Tech forecasters often latch onto the latest technology under the assumption that everyone will want to adopt the latest and greatest digital tools, but there’s significant evidence to suggest that consumers aren’t as snowed by shiny new things as the tech industry would like them to be. Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways to set yourself apart.
Virtual Reality, Automation and Retail
There’s a simple truth that some futurists and forecasters would rather we ignore: lots of tech predictions end up being hilariously wrong. We were supposed to having flying cars by now, right? The fact is, tech requires wild imagination and daring dreams to propel itself forward, and a lot of those innovative concepts never see the light of days. Even those that do, like virtual reality, can land with a thud when it comes to actually delivering consumers what they want.
Tech overlords would have us believe that in the future, people will essentially conduct all of their business online, ordering their “internet of things” devices to complete basic tasks as automated bots and machines handle the rest. But is that what people actually want? The recent resurgence of retail suggests that visions of our completely digital futures may be a bit overblown. While some retail businesses are certainly struggling to stay afloat, a new class of experience-focused businesses are thriving in the physical space. This is a significant trend that shouldn’t be ignored.
Classic Customer Service in the Digital Space
So what is it that makes thriving brick-and-mortar businesses stand so steady against the digital tide? When you think about the issue from the perspective of individuality and interaction, the answer becomes clear. As much as technology develops around us, people are still essentially the same. We’re still social animals with individual wants and needs. A format that lumps everyone into a faceless mass and provides no real outlets for direct connection may provide convenience, but it doesn’t provide the direct connection that so many people crave.
So how do you leverage this if you run a digital-only business? Give your customers at least one way to connect with your brand directly. This often means using social media as a platform not only to reach out but to talk back as well. Leave comments active on all your social media accounts, and respond to questions or particularly noteworthy comments from your followers. Consider running giveaway contests and other interactive promotions that engage your followers and provide a specific payoff for engagement.
Don’t shy away from branching out into the real world as well. You can host in-person events such as pop-up shops or booths at major festivals or conventions and post pictures from these events in your feeds. An actual brick-and-mortar store isn’t the only way to go about it anymore. If you can turn your brand into a destination, you’ll enhance your appeal and prestige, giving your followers more reasons to stay connected and see if they can come experience your product line in person.
Marketing in the digital era requires regular maintenance and constant innovation. Rather than running your team ragged to keep up, you can save money and get better results by working with an external marketing agency.
When you try to recruit highly talented pros onto your team, you’ve got to offer them something no one else will. The more experience and success the marketing professional has, the more you’ve got to outmaneuver your competitors to bring the right people into the fold. Fail to keep your highly prized team member satisfied and you may find him or her moving onto another job, taking the skills and knowledge they’ve gained since joining your team with them and leaving you in the position of having to go through the hiring process once again.
costs associated with recruiting and hiring. Independent marketing firms want to build long-lasting relationships with their clients, and they aren’t going to be chasing the job with the best benefits package or the most comprehensive in-office perks.
Top Talent on Demand
Working with an external marketing agency not only saves money but also brings in better talent. Recruiting marketers can be tough, but marketing agencies tend to have a special edge in this arena. Marketers who are responsible for taking over an entire marketing operation as a one-person department often find themselves having to work on other tasks not related to their area of expertise, and the people who dedicate their professional lives to understanding the art and science of branding usually aren’t thrilled by this idea.
Specialist firms allow marketing geniuses the opportunity to focus in on the skills they’re most passionate about, which results in focused, creative outcomes. External marketing firms may shift gears between different projects, but they’re always focused on the same essential tasks. Everything a marketing specialist does will sharpen his or her skill set and bring fresh ideas to the table.
A New Perspective
The pervasive reach of digital media has given rise to the age of the highly publicized marketing fail, with major marketing mistakes taking on a life of their own and causing millions to scratch their heads, wondering how something like this could happen. No matter how hard we try to fight it, humans have a tendency to want to fall in line with a group. Speaking out against an idea that everyone else in your office is excited about can be tough.
Bringing in different perspectives helps organizations avoid what often seems like obvious mistakes to everyone but the people working on the project. External marketing agencies don’t operate under the same roof as their clients, and the interplay between the agency and their client introduces a system of checks and balances in which the final result has been thoroughly vetted and considered both by the people who know the product best and the marketing experts who know how to sell it.