Discover how technology can take you to an exciting new level of competition
Are you connected with your customers? Or a better worded question would be: are you and your customers connected with each other? If not, maybe it’s time to take action. But what does being connected mean to you and why should you do it?
Consider placing a huge banner in a main road. In this scenario, when trying to calculate the effectiveness of your adverts, you would calculate how many cars pass by the main road where you positioned your banner and for how long will the banner persist on the streets. This would give you a vague idea of how many ‘eyes’ the advert will potentially reach hoping that it achieves its objective of repeated sales, presence, new customers or whatever other objective the banner was planned for. But deeply you also know that you have no idea whether your customers are actually reading or ignoring the banner, whether they like it or not, whether they followed it up with a phone-call or internet lookup or not. The estimated figures cannot be confirmed and in truth you are gambling in the dark. You pay the big money for the banner and you wait, hoping that it works and that phone-calls will start coming in.
In the connected world, the scenario changes. You get to have massive control.
If you are connected with your customers, you can learn which banner is preferable if you have 3 to choose from. You can learn which details are most important for the viewers. You can learn what your customers want to hear and make sure they hear what they want to listen. If you are connected it becomes like you are a spy in the minds of your customers and that stealthily you manage to satisfy their needs. In modern terminology we call this B2C connection as pervasive connectedness via hyperconnectivity. The analogy with being a spy is not exactly precise because many times, it is the same customers that want to be heard and are therefore permissive of the part of you wanting to listen to their thoughts. Effectively they broadcast their thoughts genuinely and you capture what they have to say so as to improve yourself for both your own and also their own benefit.
Investing time and money to be pervasively connected with your customers is an investment that you will never regret.
So how do you connect with your customers? ‘Hanging around’ with your customers can be difficult and expensive if you try to be with them physically. If you own a sporting brand, you would need to physically attend every game of every sport, have a representative in all clubs in the world and so on.
While being there physically is not to be ruled out completely, the solution to the networking limitations it imposes is to leverage social media and eMarketing. Keeping with the example of the sports industry, by applying this modern technology you will magically be around each and every sports enthusiast all the time.
It becomes up to you to decide when to hang around your customers because there is always everyone in this virtual place that you can connect with. You can imagine it as if you are found in a huge club of like-minded people where you know everyone and everyone knows you and you can start talking to anyone without barriers. You have to build a reputation though so that you do not get side-lined. People need to start respecting you and enjoy staying with you.
Your biggest problem will be knowing how to organise the tremendous amount of information you will learn. You will have plenty of things to say and you will have to think seriously who to tell it to because there are so many that are willing to listen that you will have to use your resources wisely to maximize their effectiveness. You will devise plans so as to attract the huge crowd towards you because you want to be cool, you want to have nice things to share and you want to be the one to always solve their problems. It is when you realise all the benefits of being connected that you would want to invest in someone specialised that can help your company devise an effective digital marketing strategy. And importantly, there is no need to be afraid of technology because the service can be easily outsourced and after all the young generation is naturally inclined to embrace these methods.
When you master pervasive connectedness you will also learn that you can extend your digital presence by being connected to all your stakeholders, vertically and horizontally, including suppliers, government, regulators, competitors and others.
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