generation C Archives - Smarter Commerce
The rapid growth of social media, paired with the dawn of always-on, completely mobile technology, has given rise to Generation C: natives to the digital lifestyle. They aren’t just connected—they’re hyper-connected. Their connections have connections.
Today, connected, empowered consumers—also known as of Generation C—have come to expect businesses to know them, to understand them, and to deliver what they want, where, when and how they want it.
They demand superior service, competitive prices, and quick …
It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving and most everyone is back in the office. But I wonder how many people, while plowing through their to-do lists and meetings, are actually keeping a weather eye on Cyber Monday sales and deals.
The simple answer is that connected consumers—those digital natives whose smart phones or tablets are never out of reach and who feel that it’s not just their right but their duty to comment on your brand—are slowly but surely changing the rules of the commerce game. What defines these consumers isn’t a typical, boring demographic like age or income, but connectedness. These are people who are nearly always online and who live a digital lifestyle of constant tweets and Facebook updates.
I read (and then re-read) an insightful piece in the New York Times last week: The End of the Offline World as We Know It?, by Jenna Wortham. Wortham’s article was actually a summary of readers’ reactions to an earlier article she had written about unplugging and learning to live in the moment.
Both times, I found myself wondering if I was the only person who actually felt more connected and therefore, more in the moment, precisely because of technology. I don’t think in terms that distinguish or separate my online and offline experiences because that’s simply not how I live my life. I suspect many people feel the same way.
I’ve talked a lot about the odd couple pairing of the CMO and CIO. More often than not, we look at this partnership through the lens of the CMO, but I think it’s equally important to consider the CIOs perspective. Just as the CMO needs to change to adapt to the needs of Generation C, the CIO must also evolve in order to be an equal partner in this CMO/CIO equation.
In a lot of ways, marketing has viewed the IT department as a proverbial stick in the mud – a roadblock to marketing’s fast paced needs. And let’s be honest, in many ways, that’s true. The CIO has been trapped in a long, painful process of working through IT needs and inevitably became marketing’s biggest obstacle to accomplishing their short term tasks. So instead of working with the CIO and their team, the CMO simply went around IT and began working with outside vendors, creating their own complicated system, which led to inefficiencies and uncoordinated marketing strategies.
Now I’m not saying CIOs should simply lower standards and discard key IT processes but they do need to consider whether or not standard processes can be changed to accelerate business needs for CMOs. I don’t believe many CIOs even consider how their processes might be affecting their front office counterparts. CIOs need to look at the front lines and focus on their agility and ability to quickly respond to marketing needs, which are critical in today’s fast paced multichannel climate. CIOs need to move away from being seen as a hindrance to marketing success and instead become a trusted partner to the CMO, one that will provide added value, versus stalling marketing projects.
“The revolution will not be televised.” So the protest movement of the 1960s proclaimed. At the time, the phrase was intended to convey the powerful notion that protesters were making history and changing society, even if the mass media chose to ignore them.
Fast forward a few decades and the phrase takes on a different, more nuanced, but no less powerful meaning. There is a revolution unfolding all around us but it’s not taking place on TV; it’s taking place across social networks, on tablets and mobile devices. The drivers of this revolution are citizen influencers—connected customers—who come from every walk of life but share one thing in common: a digital lifestyle. They’re utterly at ease chatting on social networks. Their mobile phones are always within reach. They’ve mastered the science of online searches and they happily share their findings. And they’re rapidly rewriting the rules of business.
This isn’t a future scenario. This is here and now. The New York Times’s Stephanie Clifford just wrote an article about how many of the most popular brands in the U.S.—among them, Frito-Lay, Estee Lauder’s MAC Cosmetics, and Wal-Mart—have all turned to social media to better understand their customers. Indeed, many brands are increasingly turning to social media to crowd source new products, my personal favorite being Samuel Adams, which developed its B’Austin Ale by directly asking people what they wanted in a new beer and then acting on that information.
Marketers have plenty of good intentions when it comes to their desire to have a common view of the customer. Our IBM State of Marketing Survey 2012 in fact showed that 85 percent of marketers would like an integrated marketing suite to gain a better line of sight on their campaigns and customers.
But sometimes good intentions hit the rocky shores of reality. And this is what we found in our survey, with many respondents saying that disparate systems and budget constraints were challenges to accessing, managing, and analyzing data across channels.
Speaking of reality. Akin Arikan, EMM product marketing manager, and I had our own heavy dose of reality this past Thursday during the Q&A of our Webinar, Do You Compare? Insights from IBM’s Annual Global Survey of Marketers: Bringing Together Digital and Cross-channel Marketing.
Marketers are struggling with integration. Indeed, the bulk of the questions from the more than 240 webinar participants pointed to data integration challenges: more specifically, where should they start and how should they integrate digital and cross-channel marketing data?
That howling you might be hearing in the sacred halls of your market department is likely no ordinary True Blood-like werewolf; it’s your organization’s digital marketer.
Digital marketer howling, even snarling at traditional marketing colleagues, is clearly a symptom, …