Welcome to the Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy and World of Un-Ready Agencies and Reluctant Brand Owner
Clients are seeking real leadership and evidence on how their agency partners can give them the insight and confidence to thrive in the face of change. They are looking for help on the use of technology and other innovations to improve customer experiences and relationships.
- S Yesudas
On 4th Sept 2017, I asked my newspaper vendor to change my subscription of many years to another newspaper.
On 3rd Oct 2017, I made a pre-booking for iPhone X, as an Apple fan who owns multiple products from the company. But I subsequently canceled it on Nov 2.
On 19th Nov 2017, As a platinum tier frequent flyer member of Jet Airways, I traveled in one of their flights from Delhi to Mumbai after my euphoric running experience (captured in my social media) at the Delhi Half Marathon where the airline was one of the event sponsors.
I can go on listing over a dozen other such instances, which meaningful data-led insights and curiosity led intuition could have helped the brand owners convert into “experiences” for customers like me and gained conversation opportunities as well as much more deeper data.
No wonder why a large global research I came across (Source: Havas Global) sometime back testified that customers didn’t mind if many of the brands that they currently use just disappeared.
The fluidity and dynamism in the customer mobility are challenging businesses to break open the walls, cut the various layers and transform. But business owners are led to approach this new generation of business model by doing everything possible to milk the core competencies through traditional and tried the tested “cognitive” models. The only change is that the by-now-redundant linear purchase funnel has given way to certain attribution models. But interestingly even Artificial Intelligence (AI) is moving from cognitive to intuitive through deep learning and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
Since the fundamentals of the thriving shared economy is “experiences” it is time the brand owners opened their eyes to the fact that it is imperative to incorporate some bit of “intuitive” elements into the strategy to also create customization as well as for constant improvements in the journey path, some of which may not have empirical evidences on the impact, but can add tremendously to customer experiences and the organization’s learning curve. I define it as marketing “for “customers as against marketing “to” them.
When advertising, no one is thinking beyond “Reach” “Views” and innovative look and feel of campaigns where usage of data is perhaps limited to setting up of Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and “lookalike” audiences and when it comes to digital transformation it is perhaps misunderstood to be process automation and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to interconnect with other platforms on top of existing systems become the norm too. This is again neither allowing for any experience nor quality data creation.
I had written an article a few months back in AdAge titled “Ad Agencies will give their business away to IT consultants” The news last week about Maserati giving their global “experience” mandate to Accenture is perfectly in line with what I had spoken about in my article. However, reading from the news on what the Accenture spokesperson had to say about the win, I don’t think this will still move beyond the cognitive as many large organizations, in my opinion, use the word “agility” to make PowerPoint slides look better.
Advertisers are forced to try various options since they are finding it difficult to keep pace with the changes the society and customers are going through. Large agencies that claim to have the ability to lead their clients to understand how their customers are navigating through the different channels, first need to reorganize themselves and start thinking like a start-up. Perhaps create collaborations with others or spot non-conformist talent within or hire specific talent that fit the brief. This needs to go far beyond setting up “Transformation Units” which will again be another silo. It is only this thinking, coupled with the agency management’s ability to mandate a real transformative collaboration within the various soiled profit centers that will lead them to help their clients “explore” a bit. Everything else that these organizations do within their structures and silos will only still help their clients “exploit” the core competencies. I’ve had a personal firsthand experience on how insecure some of the large agencies are while we were working on a client’s transformation project. With this mindset, no transformation will ever see the light of the day.
Clients are seeking real leadership and evidence on how their agency partners can give them the insight and confidence to thrive in the face of change. They are looking for help on the use of technology and other innovations to improve customer experiences and relationships. They are seeking help on data on various experiences and challenges and its relationship with their business. And they also seek hand holding to navigate their organizations through cultural changes should they embrace the balancing of cognitive + intuitive in their strategies.
In sum, I would say, agencies can start really helping their clients capitalize this Post-sale, On-Demand, Attention economy only if they can start to change their narratives from “Branding” to “Memorable Experiences” “Selling Products” to “Solving Needs” “Share of Voice” to “Share of Vision”, “Share of Expenditure” to “Share of Empathy”
(The article is written by S Yesudas, MD and Co-Founder, Triggerbridge, the Un-Agency)