New Order in Digital Marketing and Strategy

Manifesto


Industrial Age is over.

Economic balance is globally shifting.

East and South are rising. By population, by value.

Luckily, digital age has only just started.

The rules are changing. Economies of scale, scarcity & mass advertising advantages are being replaced with the long tail, abundance of data and rapid-cycle test and learn.

Marketing and Innovation in this digital era have new rules; They are more democratic and offer many new tools available to all of us.

Whoever adapts to the new rules and innovate faster will start leading…

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs, 2005

What is a sense?

Dictionary.com — any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body

Businesses have senses too. That will set them apart and let them perceive stimuli to react, build and innovate in this global economy. Like humans, businesses have all these senses embedded in their eco-system but most of these senses are usually very weak and only few of them are strong by nature. Only the ones that design and master senses strategically will be a part of these fast growing digital markets.


New Order Manifesto

#1:

4Ps (Product, Place, Promotion, Price) are still important and now any digital business model has powered by one or more of the six vital senses: social, local, mobile, live, interface and data.

Twitter is all about ‘Live’ trends with great ‘Interface’ that you can access from anywhere. Mint is strong with its ‘Data’ sense with another great ‘Interface’ sense. Craigslist has a subpar interface but its ‘Local’ and ‘Live’ senses are such a killer, it serves very well for its audience.

#2:

Pick at least two primary senses, position yourself strategically in your market and focus on selected senses better than your competition to dominate

The Huffington Post (HuffPost) has passed the New York Times (NYT) for the first time as of April, 2011 (unique visitors). Both have strong ‘Live’ sense, but Huffingtonpost pioneered the publishing media market with ‘Social’ and ‘Interface’ senses by integrating its business with thousands of bloggers and other news media that still since then no other publisher could replicate. The wonderful NYTimes Innovation report and the introduction of NYT Now app were good steps forward by NYT.

How HuffPost strategically outpaced NYTimes

#3:

The more senses you apply to your business creatively, the faster you thrive.

It is no surprise that Google has entered into ‘Social’ arena with 1+ which was the only lacking sense for them. Facebook and Google both are also after the digital payment processing business, not because of the transaction fees but mainly because of the last data piece that they are missing: spending data by users.

Evolution of six senses by Google

#4:

Now everyone is a Marketer.

Now every Marketer is an Architect who builds remarkable products, designs unique user experiences, prioritizes the data by mastering numbers, builds thriving teams across different functions, works on a rapid-cycle test & learn and lastly who can tell engaging stories.


4Ps Revisited

Product

Mobile and Web let many different business models to emerge that we haven’t seen before. Uber, a service platform start-up can be valued at 18billion USD in less than five years after launch. Digital enabled not only many new advertising technology platforms to emerge, but also allowed many other new disrupting businesses to threaten the old business models, like Amazon, Airbnb and Angie’s List.

Place

Distribution models couldn’t be immune from the change as well. It is not just the digital products like e-books, digital music records that are affected by this change, but even the biggest retailers are trying to figure out how to compete against the online services. Now, every artist can distribute its art work directly without any label company thanks to new emerging platforms.

Promotion:

No more mass exposure but more dynamic micro targeting based on behavior and intent is gaining attraction thanks to intelligent advertising platforms and channels. Brands start taking advantage of real time bidding platforms, and also start focusing on targeting the audiences –on which device and on wherever website they are — rather than buying media from a set of publishers and hoping for the best.

There are two major challenges for any marketer in this new era.

Users are always on, always mobile. Reaching them on different channels, through different channels requires the marketer to run the campaigns like a portfolio manager; by mastering numbers and optimizing asset allocation. Marketer’s secret weapon here is the rapid-cycle test & learn (the bankers never had the opportunity as such, and we all know what happened) and the power of analytics. Analytics changed the way marketing works forever.

Second challenge is the fact that the explosion of messages result attention deficit disorder with consumers. Telling engaging and compelling stories like a screen writer by mastering emotions and telling sticky ideas that will match with the worldview of the targeted audience are the key to succeeding. Secret weapon here is to figure out your audience and their worldview.

Price:

The new era opened up creative pricing schemes from free and fremium to all sorts of dynamic pricing including Pay What you Want (PWYW).


6 Senses Introduced

Social

“I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.” Mark Zuckerberg “The Social Network”

Not just the business models, but also the consumer buying behavior have changed over the last decade. Based on recent research, now 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. 70-90% of the buyer’s journey is completed prior to engaging with a vendor (Forrester).

Now, every brand is a media company and having a social media and influencer strategy is a must. Influence score is based on three aspects; the brand’s reach, how influential the reached audience is (authority), and their engagement with the brand’s content and media.

Characteristics and Challenges

Connect with influencers for your audience. Use game mechanics to increase engagement. Enable sharing and communication all the time for the users. Design for social patterns. Join conversations. Amplify your story via visual content. Design interactions and contents specific for each social channel.

Local

“We’re entering the Age of Context. That means (among other things) that information will be presented to you based on your situation, location and individual needs and preferences.” Mike Elgan

With the introduction of new technologies like BLE and beacons like iBeacon, now having a personal one-to-one marketing is not a dream anymore.

Characteristics and Challenges

Master location aware interactivity and data. Customize experiences based on culture, language, weather, location and even device information. Use game mechanics.

Mobile

Mobile might be the most important sense for any digital business.

Mobile is not just about phones anymore; any wearable device like Google Glass, or any home automation device like Nest, including all Internet of Things are part of the mobile experience and changing the way we connect and interact with the ‘Things”. Our own cell phones that we love so much are just one small part of it. Two major trends that will shape the future of shopping are both mobile related: the convergence of online/offline retail experience and penetration of digital wallet into our daily lives.

Characteristics and Challenges

Accessibility issues from any device. Build on responsive design and provide seamless experience on all devices, in and out.

Live

“Happening Now!” CNN -> Twitter

Twitter is the first company when ‘Live’ sense is discussed. However, technology marketing platforms with the introduction of ‘real time’ bidding and programmatic buying also changed the way advertising works as well, and they deserve to be acknowledged with this sense. Many digital start-up is building its core competence based on ‘live’ sense to get ahead of the game.

Interface:

“A picture is worth a thousand words. An interface is worth a thousand pictures.” Ben Shneiderman, 2003

Interface is one of the major senses that affect the companies to grow. In general, companies that embrace open api scheme and allow third party developers to build apps and use the data on top of their platforms, tend to grow exponentially faster than “closed” eco-systems. Furthermore, for digital companies, UX is the key success factor in customer acquisition and retention and hence Forrester started measuring the Customer Experience Index for brands.

Characteristics and Challenges

Integrate with other services. Design for interaction. Master user experience. Enable access and seamless experience from any device. Build APIs for others to grow your business

Data

“It’s the (economy) data, stupid! Credits to James Carville for the original quote

Big Data’ is changing marketing and advertising forever. The abundance of data is also a big challenge so being able to prioritize it and formulate it to get actionable results is an important competitive advantage for brands.

Characteristics and Challenges

Analyze behaviors, outcome and intent — click stream data, conversions and survey. Present data in an interactive and meaningful way via enhanced data visualization. Segment everything — persona, technographics, demographics, and behavioral, social, psychographics. Test and measure everything, fail often.


So what’s the take?

Revisit all your projects.

Define your strategic sense(s) and invest on them every single day.

Visit my blog for best practices and new services in mobile/web eco-systems, digital strategy and marketing.

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