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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Brands: If You Want My Loyalty…

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, I’ll try to make this rant – I mean, this post – short and sweet.  

Brands, if you want my loyalty, start using technology and stop pushing your cards on me! 

Honestly – in a world full chock full of technologies that have demonstrated capability  to make our consumer experiences better, it’s amazing to me how many times a day you can still ask me, “Do you have your <fill in the blank> card today?”, especially when my reply is often “No, sorry, I don’t.”

Please stop making me feel like I’ve failed you before I’ve even given you my order (and my money)!  You’re immediately making me feel uncomfortable, defensive, guilty, and, well… a lot less loyal.

You already use technology to record and retain plenty of information regarding me.  You already use technology to measure and analyze program results.  Now how about leveraging technology to improve the process at its most important point – interacting with your customers? 

I shouldn’t need to carry piles of plastic and paper punch cards in an already over-stuffed wallet to “prove” my loyalty.  You should be able to use technology to already know who I am, or at least provide a much more convenient, seamless way for me to identify myself.

Ever hear of the Web?  Email?  Social media?  Mobile apps?  Location based services?  Entire businesses dedicated to providing you with turn-key loyalty programs in a completely digital manner?  The list goes on and on.  You need to consider technology as a key component in every step of your program.  

Brands, it’s really not that hard.  From the customer perspective, loyalty programs should be…

…well-designed…

…intuitive…

…simple…

…seamless…

…convenient…

…rewarding…

…and…

PAPER AND PLASTIC FREE.

Anybody else out there feeling the same way?

– Jim S.

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What’s Next for the Chief Marketing Technologist?

If you have an interest in understanding how marketing can successfully harness technology in your organization, you’ll care very much about what Scott Brinker has to say.

If you haven’t heard of Scott, don’t worry – you will soon.  He is the President & CTO of a digital agency called ion interactive, and he has recently produced a great piece of work entitled “Rise of the Marketing Technologist”.  Originally presented back in April at the Search Insider Summit, and since featured in CMO.com, his message has struck a chord with many of us in the industry who want to see the powerful combination of marketing and technology reach its full potential for businesses.

Scott’s basic premise is that marketing must control its technological destiny, and that the introduction of a new role within the marketing organization – the Chief Marketing Technologist – provides a key to success.   Here is a link to his full SlideShare presentation

Rather than analyzing or critiquing his work further in this post, my intent is to amplify the message and help “get the word out” to those people and organizations that can benefit from Scott’s comprehensive approach to marketing technology.

I had the good fortune to speak with Scott last week regarding his thought process behind the creation of “Rise of the Marketing Technologist”.  It was obvious that a great deal of his motivation came from his passion for business, marketing, and technology done right. 

Just as importantly, Scott is keenly interested in soliciting feedback and inviting discussion as a way to refine this overall concept.  I had the chance to express my viewpoint that extending the idea of a Chief Marketing Technologist role to agencies can create a greater sense of expertise, trust and respect between those agencies and their clients’ IT organizations that so many times seem to be at odds. 

Scott and I talked about where we this type of approach seems to work (and not work).  While case studies and true success stories are still works in progress, Scott sees many encouraging signs of commitment, including GE CMO Beth Comstock’s recent comments at June’s Business Marketing Association (BMA) conference in Chicago, regarding GE’s efforts to “marry” marketing and IT.  On the flip side, we agree this type of approach falls short in instances where organizations elect to throw lower-level technology “doers” into the mix as opposed to C-level leaders and strategists.

Finally, we discussed the desired target audience for the “Rise of the Marketing Technologist” concept and best ways to get the message out to it.  Scott’s view is that CMOs are the target audience.  I personally think that CEOs, COOs and CIOs would also be good additions to the mix. 

As for best ways to deliver the message, Scott’s initial presentation and subsequent sharing via social media have provided a great starting point.  However, we agree that live marketing events that attract CMOs and other C-level execs can ultimately provide the biggest exposure.  As Scott points out, more opportunities to present at these types of events will likely occur as high profile case studies continue to develop. 

So what’s next for the Chief Marketing Technologist?  If you agree with the concept in principle, what do you think will be the best ways to “advance the movement”?   Who out there is willing to step up with an idea, or even better yet, a great case study?  Please be sure to provide your feedback to Scott via his Chief Marketing Technologist blog, or to me in the form of your comments below.

I’ve got a feeling we’ll be coming back to this topic soon!

– Jim S.

Technologists are Vital to Agency Success

Can agencies be successful without strong technologists?

Many digital agencies are quickly coming to terms with this issue.  Even the best of traditional agencies would have to admit that it is very tough to realize true success in digital efforts without significant technology capabilities.

The sheer number of digital technologies has exploded.  Looking at the expanding landscape of programming languages, tools, application types, and rapidly growing new delivery channels such as mobile & digital signage, combined with increased demand for analytics and measurement on all fronts, and it is easy to understand why agencies must look to take a more holistic approach to technology.

Gone are the days where great creative resources leveraging simpler, visual web development skills were enough to get the job done.  In addition to creativity, it now takes the ability to work across multiple technology platforms and apply skills such as technical feasibility, strategy, architecture, integration, reusability, innovation, and good old-fashioned R&D to thrive in today’s tech-laden world.

Strong technology capabilities are not something agencies should merely outsource and call upon on an as-needed basis.  They must be in-house and involved early in the creative process.  A recent AdWeekMedia special report, The New Tech Heads, underscores how in-house technologists are helping to transform agencies.  With titles such as “Creative Technology Director”, these resources complement agency creativity with IT-based production and problem solving skills.

The bottom line benefits of technologists to agencies and their clients include better ideas, more innovation, less production headaches, and ultimately a much better digital experience for audiences.

Do you agree that technologists are key to agency success?  Disagree?  I’d love to hear your opinions.

– Jim S.