Picture this: late seventies. People actually go to the store to buy things, and yacht rock is at its unironic prime. To the average person, the word “computer” conjures mammoth machines that fill up an entire room, just to spit out long scrolls of calculations. That is, unless you were a user.
Nebo turned 15 this year. We’ve been very lucky. We’ve grown every year. We’ve never laid a single employee off. We’ve won a ton of awards. We’ve worked with some amazing clients, we’ve been a part of some exciting campaigns, and we’ve worked side by side with some of the most talented people in the industry who we call teammates.
However, success can have its downsides. Success can cause us to focus on what has worked and what is working, at the expense of what will work in the future. When you simply say “Don’t fix what isn’t broken,” innovation stops. Blind spots form and lead to sacred cows.
That’s why we believe in attacking our own work. We’re constantly critiquing, deconstructing and rethinking our own products, services, processes and methods to make them better. Over the years we’ve dramatically changed processes, restructured departments and even reinvented entire service lines (like PR, CRO and Social Media Marketing).
But reinventing the interactive collection of services is a different beast. It’s more than attacking a single department — it’s slaying a den of dragons. UX, Design, Content and Engineering are all intricately connected. You can’t change one without affecting the rest. That’s why in the past, we’ve taken relatively smaller steps, evaluating projects in post-mortems or revising process issues as they arise.
But this year, we’re taking a big leap. We’re completely reinventing our interactive services from the ground up.
One of the reasons I love marketing and advertising is that it’s filled with incredibly smart and talented people. That makes sense given the biggest brands in the world spend billions each year in an effort to better connect with their customers.
However, like any other industry, there are deeply embedded norms and practices that don’t make sense. I could go on a long rant about all of the things that are broken in our industry, but I’ve done that a few times already in previous posts (here, here and here).
What I want to focus on here is how, despite all of the effort and brainpower marketers put into our craft, we fail over and over again to put our time and efforts where they matter most.
Customer experience is the game. It’s not a channel. It’s not a campaign. It’s not our clever tactics. Those things matter. However, what we often fail to see and understand is the 360-degree online/offline customer experience.
And if we optimize that, we win. We win because when our customers win, we win. It’s a virtuous cycle.
The printing press changed the world. Then radio and TV did the same. Then the internet. Then mobile. You get the picture. Each of these innovations changed consumer behavior forever.
Voice technology is about to do the same.
For marketers, the holiday season is an insanely exciting (and stressful) time of year. We’re bringing our best ideas to life. We’re using all of the MarTech tools in our arsenal. Our media buys and targeting strategies are in full swing. We’re just waiting to crush our numbers and roll into the next year feeling like marketing heroes.
However, we have to remember that we’re really not that special. Every marketer is saturating every channel with their marketing and advertising campaigns.
The consumer, who holds all the power (and is getting blasted with marketing messages and ads across every possible place their eyes glance), doesn’t really think your Black Friday deal on light bulbs is really that special.