Seth Godin rightfully puts it, "The cost of inventing, prototyping, manufacturing and especially advertising a new thing, concept, service or organization is a tiny fraction of what it used to be. In some industries, you can do it for 1% of what it used to cost."
So where does that leave you?
All of a sudden you have 50 more competitors, all selling the same stuff, all competing for the limited attention and delivering at best, an okay product with too many features that perhaps results in mediocre benefits for your end-user. So what are you to do?
We all acknowledge that we are living in a fast changing environment. Technology has permeated the everyday life of the marketer. And, we have all come to the grasp that, marketing is no longer about "creating a myth and selling; now it's about finding a truth and sharing it.” Because, you cannot be selling a myth in a transparent, technological age where everyone is watching your every move. At the end of the day, people expect truth, transparency and real-time engagement. This puts a huge burden on marketing. But, it also helps your organization to be more open "to ways to deliver on the purpose outside the specific products you sell while at the same time being very clear about what is part of the purpose and what is outside the purpose." Above all, find a way to be relevant to your end users all the time. Google and Apple have achieved high brand capital because we engage with them all the time. It is seamless, it is sub-conscious and it has become a part of our social psyche and our social behavior. These brands do not have to fight for our attention. They have embedded themselves in our daily doings.
What is the Worst Thing That Can Happen To You?
Failing miserably in getting people to pay you attention.
"The new scarcity = attention; there has been a profound shift in business economics from shelf space as the key scarce resource to people's time and attention."
Attract - Design, develop and understand the context of the need of your target audience. Then, motivate people to find you and give them some compelling reasons to do business with you.
Assist - Educate your end users. Find ways to help people, both before and after the purchase of the product. Even if that means, that you have to send business away to some one else, because their solution is a better fit than yours.
Affiliate - "Instead of one-to-one marketing, the affiliate idea suggests bringing in any and all participants that could be helpful to the prospective buyer at relevant points in time. It’s about creating a broader ecosystem of participants who can be more and more helpful to the customers you’re trying to reach.That’s a very different model that goes against the most basic assumptions of traditional push-based marketing."
Generational change and technological transmutation is the key driver for this shift.
For starters, know your existing customers. (For example, I am a lifer when it comes to using Adobe products. Yet, every single time, I log into Adobe cloud they are clueless as to who I am and what programs I use or better yet, I get an e-mail from them expressing my interest in their products. Sorry Adobe. Hopefully you are working towards getting better at it.)
- Start with getting to know 20% of your clients. Who are they? What does a typical day in their life look like?
- Do you know what products or services they consume? Do you use this information to optimize your revenue and create new revenue paths?
- Do you engage with them on an on-going conversation?
- Do you connect with them to co-create new products and services?
- And, above all what are you doing to inspire them to become your brand ambassadors? In other words, what are you doing in acquiring and holding their attention?
"If you define your product broadly enough, in the context of how it is actually used, engagement is possible across a much wider range of interactions."
The digital medium allows us to gather phenomenal insights on our customers and cater tailored solutions depending on their needs. So do not wait for your customers to come to you for solutions. As Hagel puts it, be the trusted adviser to them and say, “You know, I have some information about you and based on that information I can give you some recommendations that are going to be really valuable to you and save you time and money." This is yet another way of holding the attention and maximizing the tenure of your value in their eyes.
We are living in very interesting times. In an era of cross-disciplinary pollination, we are undergoing through a techtonic shift in mindset. Since, marketing is in the forefront of it, you, marketers have to be now acquainted with the new metrics.
Hagel predicts, the new ROI is no longer Return on Investment, it is Return on Information. It’s starting to track carefully how much it costs to accumulate information about a customer and divide that by what I can earn by using that information more effectively. And, the traditional Return on Assets has to be phased out by the emergence of the new player, Return on Attention.
"It is the economic value of that attention, which is the value of the relationship that you can expect based on that attention."
And, driving this attention on a continuous basis lies the evolutionary growth of your brand.