategy to manufacture a deep emotional connection between your brand and some desirable personal goal or worthy aspiration. And never forget to make a wise and ethical use of this immense power.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Neosperience Neuromarketing Retail Fashion Luxury and Beauty

How The Wearable Revolution Changes The Digital Customer Experience

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Now that the Apple Watch is here, ready to be sold everywhere in the world, the trend topic is about smartwatches and wearable technology. According to recent researches, this new device is expected to take a large market share from other devices. Not in the future but right now. It is inevitable that wearable technology will change digital customer experience.

It is not accidental if the buzz about Apple Watch is even more pressing than the one about iPhone 6. Numbers speak for themselves: 50 million units of wearable technology are expected to be sold in 2014 alone, 180 million by 2018. The wearable market is growing even faster than the smartphone revolution (five-times faster, this is the incredible rate). Apple Watch, Google Glass, activity trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone UP and even the Oculus Rift, they're all leading characters of the wearable revolution. Devices that are already changing retail and the way companies plan and execute customer experience strategies.

The first example of widespread worn electronics was the calculator watch, back in the 80's, but today wearable technology is a generic category that includes different clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced technology. All packed with catching design (thus the name 'fashionable technology'). Every single device has its own influence on digital marketing and helps companies bridge the gap between in-store and online customer experiences. 

Google Glass is an optical head-mounted display released in 2014. It allows users to communicate with the device and internet via natural language vocal commands. Once you wear it you won't even need your hands anymore. Google Glass is currently tested among a variety of industries, including medical, fashion and luxuryfood and security. Main uses for business could be: digital showroom, product comparison, location based notifications and advertising.

Apple Watch, designed and produced by Apple, it finally implements customer experience-related features such as long awaited NFC technology, adding one more thing: Apple Pay. A new process, based on a 'secure element' included in these new devices (iWatch and iPhone 6) designed to improve customers' life and their purchase experience. Once customers have added card information to Passbook, Apple uses a dynamic code that allows to pay with one touch, thanks to link between the iPhone payment components and fingerprint reader. This could revolutionize banking and financial services, as makes purchases - both in-store and online - easy, fast and secure.

Activity trackers (i.e. armband or wristband) are devices that monitor and record fitness and health metrics like distance walked, calorie consumption, heartbeat and quality of sleep. They answer the need for self-tracking and can be used by companies for customer related marketing activities connected to Gamification and Right-time Personalization. 

Companies are now able to collect a huge amount of data thanks to wearable technology. The use you will do of this data in your digital customer experience strategy is the most important decision for those of you who want to compete in the exciting arena of our Age of Customer.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Society Future Innovation iOS Retail Fashion Luxury and Beauty Inbound Marketing Payment Wearable

How Apple Pay Makes the Difference in Your Digital Customer Experience

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Money is probably as old as human civilization. People once used sheep and goats as money: domestic animals and food served as currency in ancient times. Metal coins have been around since 700 B.C., and the Chinese began using paper money in 140 B.C. It became a popular means of tender during Europe’s Renaissance and later in the American colonies.

But paper money has drawbacks. For instance, it’s easy to steal. And if something valuable, such as gold, does not back it, notes can proliferate and lose their worth.

After World War II, money began to convert from paper to plastic. In 1950, Diners Club introduced a credit card that people in New York City could use to pay for restaurant meals.

Payment-card technology turned a new page in 1979, when Visa brought out an industry first, the electronic data-capturing terminal. This is the now-commonplace system whereby a merchant or consumer swipes a plastic card with a magnetic stripe through a unit that automatically secures authentication and approval from the cardholder’s bank.

Today, with 12B USD between credit and debits and 200M credit card transactions a day just in US, the way people pay for items matters more than ever.

Now in most developed countries credit cards are the dominant payment form. However, the ubiquitous credit-card magnetic stripe, with exposed numbers that make it so easy to compromise is as outdated as VHS videotapes.

A truly mobile wallet has long be described as imminent, but it remained elusive; most industry efforts has been a disappointment or have not yet worked well enough for mainstream adoption.

One reason for this might be that most people that worked on mobile wallets started by focusing on a business model centered on their own interests, instead of focusing on customers and their experience.

Following its user-experience centered tradition, Apple unveiled yesterday a new payment process called Apple Pay.

Apple Pay key element is a new chip, called “secure element”, embedded in the upcoming iPhone 6 and 6S that keeps your personal information secure and private, linked to Passbook.

With Apple Pay, that will be release in October as an update to iOS 8, you can easily use your future iPhone 6 camera to take your card information and add it to Passbook. After that, you can just pay with your touch, thanks to link between the iPhone payment components and fingerprint reader.

It’s important to notice that when you add or use a credit card, Apple doesn’t store the credit card number or merchant information. When you pay, Apple uses instead a dynamic code that last for the duration of that only transaction, that will remain private between you, your merchant and your bank.

This for the physical world, thanks to NFC-enabled POS (Point of Sales) devices.

To extend this innovation to make online purchasing just as fast and secure, improving a process that is really really cumbersome, with long forms you have to fill out every time you shop for an item, Apple introduced yesterday one-touch checkout.

As in the physical world, also online you can make a purchase within a digital customer experience app with no card number entry, no need to type addresses, or expiration date, in essence: no card information shared with merchant, thanks to the one time payment number generated by the secure element embedded in your phone.

At Neosperience, we bet Google and PayPal have been up all night updating their strategic plans. It looks like that the time to allow your customer pay you with a touch has finally come.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Society Neosperience Apps Innovation Neosperience iOS Retail Financial Services Fashion Luxury and Beauty Payment