Posts Tagged ‘post digital’

2020 – Forecasting What a Post-Social Business World Looks Like

October 14th, 2010

In an earlier post, I described that we are now at a post-digital point where buyers don’t care whether the interaction is digital or not. As I was thinking about it, I thought I would outline what a 2020 post-social world would look like. A point where social was so ingrained in our behaviors that social didn’t matter. Yes, I am possibly going to be wrong on most things or the timing (think 1950’s forecasting flying cars by 2000), but interesting to see how much I get right over the next 10 years. (Yes, I know this will still be out there on the web floating around).

Smart Markup Language (SML) – Think HTML, XML, and Web Services for the semantic and social generation. This language will allow applications to share and consume smart applications and will include semantic tags, pre-built categories of tags, descriptions of taggers (history, context, etc), and support for smart apps to apply processing and preference handling.

Smart Applications (Smart Apps or “Smart Asses”) – Component applications designed to consume personalization and plug-in-play assemblage.  These applications will contain configuration for systems, information, data, and user preference management elements.

Social Objects- The definition of social will blend back into the background. Everyone will become a social object. The definitions of relationships won’t have to be pre-defined, but rather a seamless spectrum from transactional to permanent. Much like how people interact offline today. I need to buy something from a vendor, I interact. I want to connect with a friend, I connect. The idea of my own social network will disappear as people will not define how they share things with fixed labels. I will share some things with some friends, or some colleagues or the world depending upon my preferences around the information or application.

Personal Digital Assistance (PDAs) – Won’t be an AI, but rather a series of smart applications designed to work together. Communications, information, contacts, work-flow, presentation, etc will work to present information and support your environment. The idea of personal versus professional will no longer be limited dimensions (time and location). I will share information and collaborate with whom I need to, when, where, and how on a personal and informational level. My PDAs will screen, catalog, filter, and connect me to the right people, information, data, and applications as needed. I will set personal guidelines for when I respond to certain types of information, communications, etc. I will set priority codes for individuals so that my wife can always reach me for emergencies. As for that annoying co-worker, you seemingly are always busy, right?

Smart Information Grid- Markets, businesses, and communities will be highly connected in a series of Smart Apps, Social Objects, and PDAs. Businesses will be architected to plug in the right people, information, data, and applications to get the job done. The idea of a fixed information architecture will move to a more dynamic, consumption driven architecture. Think the idea of a network of applications and people working together. Virtual will fade away as the need to define what or where something is will be irrelevant.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes to get there or even if we make it to the vision above. The reality is that these trends are emerging today. The idea of virtual work and the fixed idea of work and personal are blending. Applications are becoming smarter, interfaces are becoming more personal, and social networks are proving that the rigid structures of traditional applications don’t really need to be so structured.

When you apply this to consumers, you also realize that the over-automation of the web-based, self-service model of customer experience is really a dinosaur, but only now are we seeing the tools emerge to make these tools extinct. For those who have sat on the phone waiting for a call center to fix a problem, it can’t happen fast enough.

If Content is King, What Does that Make My Writer's Block?

June 24th, 2009

I have been suffering from writer’s block for about a week on my blog. I even had an editorial calendar and the blog titles written. I got busy in meetings and I couldn’t concentrate on writing. Although, I actually have some really cool perspectives on social marketing and CRM that I have been developing, but nothing that was ready for prime time. It was interesting to watch my blog traffic to see how it would hold up without my daily posts.

As I only posted one time last week, my traffic dropped slightly, but actually held for most of the week and spiked on the day that I posted. Now, I was looking for how close the relationship between the activities that I do to promote my blog (and myself) are tied to my traffic. I am doing a guerrilla level marketing program leveraging my blog, my social networks, and a $50/mo email marketing program. Essentially, the tools available to every small business without a budget. I don’t expect to become the next Seth Godin, famous marketing blogger, but I do expect that I can build an audience with very little resources. My results tell me that I have gotten outside of my own direct marketing efforts and I am now getting residual traffic from my prior marketing activities.

In addition to assisting me in finding my next opportunity(s), I am using my blog to provide a tangible case study of what can be done on a very little budget as representation of what the strategy could accomplish with a much larger budget. I am also using the concept of the blog as a repesentation of a corporate website. In my new social marketing model, the website is becoming the focal point of all the marketing activities. Prospective customers do not really care where the interaction is, they just want to get the information they need where and when they want it. I call this post-digital because when everything is digital; then digital doesn’t matter.

To that end, you have heard the phrase “publish or perish?” That describes blogging. Also, is an apt expression for creating fresh, compelling content with strong emotional hooks into your website.

So, back to my writer’s block. If content is king, then there are a few lessons that can be applied for companies looking at building content to help drive interest in their company:

1. Editorial Calendar – You need one for your content. It saved me last week in that it still kept me on pace to do at least one post. It also will help a team of people on track.

2. Be Consistent – I was getting great traffic when I was writing every daily, sometimes twice daily; even to a simple wordpress blog.

3. Be Relevant – I write for my audience, which is my contacts, who are business executives. I try not to write for techo-wonks about the infinite depths of a technical topic. My audience is also whom I partner, work, and sell so I want to be as approachable; to appeal to the “decision maker.” I can get more technical about software and infrastucture when talking with a CTO or CIO, but I save that for particular face-to-face meetings. I find technical specs hard to swallow as “easy reading.”

4. Content by Committee – Realize that it is almost impossible to sustain a huge torrent of content by yourself; let alone make it relevant, compelling, and fresh. That is why communities are so appealing with different voices, perspectives, interaction, and ideas. It doesn’t hurt that it drives SEO through the roof, provides a larger pool of contributors, and allows for different audiences.

5. Get it Viral – Keep in mind that you already have a relationship with your network, but you need to reach a broader group of contacts that don’t know you to drive more business. Sherry Heyl, Atlanta-based social media goddess and friend, talks about building consumble bites of content that can be distributed easily. The key to success is to get your morsels of content, “sound bites”, into circulation and distributed beyond your first and second degree contacts to go viral.

To that end, I am working on creating a social marketing planning framework that I will share over the next few weeks. The social marketing plan will assist companies in building online relationships, leveraging integrated website communities, building compelling calls to action to generate website traffic, managing effective customer experiences, and developing effective measurement systems for the above activities.