There’s no denying that technology and our culture have shifted tremendously in the past decade or so. The impending arrival of the Internet of Things and the rise of mobile and wearables means we’re always on, always connected, always able to gratify any whim or answer any question with a few clicks. There’s more everything out there—more videos to watch, more information to consume, more groups to join, more spotlights shining on events happening on the other side of the world. And everything’s evolving at a faster and faster pace.
As a consequence, our habits and expectations have changed. Heck, we have changed. The old models of marketing and advertising are gasping their last breaths while new business models, new approaches and new mediums are taking off.
Companies that don’t adapt to these technology and cultural shifts will die. Maybe not tomorrow, but I’d start administering last rites soon.
Which is essentially what ClickZ Live’s conference in New York last week had to say. The conference boasted an impressive array of speakers from quite diverse industries, yet several clear themes emerged. These themes may look familiar to marketers, but whereas they used to be talked about as something to strive for (with only a rare “real life” example cited), they are now becoming a means to survive and thrive in today’s world.
I’ll cover the first three themes today and an additional three next week.
Every now and then, we need a change of perspective to move forward in the world, especially when our circumstances change dramatically.
We’re on the cusp of something huge. Our lives are becoming increasingly networked. More of our devices understand what we say, and some even think (on a basic level) for themselves. Estimates for the number of connected devices by 2020 range from 50 billion to 200 billion. That’s around 25 connected devices per person on the planet. The smart-home industry, which was non-existent a few years ago, will be worth nearly $60 billion by the same year. With hundreds of millions of wearables, connected cars and the like, we’re stepping into a sci-fi reality of Oculus Rift, Microsoft Hololens, Google’s autonomous cars and IBM’s Watson.
If you’re in marketing, you know that sometimes departments don’t align. This becomes especially true when SEO works on a web development project. As SEOs, we look to search engine guidelines to determine how a site should be constructed. Unfortunately, this typically hasn’t reflected what a developer must keep in mind in terms of building a site off of dazzling creative and excellent UX.
A developer’s job is to bring something to life: to build amazing sites, web apps, and platforms that are remarkable. An SEO is responsible for bringing the user and search engine together to drive traffic to what the developer has built. Traditionally, SEOs leave web development to the developers and then come in to optimize after a site is built.
But development is becoming increasingly important to the SEO process. Search engines are evolving and are beginning to consider user experience in the algorithm, which is incorporated and brought to life by developers. All this means SEOs also have to evolve.
For me, writing began as a passion when I was young. It was how I shared my thoughts and feelings when my physical voice failed me (as it often did). Ideas came easily to mind, and my fingers flew across the keys as I typed pages and pages of thoughts and stories.
For someone who hadn’t lived very much life, I had a lot to say.
Like many creatives, I turned my passion into my profession. Because writing was something I enjoyed and something I was good at, I felt I had found the biggest life hack when I realized people would pay me to write.
That’s what us copywriters do. We get paid to write. We write other people’s thoughts, stories, and manifestos. We write their product descriptions and company profiles and websites. We bring stories and brands to life through great writing.
The great copywriters are those who can write like anyone. They’re those who can adopt any brand’s voice and tone, those who can take a fraction of an idea and turn it into something truly beautiful and epic and on-brand. Those who can be anyone.
But what happens when we forget how to be ourselves?
In marketing, we talk a lot about worldviews. You can’t be everything to everyone, so instead, you find an audience, you work to understand their worldviews and you create marketing that resonates with them.
It’s why Starbucks recently ran ads in major newspapers asking people “To go beyond the hatred and vitriol” and find unity during the political process, and why brands as varied as Disney, the NFL, MailChimp and Salesforce took a stand against discrimination and released statements against Georgia’s recent religious freedom bill. They all wanted to align themselves with the core beliefs of their audiences.