Our chat focuses on the importance of change of mindset to the traditional integrated agency structure.
You’ve highlighted a gap in talent with the pace of change. Is there also a lack of knowledge/direction from senior executives who have stuck to the ways they have always been used to?
An MIT Sloan and Capgemini Consulting report, “Embracing Digital Technology,” found that while 78% of respondents indicated that digital transformation will be critical to their organization within the next two years, 63% felt the pace of change was too slow. “Lack of urgency” was the most frequently cited obstacle.
It’s common for business leaders to become comfortable with historical success and lack the motivation to change. In addition, if decision makers lack confidence in their own abilities to guide digital transformation, then they may hinder progress to preserve power and control (whether consciously or not).
Staying the course has its downfalls though, as it can leave the door open for more agile companies to come in and upend current market leaders.
Do you believe that most businesses are not using the technology they have, very well (from a website that isn’t optimised for mobile, to continuous broadcast messages on social channels)?
One of the challenges I’ve seen with technology utilization is that often, organizations have disparate solutions that don’t play nice with one another. They may have the best-in-breed technologies across disciplines (e.g. email, web, social monitoring, etc.), but if they aren’t integrated, then the customer experience will suffer.
My advice is for marketers to take a close look at technology at a high-level, and see if there are ways that they can better optimize their infrastructure as a whole for success. From there, invest the time into proper training on individual solutions and best practices so that teams have enough product and strategy knowledge to fully leverage functionality for the betterment of the organization.
Is the non linear path of the customer journey a process that businesses need to understand a lot clearer?
The non-linear buying path is definitely an important aspect of building marketing strategies. More sources influence customer decisions than ever before, and buyers often bounce between smartphones, computers, tablets and in-person experiences when accessing options.
Successful organizations will be those that are tracking the journey, connecting user experiences across touch points and personalizing their outreach. This takes an agile and holistic approach to marketing management, and the proper technology in place to measure and target communications.
Do businesses need to create better (and more emotive) content where people remember (and warm to) you at different stages of the buying journey?
When building a content strategy, we always recommend that marketers start with their buyer personas—What are their pain points? What information are they seeking? What stage in the buying process are they?
By creating different types of content for each stage of the buying process, and then effectively targeting content to the right individuals at the right time, marketers can more readily move individuals along to purchase. For example, a high-level blog post might serve well at the awareness stage, whereas more technical implementation information may be needed at the consideration phase.
While the types of content (e.g. format, tone, style, etc.) will vary based on industry and product/service, a thorough buyer persona discovery will give you a solid starting point to create content that will resonate. Then, once you have some content published, analyze the metrics to see what performed best, and adapt strategy if needed.
Is competitive advantage in abundance when businesses learn to adapt quicker than others?
Yes. Those that regularly monitor and adapt to technology and communication trends stand to advance their businesses, exceed ROI expectations and outperform their competition. There’s an early-mover advantage for those organizations that realize change is needed and put the processes in place to evolve.
What inspires you to learn? How do you develop personally and professionally?
I’ve always felt that the marketing industry was ripe for disruption, and that those with the will and vision to evolve would be the ones that thrived. Being a part of that larger transformation conversation inspires me on a daily basis. It’s more than just building a successful company at PR 20/20; it’s about driving industry-wide change.
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time reading marketing and business books and blogs, and meeting with really interesting individuals. I also have a great team at PR 20/20 that is constantly challenging themselves to learn, evolve and push the limits. They inspire me to a better professional and a better person, everyday.
Huge thanks to Paul for his time, consideration and being part of the Talking Content Marketing series. Why not find out more from Paul’s side of the marketing stratosphere:
Paul on Twitter: click here
The PR20/20 Blog: click here