This blog is a part of SCALED’16 Marketing Technology Forum guest blog series.
Text: Saija Mahon – Mahon Digital Marketing Oy / Ltd.
I turn to some of my (very young) team members and ask them how they do their shopping nowadays. They look at me vaguely and respond; ‘of course via my smartphone and my ASOS app or my other apps’ – what I want is one click away. The app even saves my credit card details, brilliant!’
We won’t even need to remember our credit card details anymore, never mind having the plastic card itself. It’s all done for you, it’s all saved. It’s all so very convenient and easy.
Or is it?
Where’s the human element going?
As a passionate digital technology person and marketer myself, this sounds strange coming from me, however I feel that I’ve personally lost something. Perhaps it’s the divide between us marketers for our clients – and us consumers who seek for experiences.
Not that long ago, I used to enjoy my shopping weekends out with the girls.
We would not have anything one click away. We would certainly not be able to pay without cash or credit card. We would walk miles and try on millions of shoes – in the midst of having fun, laughing, catching up and having coffee (or bubbles) with each other. We would have our feet blistered by the end of the day.
We don’t need to talk. We don’t even need to walk. Everything IS one click away. In fact, everything is in front of us before we even know we want it or need it, or desire it.
This is today. This is the future.
This is the evolution of technology and its impact on our lives and on our experiences of what we perceive ‘normal’.
I’m not a digital native – like some of my team members are.
I actually lived and breathed the time when there were no mobile phones, no smartphones, and no internet. My ‘normal’ was completely different to the ‘normal’ of our so called Digital Natives of today.
From a professional point of view – this is something we cannot however ignore. We cannot stop evolution from happening. We cannot stop Justin Bieber from taking over Abba. Life, new life will find its way and we need to keep up, ideally even stay ahead.
Today’s evolution is fast.
With the World Wide Web, the internet, the internet of things, smart phones, smart clothes and all sorts – we are evolving at the speed of light. And change, no matter how we may personally feel, is good if we open our minds to it and let it present us with new, better and revolutionary opportunities.
Sure – we may not have the blisters on our feet that we had back in 1999, we may not run to answer the phone in the excitement of not knowing who’s calling, we may not have to bike across the town to see whether our friend is at home or not, however we are getting smarter, faster and more effective in running our daily lives.
As I ask my team member (of 21 years of age) ‘What have we gained in this digital era?’ He says: Time.
We have gained time.
I argue back, ‘what do you do with that time if you don’t interact?’ He says, ‘I’m interacting all time, I’m interacting more, I’m gaining more time with my friends, with my family, with my team mates’.
I think for a second or two.
Yes, I got it!
By letting digital technology into our lives, we are actually gaining MORE EFFECTIVE TIME.
And it’s a good thing.
With smartphones, we can reach out to our friends (anywhere in the world) instantly. Forget about sending letters already. With social media, we can catch up with our family instantly. We are in each other’s lives more than ever. Even if indeed, it’s all gone a bit digital.
We are global citizens.
We don’t live, behave or act like we used to, or how we were supposed to.
We live all over the world. We go and study, we travel, we form multicultural families. The window of keeping in touch with family and friends is supported by technology. Our gateway to our loved ones is technology, perhaps its social media – it may be WhatsApp or Snapchat. The important thing to remember is, technology brings us closer.
How we tackle that as marketers – brings a whole host of interesting challenges to us.
We need to know who our target market is.
What do they want? How do they behave online? Where do they hang out? What are their values, their culture within their community?
There are no more demographics.
We are not behaving as we should. We are not fitting into boxes anymore.
Digital world and evolution has granted us with a certain amount of freedom.
Freedom from our demographic boxes, freedom from our main cultures – freedom to create our own culture and our own communities. We have a place where we can belong. But it may not be mainstream.
As marketers in the digital arena, we need to harness the power of people.
We need to identify with them, engage with them, speak their language and fulfil their needs. Marketing is not a one way street any longer – we need to listen. And we need to create meaningful conversations.
We need to go deeper than the skin.
We need to be a part of our clients and customers life experience. We need to fit in. We need to ensure we are there for the long haul.
With the ever expanding digital world and the fast pace of evolution, the shift in consumers and businesses moving online, is undeniable.
If your business is not visible in the right place, at the right time, with the right products and services – you may as well throw the towel in.
We need to adapt, we need to adopt.
The high street that we used to run around with blisters on our feet is dying. That high street is the internet now. It’s not only social media and the search engines. It’s the ‘Internet of Things’. And we need to be in it, in order to not be left behind, healing our blisters.
Saija is the founder of Mahon Digital Marketing Ltd and a speaker at SCALED’16 Marketing Technology Forum. After working for some of the biggest global media houses in the world, Saija decided to launch her own business 6 years ago, starting her journey as an entrepreneur from London, UK. Saija has also founded Lonely Robot Web Design agency, that solely specialises in Web design and build within the UK market. Last but not least, Saija has founded a Scandinavian business networking concept called The Caviar Club, which after two years of running, operates in Finland across Turku, Helsinki and Salo. And this is only the beginning.
Mahon Digital Marketing in a nutshell:
Mahon Digital is an international, award-winning media agency specialising in digital marketing and website optimisation. Our core portfolio includes biddable media optimisation, search engine optimisation, content marketing and social media optimisation.
Mahon Digital’s flagship office is located in London, UK and our second office cover Scandinavia from Turku, Finland. Mahon Digital is a fully certified Google and Bing partner agency.
Mahon digital can help their growing global client base to achieve their sales objectives through planning, creating, building and executing complex digital marketing strategies.
At SCALED’16 Marketing Technology Forum, we bring top sales and marketing professionals and decision-makers in Finland together and provide them with keynotes and workshops on the hottest topics in sales and marketing technology. The event takes place in Helsinki, Finland on the 9th of March 2016.