Today's marketers spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to deliver their products to consumers. Today's consumers, however, are too smart to fall for cheap tricks -- they want real connections and experiences. Brian Solis, keynote speaker of the iMedia Brand Summit in Amelia Island, Florida and author of "X: The Experience When Business Meets Design," explored how crafting these experiences will build relationships and get the results you're looking for.
Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This principle can carry over into our industry. The average attention span has dropped drastically to under 60 seconds, which means competing for attention no longer makes sense. If you can make someone feel something, they'll never forget it.
According to Solis, many marketers spend their resources on talking at people, not listening. The key is to find the space between what you want to talk about as a marketer and what they want to talk about as a consumer. That small slice is the opportunity for true engagement and will shift the conversation from monologue to dialogue. Attention is a gift, and what you do with it can form a real relationship.
Solis introduced the idea of mediumism, which is placing too much value on single platforms or apps rather than amplifying the strengths of all of them to deliver desired, integrated experiences. It's important to look beyond the views and traffic and try to understand your audience on a holistic level.
The future of marketing is creating something more meaningful where you can really connect. It's more than just grabbing someone's attention and pushing your product. Listen to what they want. Respond to what they need. Once you are actually listening, then opportunities open.
Executives are often focused on ROI, but Solis brought up the idea of "return on ignorance." Failing to adapt to shifting market trends will only lead to bad things. "Ignorance plus arrogance equals irrelevance," Solis said. "Disrupt or be disrupted." The only way to be relevant is to make an effort to understand others.
Marketing is not just a funnel; it's an entire journey. Marketing has the opportunity to take over the entire consumer experience, as long as you bridge the gap between a brand's wants and a consumer's needs. Thinking beyond moment-to-moment will give you a clear picture of where you are heading.
True innovators don't wait for anyone to give permission or instructions. They see the gaps and opportunities, and they come up with ideas. Everyone has two choices: Either continue on the path you are currently on, or blaze a new trail of innovation. There are no playbooks or best practices for innovation -- it's all about reinventing from the outside in and designing for experiences. Technology can bring innovation to life, but it's not the only component. There has to be a true human connection as a driving force.
We are already behind. The younger generations of today have digital engrained in them from birth, and if we want to succeed, we need to come up with new ways to reach these people instead of trying to catch up with technology. Mobile is ubiquitous, but many marketers spend their resources on designing desktop content. The opportunities are there, and the future starts with challenging today's conventions.