The INBOUND15 conference was host to many inspirational speakers, all of whom shared personal stories and steps to success. There were two common themes throughout the presentations, how to please your consumers and how to gain their trust during a time of new technology.
With the rapid growth of innovative technology, consumers are not only looking for experiences that make their lives easier, but they are looking for genuine and personal experiences that allow them to trust the brand. In a world full of technology, it is more important than ever to create a genuine experience that fosters a relationship between the consumer and the brand. Only then can you gain a loyal customer.
How to please your consumers
Jessica Gioglio, Head of Content Lab at Sprinklr, talked about global content and how to tailor your message and strategy on a global level to resonate with people from other cultures. From booty shorts, to explicit jokes and raw honesty, marketing is done a little differently outside of the United States. Too often we default to the U.S. as the thought leader when it comes to innovative digital content and social media programming, but in this presentation, Jessica Gioglio challenged that mentality.
Robert Scoble’s talk was all about how to create frictionless experiences. He says, “Companies that reduce friction or bring new experiences win. And if they are really good they will bring both.”
He gave an example of how Uber reduces friction from our lives. Ten years ago if you wanted a cab you would call on a phone and wait for them to show up without knowing where or how far away they were. When they finally showed up you would have to pay them in the cab. All Uber did was change the data about the business. It is that data that transforms what we think of as a car rider. Uber makes it a frictionless experience for the passenger with the ability to click once in the app and find your location and the closest driver to you. It then shows you on a map where the driver is and how far away he is from you. You know exactly who he is and what car he will be in and you can pay right from the app so you don’t need to worry about cash or cards in the car.
He talks about the five forces that contextual technologies have that are shaping the way brands and consumers interact.
Mobile. Cell phones now exceed people on the planet, wearable computing is booming, data costs are dropping, and app downloads have gone wild.
Social media. Almost 1.5 billion people are on social networks, and businesses are using them to connect with customers, humanize themselves, and learn.
Data. The size of the Internet is expanding at an exponential rate – leading to the idea of big data. But it’s little bits of data delivered to us exactly when we want them (thanks to search) that are really impacting our lives.
Sensors. Sensors in technology can emulate three of the five human senses: sight, touch, and hearing. Sensors can talk to us and to each other.
Location-based services. Our location is one of the most important parts of our context.
He explains that these frictionless technologies bring a shift in our society. We don’t know our consumers that well today, but with these five forces we will be able to know much more.
Knowing your mobile customers is huge. For example, the Tapingo app allows college students to order lattes, sandwiches, books and more right through the app. When you order it puts you in a virtual queue and tells you when your order will be ready and then sends the order. It is doing some contextual watching of who you are, looking for patterns in behavior and location. If you buy the same latte at 7am every morning, it asks “would you like the usual?” Instead of requiring you to type it in every time, now it is one click away, reducing the friction in your ordering process.
Skyhook’s VP of Marketing, Schneidermike, spoke about creating vital app experiences that will make users’ lives easier. The term appticipation means anticipating users needs so that you can give them what they need when they need them. Accurate and precise location is a huge differentiator for apps who want to learn more about their user’s behavior and intent without violating their privacy. The more you know about your users the more personalized the experience can be.
The importance of authenticity and being transparent
Shel Israel spoke about the power of lethal generosity and contextual technology to give you the competitive edge. He says, in summary, “be kind to your customers, because giving them the best possible experience is the best way to screw your competitors.”
He told the story of how his friend Robert Scoble worked at a camera store that fiercely competed with one down the street. A customer came in looking for a camera and Scoble was honest with the customer telling him that the camera store down the street had the product on sale. It seems at this point like Scoble loses the sale, and in fact he does, but what he gains is a loyal customer. The customer is so appreciative of Scoble’s honesty and help that he buys the camera on sale at the other store but returns to Scoble for all of the lenses and accessories. Being kind and honest to a customer makes them loyal.
Israel’s new book, Lethal Generosity (coming soon), is about business and what retailers are doing with the convergence of technology and a generation of millennials. He points out that millennials are not as freaked out by the personalization of technology because they want the easiest experience. The older generations are still freaked out by what technology can know about you, so the more trustworthy and kind you are as a brand, the more consumers will trust you and let you into their personal information.
Another example that Israel shares of a brand who gained the trust of consumers is TOMS Shoes. The man who started TOMS, Blake Mycoskie, did so because he was exposed to poor children around the world without shoes. He created the brand and tied it to a cause where for every pair of shoes sold, another pair would be donated to a child in need. Consumers will back a company that is centered around a cause and a brand owner who is kind and trustworthy.
Israel explains that experience trumps brand. The idea is to give customers the very best experience. If the brand has a ‘Trust me, first’ approach, they will earn trust back from their consumers.