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Read These Essential Books And Start 2018 With Momentum

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What is the best way to jump start your new year's resolutions? Reading insightful and enlightening books, of course. In this whirlwind of social and technological disruptions, digital leaders must focus on the continuous improvement of themselves, if they aim at improving their strategy. 

We all know how important is to learn from the experiences of the others, and books can help you achieve a more profound and accurate vision of your environment, customers, and business. Here is our list - revamped for 2018 - of the essential books that will inspire you and the ones around you all year long.

We originally published this list at the end of 2015. Of course, a lot has happened in the last two years: the smartphone has definitely become our daily companion; new technologies have taken the center stage (i.e. the Internet of Things) and old one have gained a new bright light (virtual and augmented reality).

Ultimately, the social rules have evolved and people too. Many books have tackled the challenge of the digital disruption and its consequences on our life as human beings, customers, entrepreneurs. 

To be truly effective in understanding and engaging your digital customers, you need to be willing to learn. Learning is so important, in fact, that we have included it as one of the seven steps in the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a step-by-step guide to deliver an amazing digital customer experience.

Know yourself, know your customers, know your context. Stay current; embrace the constant flow of digital innovations; enhance the user experience at every single touch point of the customer journey.

We corssed the threshold that separates the old world (with traditional business patterns and marketing funnel) and the new world (where empowered digital customers dictate the brand agenda).

Changes happen so fast that even the most successful brands - Apple, Google, Amazon - do not rest on their laurels. Digital business is a work in progress, by definition.

The next disruption may come from unexpected places: the Internet of Things, psychographics, machine learning and predictive analytics, proximity marketing, wearable technology, cloud computing, innovative social media, virtual and augmented reality.

None will ever grow by staying closed in his comfort zone. You must confront with the best-in-class, because the only way to see the future is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Here is our updated list of the essential readings you should not miss.

THE LIFE PROJECT, HELEN PEARSON

"The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story Of 70,000 Ordinary Lives", by science journalist Helen Pearson, narrates the longest-running study of human development in the world, started in 1946 and grown to encompass five generations of children. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them.

PRE-SUASION, ROBERT CIALDINI

Included in the list of the best business books of 2016, "Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way To Influence And Persuade" is the latest effort by social psychologist Robert Cialdini, author of the renowned "Influence". The book explains how to capitalize the "privileged moment for change" to deliver your message in the most effective way. To change minds but also states of mind. 

DISRUPTING DIGITAL BUSINESS, R “RAY” WANG

In the world where companies no longer control the conversation, they need to learn how to create an authentic experience for their customers. Digital leaders must shift from creating promises to keeping promises. In this era of social connections and constant connectivity, the experience becomes the main competitive differentiator, influencing the way brands plan and execute their strategy.  

DEEP THINKING, GARRY KASPAROV

We all know Garry Kasparov as the greatest chess player of all times. With his book, titled "Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends And Human Creativity Begins", he also proves himself to be a great explorer of the artificial intelligence. The story starts in 1997 with the chess match against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, a watershed moment in the history of technology.

THE THANK YOU ECONOMY, GARY VAYNERCHUK

The entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk proclaims, with data-driven evidence, that we have entered into a new era for business. In this one, companies need to scale their communication to a one-to-one level, no matter how big they are and how much money they invest. The best way to do it is to harness the power from social media, used as a word-of-mouth and customer experience platform.

THE TELOMERE EFFECT, ELIZABETH BLACKBURN & ELISSA EPEL

Have you wondered why some sixty-year-olds look and feel like forty-year-olds and why some forty-year-olds look and feel like sixty-year-olds? Molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of telomeres. In this book, with the help of her colleague Elissa Epel, she highlights how the changes we can make to our daily habits can protect our telomeres and increase our health spans.

THE STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE, JOSEPH MICHELLI

Why should I pay more for an average coffee? The secret behind the 'Starbucks formula' lies in the ability to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, focusing on the overall customer experience rather than the product. If you want to understand what loyalty means in the digital era, Starbucks is your landmark brand: personalized experiences, employee engagement, omni-channel customer journey.

THE NORDSTROM WAY, ROBERT SPECTOR

Nordstrom, a very well-known retail brand, is universally recognized as one of the best examples of customer service excellence. In fact, all other companies use it as a cornerstone, aiming at becoming the “Nordstrom of their industry”. What is the secret of this enduring - even in economic turmoil - success? The direct link between empowering your employees and creating a long-term relationship with your customers.

MASTERING LEADERSHIP, ROBERT J. ANDERSON & WILLIAM A. ADAMS

Is leadership a competitive advantage, or is it just costing you in terms of time, money and personal development? Today's escalating complexity puts leadership effectiveness at a premium. Mastering Leadership involves developing the effectiveness of leaders - individually and collectively - and turning that leadership into a competitive advantage. This book aims at offering "an integrated framework for breakthrough performance and extraordinary business results".

THE CUSTOMER MANIFESTO, PAMELA HERRMANN

Let’s start with two numbers: 80 percent of businesses believe they are providing superior customer experience, yet only 8 percent of their customers agree they provide it. The disconnect is due to the fact that amazing customer experience is not the result of a program, it is the effect of a human and personal connection, across all touch points. This is where successful entrepreneurs start, to grow their business.

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FIASCO, ANDREW REISE

To learn the foundations of an amazing experience for customers, you must learn not just the best practices and success stories, but also the misguided adventures. Using a fictional situation, the book - written by the experts of Andrew Reise Consulting - tells the story of how you can start from a fiasco (a YouTube video, in this case) to build a successful customer experience strategy.

OUTSIDE IN, HARLEY MANNING

This book is about the power of putting customers at the center of your business. Customer experience is the most powerful - and yet misunderstood - element of corporate strategy today. Your business value is not established just by the quality of the output (your product) but also by the quality of the connection between you and your customers (the experience). Identifying and solving the problems inside your organization has the potential to increase dramatically sales and decrease costs.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG, JEANNE BLISS

The theory is good, case studies are even better. This book is all about true stories that can teach you how to improve your strategy. In the end, you will understand the difference between having customers who like you and customers who love you (truly, madly, deeply). Loyal and engaged customers are the key, and the author has studied tons of companies to identify the five decisions that drive extreme customer loyalty, in good times and bad.

INBOUND MARKETING, BRIAN HALLIGAN & DHARMESH SHAH

Inbound marketing is a new paradigm in the relationship with customers, a methodology that replaces interruption with communication and value creation. This book, written by the two founders of the automation platform Hubspot, gives you all introductory hints to change your content strategy and ultimately attract, convert, close and delight. Transforming your customers from complete strangers to loyal promoters.

TO SELL IS HUMAN, DANIEL PINK

If you need a fresh look at the art of selling in the age of digital disruption, this book will offer a new perspective, based on the idea that we are all salespeople. Among all other things, the author describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, and the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive. Because, in sales, numbers matter.

Of course, there are lots of great readings we did non include in this brief list. Please, use the comments to suggest your personal favorites.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Storytelling Inbound Marketing Mobile

Content Marketing Guidelines To Improve Engagement In 2016

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What is the purpose of creating content? Content marketing can serve many company goals, but there is no doubt that customer engagement is always one of the most important. Also, one of the most difficult to get.

Memorable contents promote engagement, and that is the tipping point to build a digital customer experience that stands out from the crowd. As 2016 is approaching, let’s focus on the content marketing guidelines that will help you improve engagement, online and offline.

The idea of content marketing is not something totally unprecedented. In the United States, entrepreneurs have been employing content strategies since the end of the 1800s. There is no doubt, though, that the use of content in marketing initiatives has become more prevalent - and relevant - with the advent of the Internet.

In the last few years, we have witnessed an absolute blast in the use of digital contents: a recent research by Nielsen estimated that roughly 27 million pieces of content are shared on the web every single day. By 2020, the digital universe will grow to 40 thousand exabytes, mostly made of digital and social contents.

It was with the emergence of social networks (before) and connected smartphones (after) that the delivery became as important as the creation. What makes content relevant - for a specific customer - is where and how to deliver it, in terms of channels and communities.

Now even the most traditional and closed-minded companies have noticed the power of content. They are betting their marketing odds on it, and all they want from it is engagement. Everyone wants engagement; the problem is none is quite sure how to get it.

The increasing interest brings new opportunities to share your story and let the entire world know how incredible you are (and your customer experience is). The downsides of this enthusiasm, however, are the saturation of the digital world and the skyrocketing budgets. How can you overcome both hurdles?

Start with four basic premises:

  • If you think that content only adapts to the awareness stage, you will likely miss the unified vision of the new customer journey map.
  • If you create content that does not promote engagement, you will likely just waste your time and budget;
  • If you send out contents, but you do not know and understand your digital customers, you will likely speak to an uninterested audience;  
  • If you think that one single content is good for all contexts, you will likely miss the power of personalized and contextual contents.
  • If you think that content marketing is once and for all, you will likely become an ‘old’ brand, sidelined as static and boring.

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Great content always moves at the same pace with society. In fact, we can represent content marketing like a jigsaw with many shuffled pieces (and it is your duty to put everything in place):

  1. The brand identity - the history and legacy that brought you here;
  2. The inner reason - why you do what you do;
  3. The business vision - what makes you different;
  4. The story you narrate - between tradition and evolution;
  5. The technology you use - to evolve and involve your customers in your story;
  6. The channels you deploy - and the innovative tools you use to spread your word;
  7. The context - that makes content relevant. To be found is more important than broadcasting.
  8. The audience you talk to - and how they feel you are adding value and making their life easier.

Easy, isn’t it? New tools and technologies give you incredible opportunities to connect with your customers in more meaningful ways. However, it is not enough to simply be creating content because too many brands consistently share great stuff. Success is not a matter of luck; it is the result of brilliant strategies.

You need to rock your strategy and take content for what it is (in the mobile era): a key element of the digital customer experience. This is the only way to empower your customers and avoid spamming them across your digital properties. As we prepare to enter a busy 2016, here are few guidelines to be sure you are walking the way to engagement.

HAVE PURPOSE

A purpose is what gives sense and direction to your marketing strategy. Content without purpose is probably useless and worthless. Establish a long-term goal for your global strategy and a short term-goal for any action you take. And adapt them constantly.

CREATE VALUE

Purpose and value are strictly connected. The first one is about your brand identity, but the value is related to your customers. Where does it come from? To add value to your content, start with customer’s needs and questions, not your product or brand.

GIVE BACK

When connecting with empowered customers, one-way communication is outdated and ineffective. Digital customers expect to be part of your content: if you claim attention, start by giving back attention (especially on social media). The only way to customer’s heart.

PLAN CONTENT

Just throwing contents on your site, on social media or around the web will not get you anywhere, if you don’t have a plan. You need to plan to build a strategy that is truly competitive and compelling. Otherwise, search engines and customers will never notice you.

MIND THE MOMENT

In content marketing, there are leaders and followers. It is not the budget you spend that will decide who you are. Innovative strategies are not a matter of money; they come from brilliant ideas. Do not follow what others are doing (in terms of new tools, channels); try to create your own trend instead.

MIND THE CONTEXT

In our times, shaped by mobile devices, content is nothing without context. As confirmed by tons of researches, brand differentiating experiences originate from the ability to engage customers where and when it matters most, across all steps of the customer journey.

BLUR ONLINE & OFFLINE

The necessity to create context-aware content, together with the pervasiveness of connected devices, create an interesting corollary. The distance that separates the offline and online worlds is blurring, and you need to adapt content accordingly, connecting both experiences in one, comprehensive, omni-channel customer experience.

MAKE IT PERSONAL

Value mostly descend from the context, and the context is represented by the union of where (you share your content) and who (you are talking to). The Age of the Customer could be also called the era of personalization, the refusal of one-fits-all solutions. Customers demand personal experiences and tailor-cut contents, and this trend will only accelerate in the next years.

STAY SHEARABLE

Distribution is what makes content relevant. You can have the best piece of content in the whole Internet, but if you don’t know how (and where) to share it, it will lose all its power. Be sure to push shearable contents. How? Be trustworthy, helpful, current, and finally make customers’ life easier.

EMBRACE DATA

While companies focus their efforts on producing content, they are not always measuring it (less than a quarter, according to a recent research). What is the point of spending resources and money if you do not measure results? Data is what gives a perspective to your activities. To stand out, invest your time in measuring valuable content metrics (i.e. social and search engines).

Of course, genuine engagement is nourished with high-quality contents (What you say) and rooted in your brand identity (Who you are). But you should always remember that it is the digital customer experience that you deliver (What you do) what will ultimately make you memorable.

If you look for more insights and statistics about content marketing strategy, check out the 5 Content Marketing Facts You Need To Know (To Be Truly Epic).

 

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 Storytelling Content Marketing Mobile

10 Digital Strategy Tips To Overcome the Business Transformation

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Business is undergoing a huge transformation - call it revolution - driven by emerging technologies. Marketers and entrepreneurs need to learn how to understand, engage and delight their digital customers, delivering experiences that are meaningful in every (micro) moment of truth.

In this world shaped by mobile devices - where customers are constantly connected and information is readily available with a tap on the smartphone - what is better than finding smart digital strategy tips to innovate your business plans?

Look around and you will see that every single organization is now involved in the endless search for revolutionary roads to become best-in-class examples of digital transformation. Long gone are the days when ‘digital’ was overlooked and sidelined as the weird cousin of traditional marketing. Innovation, today, inevitably translates into digital innovation.

In the Age of the Digital Customer, marketing planning needs to fulfill two different requirements:

  • On the one hand, develop and narrate the brand storytelling, building upon company’s values and uniqueness to assert loyalty;
  • On the other hand, engage customers across all channels and touch points, delivering a true real-time customer experience on every channel.

The avalanche of mobile devices has deeply changed the way people live, communicate and connect to each other. Instant decisions and micro moments have replaced long decision making, and the entire customer experience comes out disrupted from the process.

You need to embrace the change, but how? Not every company is ready to adapt, while it is extremely easy to miss the mark, committing digital strategy mistakes that might kill all your efforts. When that happens - no matter what you do to recover - you will likely lose customers.

The first step, then, is to take the necessary precautions. It is evident that traditional patterns are not able to ensure that your campaigns are executed effectively. In this ever-changing scenario, old strategies cannot help you in the search for tips and good advice, even if they were winning only a few years ago.

Why that? What happened that made the old certainties crumble?

  • The analog and digital worlds collided.
  • Disruptive devices connected into a network.
  • Life got fragmented into micro moments.
  • Young digital customers took center stage.
  • The new customer journey exploded into multiple touch points.

New horizons mean new patterns. Mobile technology means huge opportunities, if you only know how to catch them all. So, it is about time to get right to the point, the 10 digital strategy tips to inspire your business revolution.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

Before even thinking and planning your digital strategy, it is critical that you know who you are talking to and what are the needs and desires that move them. How do you get that knowledge? First step: build your buyer personas, semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. Second step: map the customer journey across all touch points (digital and physical).

SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS

Of course, every single marketer wants to get the best results in the shortest time possibile. When wise men say “always aim for the moon” they forget to add that - at least in marketing - you can only reach the moon if you set achievable mid-term goals. You will then land among the stars step by step, knowing what is good and improving what is wrong.

STAY DIGITAL FRIENDLY

Do we need to talk about the Mobilegeddon? The most recent changes in Google’s search engine algorithm have brought the attention to the importance of a digital-savvy strategy. If you do not have a digital-friendly presence, with a special consideration for the mobile experience, then you are not talking the same language your customer talk.

FIND YOUR OWN VOICE

Let’s be honest here: you will never be able to connect with customers, create amazing content marketing and engage with meaningful experiences if you don't know who you are in the first place. As perfectly shown by the Lego success story, your company is defined not only by what you produce and sell but also by what you are and narrate.Your archetypes and storytelling.

DESIGN YOUR OWN ENGAGEMENT

Engagement, the pain point that any single organization is trying to solve in these days. It is the absolute need to create a relationship with customers and pave the way to loyalty (the new currency of digital times). If you want to stay top of mind, do not forget to create unique contents and memorable experiences. And use gamification to enhance your strategy: if you can't win them, play with them.

PERSONALIZE CONTENTS

Personalization is the keyword to understand why customers today are so difficult to put into standard categories. Digital customers - and millennials above all - refuse to be treated as one broad mass with undefined behaviors. They demand tailored content, served at the right time on the right device. Talk to everyone and you will end up talking to no one at all.

THINK AND ACT MOBILE

Right-time personalization could hardly exist before the mobile era. The brand could not locate the customer nor identify peculiar behaviors or patterns. Then the smartphone came in, with its constant connectivity, and everything changed: our daily life was splitted into micro moments, hanging in the balance between digital and physical worlds. Mobile is not just a plus, it is a categorical imperative if you want to survive in today’s markets.

UPDATE AND STAY CURRENT

Do you still rely on that strategy that was so good just five years ago? Do you think that you don’t really need to include the Apple Watch, the iBeacon or wearable technology in your customer journey mapping? Think again. Don’t forget that the digital transformation in an ever flowing river. Stay current, ready and willing to embrace every single innovation that could change your customer experience.

PLAY ON DATA

Every science is rooted on data. Marketing and digital strategy make no difference. The technologies that surround us produce a humongous quantity of information. Some are useful some are just ground noise; it is up to you to tell good from bad, using data to understand your customers and learn how to engage them effectively. Big Data is not just a name for speculative analysis. It is a science in itself.

NEVER STOP TESTING

Testing and learning, the last step of your actual strategy and the first one of your next strategy. Analysis should be inherent in everything you do with your strategy, and it is only by testing what you are doing that you will be able to refocus budget, goals and technological support. Ultimately learning from your mistakes in a looping cycle. Forever only lasts until tomorrow.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Ways You Can Use Mobile To Improve Customer Experience

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 Innovation Branding Storytelling Content Marketing Mobile

Born To Build: 5 Timeless Customer Experience Lessons From LEGO

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What can customer experience leaders learn from the remarkable success of The LEGO Group? What is the connection between LEGO plastic bricks and digital marketing? None, at first glance. If you look deeply, though, you will see that the maker of children's toys that has a lot to teach.

There is a reason if the company has quadrupled its sales in the decade when virtual entertainment has replaced physical. That reason is the ability to build a unique brand, both anchored to tradition and open to innovation. The essence of digital transformation.

Our children do not play like we used to. They do not like what we like, yet there are LEGO sets in almost every house. And the LEGO playing experience has not changed at all over the years. From wooden playthings to plastic bricks, from video games to movies, the little toys are everywhere.   

Founded in Denmark in 1932, The LEGO Group history spans nearly one hundred years of building creativity. While other classic brands have struggled - and still struggle - to survive the avalanche of digital screen and video games, LEGO has managed to overcome the challenge. Ultimately becoming one the world's great brands, the most valuable toy company (ahead of the giant Mattel), and one of the most loved icons of all times.

What is the secret of this enduring success? We can sum it up by quoting two catchphrases from past LEGO advertising campaigns:

I Can Build What I Want” - Using LEGOs you can build whatever your creativity brings out. Lego marketers have built the brand the same way, decade after decade. Despite its century-long tradition, LEGO is all but a traditional company. Ready to innovate with eyes wide open, the company is devoted to creativity, without walls and prejudices.  

Everything is Awesome” - LEGO marketers are great builders of content, none can deny this fact. No matter what tools they are using to engage customers, what is really important is the quality of the output. LEGO video games constantly amaze users and critics, and the same happens with the movies. Everything is awesome when we are living our dreams.

The toy industry is well known to be the battlefield of a fierce competition. Marketing strategies need to accomplish two different goals: on the one hand they must attract, engage and delight children; on the other hand they must persuade parents. Given these premises, great content marketing is the only way to build a strong brand.

Easier said than done. Since the expiration of the last standing LEGO patent in 1989, we have witnessed the flowering of the blocks market. A growing number of companies has entered the competition, producing plastic bricks that are very similar to LEGOs.

Just take a look at the shelves in toy stores, and you will see dozens of alternatives. Through the years some have failed, some have reached a temporary success, very few have built a distinctive identity. None has really threatened the LEGO supremacy.

First come, first win? Of course, the fact that they have been the first to produce building blocks has given an aura of familiarity to the company. But this is not enough to explain the long-lasting (and ever growing) success of the Legos.

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Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, highlighting the five timeless customer experience lessons we can learn from the tiny LEGO blocks.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS

For some industries, the buyer persona includes both the customer and the user. This logic does not apply to the toy industry, where the users are hardly ever the ones who make the purchase. When you build your strategy, it is easy to lose sight and underestimate the customer, focusing on the user (or vice versa). LEGO knows the difference between the two entities and constantly works to appeal both with tailor-cut content activities.

NEVER STOP BUILDING

Never stop building is yet another great motto taken from the company’s history. In a sense, it enshrines the entire LEGO philosophy: creativity is not a bird box. Creativity is a never-ending process that puts together what we are (as a brand) and what the world around us has become (mostly due to technology). Success, in these terms, is about finding new ways to improve and adapt to customers.

BORN TO BUILD CONTENT

A memorable customer experience always lies on great content, even more so after the digital disruption. LEGO is probably one of the best companies in the world at engaging and retaining customers through the use of valuable content. They do not just sell; they tell stories. LEGO’s storytelling is not about the product, it is about the customer: a story you can relate to is the foundations of great content marketing.

EMBRACE THE EVOLUTION

What if LEGO continued to produce only the original sets? One critical quality of the company is the ability to embrace the evolution of technology and tastes. LEGO methodology is set on constant change, showing that - in the digital era - you cannot live in just one channel alone. New sets (i.e. DC Comics, Simpsons, Dr. Who), magazines & comic books, movies, installation art, video games: they do whatever it takes to engage customers and oversee every channel.

CREATE BRAND BELONGING

Customers, they do not simply buy a product. They buy that specific product because they want to be part of a story. Identity and content create a sense of belonging, deployed across all channels and tools: community, social media, mobile apps, events dedicated to ‘builders’ of all ages. Have you ever given a child a product similar to LEGO but from a different brand? Then, you know what we are talking about.

Here is a huge lesson all digital entrepreneurs should learn from The LEGO Company: even when you have the best product on the market, the key to success is to create an amazing customer experience. The experience is the main brand differentiator in markets where clients can choose from hundreds of similar products.

Even when your brand is universally acclaimed, you can lose all your customers in the blink of an eye if you cannot evolve with customers. Loyalty is never carved in stone, and The LEGO Company knows it well. Evolution is in the brand’s DNA, and marketers are devoted to innovation in every single aspect of their job.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Digital Marketing Lessons From Game Of Thrones

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 Social Networking Branding Storytelling Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile

#INBOUND15: 5 Marketing Presentations You Must See (And Probably Missed)

 inbound15_marketing_presentationsOne week has passed since Hubspot’s #INBOUND15 epilogue, but the voices from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center still resonate in our ears. Given the incredible number of 204 total sessions, for those who had the opportunity to attend the event it was impossible to take part in all keynotes and talking.

Whether you were running - like we did - back and forth around the BCEC to find a seat, or were unable to be present at all the #INBOUND15, you will gladly welcome these top 5 marketing presentations you might have missed (and should definitely see).

Of course, this is just a selection of all interesting sessions that took place at the four-days long conference. Search engine optimization, content marketing, digital transformation, the disruption of sales process, social media marketing, business growth in the age of mobile: all pieces of the inbound puzzle had a fair share of attention.

The 14,000 attending marketers have been pretty busy taking notes and sharing opinions and comments. Luckily enough, their hard work is not going lost, thanks to Inbound.org, the ‘inbounders community’ where you can find all other insightful slide decks and presentations and personal notes.

Here are the 5 marketing-oriented presentations we have appreciated most. A good reminder of the amazing things that happened at #INBOUND15, waiting for the 2016 edition.

“50 Actionable Tips For Launching a Successful Lead Generation Campaign”, Amanda Sibley

A lead generation campaign is the foundational element of any inbound marketing strategy. Amanda Sibley pointed out the different stages of the content creation, highlighting the importance of timing and employee involvement in the process, and ultimately suggesting the 50 action-driven tips for a successful campaign.

“Live To Tell The Tale”, Shawn Pfunder

The complete title of Pfunder’s presentation is “Live To Tell The Tale - Leveraging Story To Define Your Brand and Craft Marketing Strategy”, and it says it all. It should not surprise that content marketing took center stage in many of the sessions. The creation and distribution of useful, quality content is the key element of the inbound funnel (Attract - Convert - Close - Delight).

“The 30 Minute Marketing Plan”, Eric Keiles

Is it possible to understand the rules of inbound marketing in just 30 minutes? The answer is yes, according to Eric Keiles. A 30 minute marketing plan is enough to eliminate the most common challenges of modern markets. The presentation was a mix of real-world examples and actionable tips, to help you focus more on strategy than tactics and learn how to leverage your message.

“Technology Trends Shifting Customer Behavior”, Kyle Lacy

This one is probably our single most favorite session in the whole #INBOUND15 agenda. Filled with incredible insights on marketing and business, this presentations aimed at showing why technology is changing the way we think, buy and communicate. The key takeaways? Moments matter (remember Google’s Micro-Moments?); whoever owns the audience owns the experience; our entire economy is being rebuilt around the idea of sharing.

“Revenge of the Storymakers: How Brands are Battling Storytelling”, David Berkowitz

You are what you narrate: we all understand the importance of stories in the creation of the brand identity. If you are able to master your storytelling, you will conquer customers’ heart. Berkowitz, however, goes one step further: what is really critical is not ‘your’ story, it is your customers’ story. With examples from Starbucks, Visa, Coca-Cola, this presentation explained why brand are building on the stories their customers tell.

Now it's your turn. Did you attend the #INBOUND15 conference? What were your favorite sessions? Use the comments to share your thoughts, opinions and links to the presentations.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 3 Marketing Takeaways From #INBOUND15

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 Innovation Social Networking Storytelling Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile

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

10 Digital Strategy Mistakes That Can Kill Your Marketing Efforts

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What are the secrets to a great digital strategy? We have entered a new era of marketing, yet digital strategy is still too often sidelined as the poor cousin of traditional planning. The next generation of customer experience requires a totally different approach.

Even when digital is not overlooked, it still seems that many brands play the game not knowing why they are actually creating a strategy in the first place. This lack of analysis exposes them to (avoidable) mistakes that might kill their marketing efforts.

If you search on Google, you find out tons of discussions about the best practices to shape an amazing digital strategy. In this time of constant technological (and social) changes, it is surely easier to specify what you should do, rather than point out what are the most critical digital strategy mistakes.

While there is no magic recipe to fix all your customer experience troubles, analysts still prefer to focus on the virtuous practices that brands need to adopt to face the challenge of digital disruption. Talking about what's wrong exposes to a big task: critically analyze ourselves, our work and the results we have achieved to date. 

And that is exactly what we will do in this article: we have traced the 'worst practices', in other words the top 10 don'ts for developing a digital marketing strategy. Mistakes -small or big - that could cost you more than you think, doing harm more than good and reducing the power of your digital customer experience.

Before going on with the list, we need to outline the scenario we all - brands and customers - live in. A world defined by few major changes:

  • The fragmentation of our daily life into a sequence of Micro Moments, inspired by specific needs and desires.
  • The passage from traditional consumers to empowered customers and the dawn of the new generation of digital customers.
  • The transformation of the traditional customer journey into a new, complex map across different devices and touch points.
Only if you recognize these seeds of evolution, you will be able to adapt your strategy and compete for the most important element in the mobile era: customer engagement and loyalty.

digital-strategy-donts

We are facing a revolution driven by mobile technology, where traditional marketing patterns and methodologies are not effective anymore. Old and static strategies won't help your company to adapt and grow in a dynamic scenario shaped by smartphones, smartwatches, wearables, iBeacons, and virtual reality.

A new era is always full of opportunities, but also threats. What decides whether you succeed or not is your ability to catch the rainbow and avoid the pitfalls.

That is the reason why you should carefully take note of the 10 digital strategy mistakes. They will help you create an amazing digital customer experience.

YOU BECOME SPAM

Do you know who is your digital customer? The inbound methodology is all about attracting rather than pushing communications. When you send out emails, post on social media or create any other kind of company content, you need to target the right customers at the right moment (specific buyer personas). In the mobile era, talking to everybody equals talking to nobody, and that the 'spammer' label is easily taken.


YOU JUST WASTE MONEY

The creation of buyer personas and the mapping of the customer journey should not be intended as a mere speculative analysis. Too many companies focus their efforts on ineffective actions or technologies not suited to their specific industry. When you don't know your customers, and ignore the evolution of social dynamics, you only pave the way to bad customer experience.


YOU FORGET CUSTOMERS

We are submerged in an ecosystem where the digital customer is the key to deliver amazing experiences. All your efforts should start from - and be dedicated to - that customer. Your brand is valued not just for what you produce or sell but even more for the experience you create and the story you narrate. Underestimate customer behavior and the door to their heart and mind will be out of reach.


YOU DON'T TAKE RISKS

New strategies, new actions, new approaches. Whatever makes you different from competitors could be your winning point. Marketers should benever afraid of embracing the change. You can't rely on the 'no change is good change' philosophy anymore. Mobile disruption opens huge opportunities, you just need to pick what is best for you (just think about innovations like the Apple Watch, mobile payments or the HealthKit).


YOU DON'T OPTIMIZE CONTENT

The best way to drive away the customers' attention is to create a 'one-fits-all' content, regardless the audience and the channel you are using. Content marketing in the social era is a science you can't improvise. The ideal content tailored for empowered customers should answer to two priorities: right-time personalization and content customized with context (geofencing, location-based, iBeacons).


YOU ARE NOT MOBILE-FRIENDLY

There is no digital strategy without a mobile presence. Be it just a responsive site or a complete omni-channel approach (with proper mobile app development), you need to become a mobile-friendly brand. Customers live connected 24/7, using the smartphone to search and buy. With the recent change in Google's search engine algorithm, if you don't optimize your presence for mobile it's like you don't exist at all.

YOU UNDERESTIMATE SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vimeo. You can't build a proper content marketing if you ignore the power of social networks. The rules to reach social success are very simple: be real (but not too much); follow the stream; engage (using visual to stay epic); connect with your followers. Doing social media the right way is the best insurance to win their trust and fix a defective customer experience.


YOU DON'T TEST & LEARN

Digital marketing is a matter of test and try, starting from the solid grounds of predictive analytics and customer behavior analysis. Constant testing helps you choose between two (or more) options when it comes to actions aimed to engagement and lead generation. A common mistake is to think that testing is something you do just once in a while. Never take the result as carved in stone. Loyalty evolves with technology, and your strategy should evolve accordingly.


YOU DON'T USE DATA

With the spread of smart object, customer live in constant connection. This eventually leads to a huge amount of information about customer habits and purchase behaviors, in addition to data about markets and competitors. Having data in your hands has no utility in itself. In the era of Big Data, you only succeed when you can dive through this vague quantity of numbers and statistics and convert them into reliable marketing actions.


YOU DON'T MEASURE

Once you have your marketing machine set up, don't think that the job is done. Actually, that is just the beginning. How could you know if everything is going as planned? Measuring your efforts, of course. The Internet gives you a wide range of technologies and tools when things work and what you need to change. To adapt budget and KPIs. Pick up one (i.e. analytics dashboard) and learn from your mistakes.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Customer Engagement - 5 Things Sports Can Teach You About Loyalty

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

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital marketing and mobile technology.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Social Networking Storytelling Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile

Customer Engagement - 5 Things Sports Can Teach You About Loyalty

liverpool-loyalty

What do you need to be the best? Everything you’ve got.

This slogan - taken from a famous advertising for sports apparel - wraps-up the greatest lesson digital marketers can learn about customer engagement from sports management.

And that is: If you don’t train to offer the best performance and deliver the best results, you will never overcome the competition to win your customers’ heart and mind. You will never improve customer experience.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, there is a lot you can learn from what happens on the field, in the locker room and behind the scenes.

Football, rugby, basketball, tennis: when you think about sports - with all its declinations - you think about sweat, muscles, concentration, adrenaline. These words depict an experience made of mud and passion. We don't want to deny the romantic side of it, but today sport is more than that. Sport is marketing. Sport is technology.

Long gone are the days when the experience with fans was based entirely on what transpired on the field. For almost 80 years, radio and television have been the main drivers of technological evolution in sports. Then something happened, and everything changed forever.

As fans, we didn't need to be home or on the bleachers to enjoy the best events in the world. In the last decade, the mobile revolution came in to disrupt what we can call ‘Sports customer experience’: The internet went mobile, and so did customers.

The digital transformation, marked by the spread of the smartphone and the emergence of social networks, reshapes - innovation after innovation - the way we ‘live’ the competition. How we watch sports is not how our fathers did; how we play sports is not how our fathers used to play. The customer experience goes digital.

The smartphone and all other disruptive devices rebuild the experience of sports, connecting the physical and digital worlds into a new - and more complete - level of experience:

  • The smartphone - there is an app for everything. Even the smallest team or league has exclusive features to let you stay up to date with all news regarding your favorite team;
  • The iBeacon - the challenge is to move people away from their comfortable couch and bring them to the arena. The iBeacon is ideal to enhance the experience with gamification and personalized offers;
  • The activity trackers - whether you are fitness-obsessed or just a Sunday runner, it is more than likely that you are caught in the maze of self-tracking. The wearable revolution is primarily a sports revolution.
  • The smartwatch - the new releases of the Apple Watch and Android Wear show that the smartphone is the perfect companion for sports, watched (push notifications) and practiced (health sensors).

sport_customer_engagement

As a matter of facts, supporters are no longer restricted to living a match the traditional way. The arena and the TV are just the tipping point for an exploded experience along different touch points and channels. A lesson all other industries should learn.

The consequence is evident: business today is not even conceivable without technology. Teams become brands, and brands are companies. Being companies, they need to invest both in content marketing and technology to increase sales and revenue, focusing on what matters the most: fans, a.k.a. customers.

Customer engagement and loyalty are sports’ bread and butter, the foundation all teams are built on. Today, the need is inherent for teams to deliver the best customer journey possible, across all channels and devices in a holistic view, digital and mobile first.

The need to provide the most optimal customer experience at all times is essential for success: You can easily see how this is not different when it comes to professional sports. But somehow teams are ahead of the companies of other industries (i.e., retail & consumer goods) when it comes to the respect of customers, and the awareness of the value of their trust and loyalty.

WE BELONG HERE

No team is like the others. Each one is different, at least that’s what loyal fans believe and feel. Each team has its distinctive history, core value and tradition, the pillars that shape the brand identity and storytelling. All the marketing actions they plan and execute convey those uniqueness. The game starts before entering the stadium, playing on the sense of belonging and exclusivity; the same you should do with your brand.

YOU NEVER WALK ALONE

What is the mark of a great team? What makes a group of athletes a symbol for millions of people? Not the titles won, nor merchandising or tickets sold. The lifeblood of any great team is loyalty and devotion. Sports is probably the area where loyalty plays the greater role in determining the success of a company. And we refer to loyalty in its broadest sense, including engaged employees (your first customers).

WE ARE EVERYWHERE

The essence of a great sports customer experience is in the omni-channel nature of the connection with your favorite team. Fans don’t live in one single channel anymore; they switch between analog and digital, using the smartphone to stay 24/7 online. Sports companies have adapted fast, using all sorts of technology to engage with their digital customers: apps, social media, video, exclusive events.

PLAY TO THE STRENGTHS

Success in sports is a matter of continuous improvement and progress: athletes know their strengths and always show their best cards during the battle, trying to overshadow their limitations. And most of all, they never settle for what they have already accomplished. They always aim at overcoming their limits and defeat all records. Same with your company: highlight your qualities and invest in development, to be cutting-edge and stay top of mind.

KNOW THE COMPETITION

How can you understand what your customers want and where are your competitors headed to? The answer is ‘analysis’. Today there is no sports without technology, and technology creates a huge amount of data (about athletes, performances, competitors) that analysts use to improve the output and overcome competition before even challenging. Data are inherent in the sport as well as in any other industrial sector. Denying this fact equals losing your best chance to win.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How Social Commerce War Will Change Retail Customer Experience

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 Gamification Social Networking Branding Storytelling Content Marketing Wearable Big Data Mobile

4 Ways Virtual Reality Can Help You Improve Customer Experience

neosperience_showroom_3D

How can you succeed in today's hyper competitive markets, ensuring that your brand stands out from the crowd? The secret is to engage customers emotionally, taking advantage of technology to increase engagement and drive sales. In one word: deliver an amazing digital customer experience.

Of all the technology initiatives out there, virtual reality and augmented reality probably are the most mysterious ones. What's for sure is that they have a huge - yet unexplored - business potential. They empower you to evolve your digital properties, leveraging the power of 3D to create a unique immersive experience.

Since Microsoft officially launched the futuristic HoloLens and the Holographic platform, the idea of virtual reality used to improve customer experience has become topical. How this technology will actually augment the experience, that's the question.

A major force that drives the evolution of business - retail & consumer goods above all - is the need for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors, find new ways to attract clients and boost sales.

Now that the disruption of mobile technology has totally reshaped the customer journey map, brands must focus on the creation of engagement across all channels and devices. Improving efficiency and saving money in the process.

Customers can use their smartphones, tablets and computers to live immersive experiences. In this perspective, there is no doubt that virtual reality - together with proximity marketing and the Internet of Things - could be a great deal for companies willing to invest in technology innovation.

Connecting the physical and digital experiences within the immersive framework of aspirational locations, virtual might force a revolution and transform the store as we know it, giving birth to the future of retail customer experience

Although it is in itself a powerful tool, virtual reality is a means, not the final purpose. So it should be always implemented as part of an omni-channel digital marketing strategy (mobile app included). 

Customer interaction, employee engagement and product design and showcase - you can use virtual worlds to make your brand come alive and help customers connect with your brand on multiple devices.

HoloLens and brothers could represent the missing piece of the bridge that connects brands and customers into a new level of experience in a 3D personal perspectiveThat's why many companies are already exploring the opportunity of using virtual reality to reduce costs, increase decision making and - most of all - involve their clients into an innovative storytelling and content development.

How to put words into business action, that’s the real problem. Just putting an head-mounted headset on your customers’ head won’t bring you satisfying results. You need a story, a personalized concept and a reliable technology (best cloud-based) to bring your virtual world to life.

We are just at the beginning of a road that will lead us all - entrepreneurs and customers - towards unexpected drifts. Here at Neosperience we believe that immersive delightful experiences can not do without the enabling power of 3D and the cohabitation mobile apps and disruptive devices (i.e. Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR).

Here we suggest some potential real-life applications that will enable you to really take advantage of virtual, delivering innovative customer experience and changing the expected interactions with the physical world.

3D DIGITAL SHOWROOM

Retail and brick-and-mortar are exactly the first terms that come to mind when you think about potential business applications of virtual reality. Just think about it: industries like beauty, luxury & fashion always need to deliver a one-of-a-kind touch and feel to their customers, instilling on every device the idea of an exclusive 'appmosphere'. A digital showroom in 3D such as Neosperience Showroom is perfect to personalize (with or without headset) the shopping experience, and offer innovative mobile and in-store experiences.  

REMOTE CONTROL INSTRUCTIONS

Customer service augmented: you could communicate and interact with clients, offering step-by-step instructions on your products and real-time efficient service. Reality will be augmented by visual diagrams around the user, indicating exactly what to do and how to do it. Remote control could also work in the healthcare industry and medical services (a further evolution of Apple's Healthkit?). 

VIRTUAL PRODUCT DESIGN

Virtual development platforms could be the best solution to cut expenses improving efficiency. You will be able to test drive products in all different stages of development without any additional costs, just relying on a virtual stage that will offer a 360 perspective. Not counting that you could offer the same opportunity to your customers, to personalize products and services. 

GAMIFICATION AND LOYALTY

It's not by chance that the very first experiments with virtual reality were made for the gaming industry, as is not that one of the first HoloLens-attached projects will be augmented version of the well-known videogame Minecraft. Now that games have officially entered the marketing world, virtual and augmented reality become the perfect addition to your gamification strategy, to improve customer retention and foster loyalty.

Oculus Rift, Magic Leap, Gear VR and HoloLens: behind these sci-fi sounding names lies a huge business potential, that will eventually have deep consequences on your digital customer experience. Empowering customers, supporting their purchase process and, ultimately, enhancing the customer journey a little more each day.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Top 6 Rules Of Gamification - How To Engage Customers Playing With Them

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Neosperience Apps Innovation Storytelling Content Marketing Mobile

5 Digital Marketing Lessons From Game Of Thrones

game_of_thrones

Now that the fifth season of Game of Thrones is behind our back, millions of fans (just like us) are trying to recover from the absolute jaw-dropping finale. Shock is the only constant in George R. R. Martin’s epic series.

If there a TV show out there that can teach us something about the world of digital marketing, that is HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Before starting, a necessary ‘spoiler alert’. While in this article we will avoid references from the finale, it may still include some spoilers from previous seasons of the show.

Despite all controversies about the actual contents of the series (too many naked scenes, too many gruesome deaths), there is no doubt at all that Game of Thrones is a great brand, probably one of the best Tv productions ever created.  

And it not just great programming, but also an amazing opportunity to learn few lessons about the art of marketing in the digital era. Taking a ride in Westeros you can find remarkable insights, hidden in the intricate plot twists, the raw dialogues, the extreme characterization of all elements.

It’s no surprise to us that both the novels and the Tv series have gathered legions of faithful supporters, particularly among the youngest (the so-called millennials). Armed with the inseparable smartphone, they are picky customers, demanding and extremely hard to please.

Customers of the ‘post digital transformation era’ know what they want and waste no time looking for your brand. Either you’re there when they need it or you don’t exist at all. They ask for exciting experiences, stories that jump off the screen and inspire loyalty. And Lannister, Targaryen and Stark have pleased them all.

In fact, the Game of Thrones brand has everything needed to appeal digital customers:

Another season has come to an end; ten episodes full of emotional turmoils. And now we will all have to wait in the cold for another year, wondering what the author and the producers have in store for the next season. Nobody knows who will win the Iron Throne, but one thing's sure: the story will raise the bar, even more.

targaryen_got

While we ponder, it’s also worth considering why - as marketers - we’re so enthralled by the destiny of the Westeros. Game of Thrones’ massive success is more than a simple fortunate event. It’s a well planned strategy. Here are 5 digital marketing lessons we can learn from Game of Thrones.

BRACE YOURSELF, GOOGLE IS COMING

We start by borrowing the motto of House Stark, "Winter is Coming". If you’re a fan of the show, you know that Stark is the most ill-fated family of the whole world depicted by Martin. The deep meaning behind these words is one of warning and vigilance. Even when things are good, you must always be ready for unexpected changes.

What’s the greatest marketing challenge in the Internet era? To get noticed by Google and recognized as the first reference to fulfill customers’ needs. Google algorithm, with the mobile-friendly update, could be ‘winter’ for your mobile marketing if you can’t deal with the Mobilegeddon. Knowledge is power: stay in control by staying up to date.

CONTENT IS CONSTANT WAR

In the first season of the show, Cersei Lannister offers one of her most chilling warning: "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” Same with content marketing, the ground you build amazing customer experience on.

In an inbound marketing perspective, empowering customers means being what they want to consume, the best resource they find in the purchase process. Game of Thrones gives hints: create an epic storytelling, always exceed expectations and make customers anxiously wait for what’s next.

LOYALTY IS THE KEY TO WIN

Varys ‘The Spider’ explains the two principles that guide most people in Westeros: “Those who are loyal to the realm, and those who are loyal only to themselves.” The world of Westeros is based on one simple fact: every single person is loyal to someone.

Every business wants loyal customers, the key to succeed in the long term. Customer retention is cheaper than acquisition, but way harder to get. You need to be customer obsessed and give people a reason to keep coming back to you: loyalty programs, gamification dynamics, a remarkable customer experience.

ALWAYS DELIVER YOUR PROMISE

The entire Game of Thrones plot revolves around the story of someone who makes a promise and tries to deliver it, no matter how hard it is. The Lannistersalways pay their debts”; Brienne of Tarth tries to protects Catelyn’s daughters; Arya Stark wants to avenge his father’s death.

At the core of every brand there’s a distinctive promise: what you are is what you ultimately deliver to your customers. Every single touch point of the customer journey is shaped by your ability to deliver that promise. In the Age of the Customer, when you sell your products, you always sell yourself too.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE ENEMIES

Knowledge is power”, says Petyr Baelish 'Littlefinger' to Cersei. If you know what your enemies are doing, then you’re always one step ahead. The game of the throne is played with swords and shields, but also with strategy and analysis. Only the weak has no knowledge.

To stay top of mind, you should know what everyone else is doing and, most important, you should never underestimate your competitors (just look at the ‘retail vs e-commerce’ war). If you know who your competition is, what they offer and how they engage with customers, you can get ideas and discover opportunities.

And remember: in this ever-changing scenario, disrupted by innovative technologies, you can’t rest on your laurels.

You know nothing, Jon Snow”.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Customer Loyalty: 5 Celebrity Lessons From Lady Gaga & Co.

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 DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Social Networking Branding Archetypes Storytelling Content Marketing Inbound Marketing