Take 2: MITX’s FutureM & The Future of Brand Experiences

Jack Blog

October 11th, 2010 By Jack Morton

Last week I posted a few initial thoughts on MITX‘s inaugural FutureM. The dust now settled, I find myself recovering from what seems like the myopia of an infatuated pre-pubescent lover: mobile technology and social media aren’t the end-all of the future of marketing. They’re just one of many arrows in the quiver marketers must use to target audiences’ hearts and minds. That is, they’re just just one component of a broader engagement strategy. What follows are a few other insights I drew from the experience.

  1. In a sea of technology, “humanity” is needed more than ever. Whether it’s user interface design, an engaging social content strategy, or messaging imbued with authenticity, ‘humanness’ (thanks, Chris Brogan) is more important than ever. In a world where people are inundated with incessant messaging from a million different companies through a million different channels, a ‘human touch’ and, more importantly, a human voice is often the competitive differentiator (even if it is through a digital channel). While the focus was on emerging technologies, the reason was clear: the eyes and ears (and, hence, minds and hearts) of audiences are moving toward them. The mission of marketers, however, is still the same: engage people (to sell stuff). And people prefer ‘humanness’ to impersonal messaging.
  2. Myriad metrics have fostered both insights and short-sightedness. The multi-angled measurability of traffic through digital media has provided ways for marketers to keep an increasingly accurate track of how users interact with content. Undoubtedly, this provides insight into what online consumers want. But, among some panelists, I noticed push-back. Some might dismiss this as marketers’ harkening back to a less accountable age. Deeper thought, however, revealed an intuitive insight: relationships take time to build. The availability of metrics in real-time have fostered desire for immediate gratification. But selling and relationship-building (among people and between brands and people) often take longer than a financial quarter. Reporting short-term ROI versus tracking longer-term brand building is something marketers seem only to have scratched the surface of — and only a few do well.
  3. Many content strategies need a modern makeover. A content strategy for the modern marketer involves more than just story-telling and selling, which (unsurprisingly) are still critical parts of the schema. Among the additional tactics, Holland-Mark’s Mike Troiano noted, is to become a conduit for relevant but externally-created content (from thought leaders/influencers, consumers and even competitors). Tapping into externally-created content (even if it’s from competitors) will demonstrate to consumers that your brand cares about providing a complete picture of the conditions surrounding an experience, regardless of where it comes from. Naturally, though, this also involves listening to your audiences and competitors, as well as curating content from external sources.

NOTE: Stay posted for details on a Jack Morton Twitter chat on mobile technologies’ effects on brand experiences! We’re excited to have you join this conversation (#jackmobile)!