Consumers are catching on like the zombies in the Walking Dead TV show: They’re getting faster, bigger, stronger and more insatiable.
They’ve morphed into “voracious, capricious, and insatiable consumers of experiences as such,” according to Tim Walters, partner and principal analyst for the Digital Clarity Group.
Traditional marketing is changing. That's one of the key messages that will be delivered in this week’s Digital Pulse Boston 2013 and we’ll be there tomorrow to capture it. Check out our tweets at @cmswire #DigitalPulse.
Traditionally through marketing, broadcast messages to prospects existed to “push the cattle further down the chute, until the magic moment of conversion, and the exchange of money for some thing,” Walters said.
However, he argues today that the relationship is reversed: the thing, he said, comes secondary to the experiences and the conversion moment is no longer the “holy grail” but a sign post in an on-going journey.
Inbound Marketing the Future
One of the speakers at this week’s conference cites inbound marketing as the future in this space.
Dorie Clark, CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and a Forbes and Harvard Business Review contributor, told us in a pre-conference interview that paid marketing should be in service of promoting and driving people to the content that marketers create. “Inbound marketing is thoroughly democratic -- whoever creates the best content wins,” said Clark, author of “Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future.”
“It’s even democratic in terms of the form it takes: if you’re not a writer, you can create a video blog, like Gary Vaynerchuk has done so well. It’s about the strength of your ideas.”
The goal for individuals, Clark told CMSWire, is the same as that of companies:
We want to make people come to us, whether it’s with job offers, consulting opportunities, or the like. That means making yourself visible, online and off, so that others know you’re out there and understand what you can offer.
Most executives, she added, recognize the importance of creating content and a robust digital presence for their own personal branding, but too often, it hasn’t become a habit.
“At the upper echelons, you can still get away with having a thin digital resume, if your network is strong,” Clark said. “That’s going to change and in the next few years, the Internet will become your resume. You absolutely must engage online or your career will suffer.”
The theme of the Digital Pulse Boston 2103 is "the transition from web content management (WCM) to customer experience management (CEM)," with the aim to bring together the worlds of WCM, content marketing and strategy, systems of engagement and service providers.
This transition in the industry is “requiring profound changes in the ways companies and brands interact with consumers, and in the technologies, processes, and partnerships that they draw upon to support these interactions,” Walters said.
A number of factors lead Walters to believe CEM is not just a "somewhat harder" WCM:
- The stakes are higher -- About 89 percent of US consumers report they have switched their business to a competing firm because of unsatisfactory experiences.
- Far more complex process -- There are expectations for consistent experiences across multiple channels and touchpoints.
- Guaranteed failure -- Unless organizations can dissolve or effectively work around established silos in areas such as technologies, repositories, business practices, skill sets and reporting structures, they’re doomed to fail.
- Team effort -- Virtually no firm is equipped to address CEM on its own; service providers (agencies, consultants, etc.) are becoming “indispensable partners and competitive differentiators."
To establish a successful CEM program, organizations must clearly acknowledge and address the fundamental transformations required to effectively support CEM.
“It is hard to overemphasize how wrenching this will be for most firms,” Walters said. “Some very well-established habits, structures, processes and corporate cultural dispositions are not only no longer adequate, they are active barriers to success. Some firms, perhaps many, will not survive.”
Walters calls CEM a “paradigm shift in how successful companies relate to consumers and what they have to put into place in order to do it.”
“However, we also believe that WCM currently sits at the core of the CEM software ecosystem and that many of the skills and best practices established in WCM are transferable to CEM,” Walters said.
When CMSWire asked him his hopes for one takeaway for conference attendees, he gave us two:
“CEM is an inescapable imperative -- assuming you want to survive,” Walter said. “And, success requires fundamental transformations in the organization, its vendor relationships and its service provider partnerships.”