Nexus of Forces

“In the Nexus of Forces, information is the context for delivering enhanced social and mobile experiences,” said Chris Howard, managing vice president at Gartner. “Mobile devices are a platform for effective social networking and new ways of work. Social links people to their work and each other in new and unexpected ways. Cloud enables delivery of information and functionality to users and systems. These forces of the Nexus are intertwined to create a user-driven ecosystem of modern computing.” [4]

With the above Chris Howard emphasizes how each of the forces affects the others in                  driving a new technology platform.

Which semiconductor company is winning the B2B social media marketing battle? This    would seem a nonsensical question few years ago. This is a publitek report showing how times have changed. But now we know that ‘every company is a media company.. or soon will be” [8]. Atmel, a semiconductor company is referred to as ‘a media company, selling semiconductors’ in the Marketing video, which is now a Stanford case study.

Social

As new channels are adopted by the consumers, companies too should get proactive and meet the client where they are. Depending on the customer segment, the channels can be different. Some of that is already done by the claws and consolidation of social bigs like Facebook when they acquired tbh (to be honest).

Social media makes customization easy by analyzing the value that consumers attach to existing or proposed components of current or hypothetical “virtual” products [1]. Starbucks allows you to make a virtual Frappucino on a social site where they can understand the popular choices before investing in them [1]. Adagio teas rewards customers creations liked by other customers, with points which can then be redeemed. This activity is on Facebook which makes social sharing easy. In ‘Creating Customer Value’ article, we learn that customers are willing to create content for ‘social capital’.

“Trending now” and “you might also like” suggestions from recommendation engine leverage the collective behavior. You might also like feeds the like of a customer in one segment to the rest of them. This is a customer-centric approach where we make the customers aware of solutions appropriate to their context and situation.

For a B2B company like Atmel, engaging the hacker and maker community globally on social media was a big part of their marketing makeover.

“Customers are no longer at the mercy of what a brand is telling them” [Johnson]. With social media, prospective customers find out about the product from other users.

Since social media is accessible to all, marketing must put in more effort to be Authentic, Relevant and Transparent to engage customers. In ‘Branding in the Social Media’ article, Douglas Holt provides some examples like Coca Cola’s Digital Magazine that did not take off. He also shows how it is a different ball game than the traditional branding. Johnson points out in his book that customers reward marketing campaigns that are closely linked to developments in the world around them. It is not always that a  company gets to change the norms of the world like how Dove’s Real beauty Campaign rewrote the beauty norms but you still have to be in the social media game and play the traffic.

Information

93% of B2B purchases start with an internet search [6]. This shows how important it is to be available to the customers on the internet changing from one directional communication to online conversation [6]. Content marketing, SEO and other web analytics are even more important now. Since the information is widely available, it is important to have a consistent brand image and relationship across all channels. Mello Yello of coke has this consistency in messages across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other media. Atmel calls this integrated multichannel approach.

Atmel realized that now brand management is done in collaboration with customers when Sander Arts says, “It is the age of the customer. Customers engage differently; we don’t own out brand anymore”.

For a tech company like Atmel, customer conversion can be tracked through datasheet, application note and other document downloads.

Texas instruments had an article ’25 functions for 25c’ along with a link for an ebook. Usually ebooks are available on a company’s website but by making that link available earlier in the funnel, the company is doing a good information management by ensuring that the consumer does not have to go through exploration of competitors and evaluates the value of their products right away. Tech companies are stacking up their digital assets with ‘how to’ videos and information on how the new products add value by simplifying an application.

Unification of customer information across purchasing, communication and social media channels can break down silos to afford marketer a 20/20 vision of the business [Johnson]. Johnson also talks about web personalization by marketers which will be even more stickier than content marketing.

Mobile

All digital assets of a tech or semiconductor company like Atmel (now Microchip) available on the internet, can be pervasively accessed from anywhere on any of the mobile devices. When a company is highly engaged on the social media with its customers, the power of the mobile can be used by being available anywhere.

Mobile computing allows sales engineers to be out in the filed talking to customers [4]. While information makes it such that 70% of the buying process is complete before prospects engage with a live person [6].

Digital Information is also the backbone for analytics that can increase Market Intelligence and Business Intelligence. It can be used for targeted analytics like the ones offered by Vendavo and Pros which can save you more than 2% with their dynamic pricing capabilities with more visibility provided to the salespeople. Data Analytics can help manufacturers manage their supply chains [8], thereby inventory. Johnson too refers to Mckinsey’s The Dawn of Marketing’s Golden Age article, in which an industrial products company used analytics to reset many price points over a wide product portfolio.

With Cloud adoption, businesses can become agile by being able to work from anywhere as well as let other companies take care of maintaining the data center while the business focuses on gleaning the value out of it. Companies can increase efficiency and reduce risk if they can collect and process data quickly enough to impact a campaign as it is still happening [Johnson].

Johnson points out the impact of digital and the needs for companies to quickly turn customer data into actionable insights in his book, the Future of Marketing. According to him, marketing can be made ‘relevant’ by using the insight to target campaigns to individuals. Also these insights can be used for customer retention. It takes more money to acquire a new customer than keep an already converted customer.

With terms like Marketing Technology getting popular, you can see how the dividing line between marketing, communications, IT, data and customer services in blurring as mentioned in Johnson’s book.

 

References

  1. How technology can drive the next wave of mass customization, McKinsey on Business Technology.
  2. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/04/22/178453653/if-tvs-your-cup-of-tea-try-a-character-infused-blend
  3. Gartner Nexus of Forces study
  4. https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2097215
  5. Johnson Nick, The Future of Marketing.
  6. Arts Sander, Is there glamour & ROI in semiconductor marketing? https://app.box.com/s/t3icptknahk1xb28n75d?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_pulse_read%3BLyPkhCD8SgmirHpc8X5N%2Fg%3D%3D
  7. Which semiconductor company is winning the B2B social media marketing battle? https://www.publitek.com/news/semiconductor-company-winning-b2b-social-media-marketing-battle/
  8. https://www.forbes.com/sites/benkerschberg/2014/10/10/6-technology-articles-you-must-read-today-a-look-at-analytics-business-intelligence-big-data-clustering-manufacturing-innovation/#1a2edfdd4b08
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