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Future-proof your business

As the digital marketing industry changes, it's not enough to rely on the past ecosystems to connect you with your customers. Justin Reilly, head of customer experience innovation at Verizon Fios, walked iMedia Brand Summit attendees in Amelia Island, Florida, through the important of providing memorable moments to customers across their journey.

In the past (2010 -2013), social was powered by mobile. "I can integrate my real life with my digital life."

Then, 2014 through 2016, experience was king. "I have so many options, experience matters most."

From 2017 on, consumer focus is "Everywhere. On demand. For me." And as such, "All services should fit perfectly into my life."

Thinking about experience as the product, it's important to remember that the consumers will use their "last best experience" as their litmus test. Brands are in such close digital proximity that surprisingly consumers aren't necessarily comparing you to your category competitors. As an example, a consumer may have a great experience using the Uber app to request a cab and then hop into your app only to become frustrated that your app isn't as seamless and user-friendly as the experience they just had on Uber.

How do you prepare for a world of distributed experiences?

You must build nimble teams, including product lead, a development lead, and a design lead.
Then you must productize your organization. Make that product lead the CEO of that product and give them the power to lead the team as such.

Be sure to incentivize failure. It's OK to fail -- smart learnings can be revealed from those failures.

Co-create w/ customers. This goes beyond just giving them a product to try out, which is focused too much on usability. Sit down with your customers, a blank sheet of paper, and then build on top of that.

Open innovation and build an ecosystem from there. The best innovation is going to come from where you may least expect it, like customers and front-line employees.

Nanette is iMedia Communications' executive editor.   In addition to her roles at iMedia, Nanette has served as a specialist in content marketing, editorial content, public relations and social media for various clients. She's contributed to...

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