Monday, August 06, 2012

Brand Transformation on the Internet
To Aaron Shapiro, CEO of the digital agency Huge, online marketing means creating immersive environments where people go to get their problems solved.

This is a fascinating interview that I strongly suggest you read in full. Whether you are a B to C or B to B company, the importance of your digital face to your customers is growing exponentially.

What kind of online marketing strategy makes the most of digital media?..... companies don’t thrive by selling products or services anymore. They thrive by creating immersive experiences where people go to get their problems solved or their aspirations realized…
… If you think about the history of brands since World War II, most of them were fundamentally built through storytelling. A 30-second ad would blast out a narrative for a passive audience. But on the Web, consumers are not a captive audience, so marketers need a very different approach.
People are interested in utility. When users go online
(B to C or B to B), in particular, they are very task-oriented. …….To be sure, they want to feel good about what they buy, and they’re still looking for a connection. But they will only respond to a marketing message they think is relevant. They’re not a passive audience that will buy something after seeing a story….
… Users are people who interact with your company in the digital space — on your website, by e-mail, or on Facebook or Twitter. Customers are a subset of them. You could be a user of Amazon and never buy a product; you would just go to its site to read reviews, apply for a job, or publish a book. When companies focus on fulfilling the needs of this broader group of users, they are much more successful than if they just serve customers….
… S+B question: For a typical consumer packaged goods company, is this true? Don’t the majority of customers go to the store, pick up a bottle of cola or bleach, and never become website users at all?
SHAPIRO: There is certainly a large segment of that type of customer; TV is not going away. But the percentage is declining over time. In 2011, according to Forrester Research, 50 percent of all consumer sales involved an Internet experience. The big change is the number of people who use digital as their primary point of reference for making decisions and learning about brands. They research a product online before they buy it, or buy it online directly. There is no such thing as an offline business anymore.

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