In looking back at the year, certain themes and topics about the impact of technology on business stand out. Specifically, they highlight how much we have come to rely on tools, and how quickly we are forgetting about the people.
It is also becoming clear to me that the discipline of writing (almost) daily on this site for more than seven years has helped me develop a more thoughtful approach to work.
My focus continues to be on customer conversations, and how service and product experiences impact relationships and culture. I have been calling this the promise economy — and although we are in a time of great chaos, we are also starting to see more clearly where the opportunities are as main themes recur:
- Technology is starting to fade into the background. Our preferences are dictated by convenience and context: we use smartphones, tablets, SmartTVs, and laptops interchangeably and as appropriate to get stuff done. Wearable tech, connected homes, and measurable self are not too far behind.
- The line between physical and virtual, personal and social, private and public is a moving one. Our digital and social behaviors are leaving a data trail: where relevance might delight us, excessive targeting and automation continue to be a big turnoff. Empowerment with digital/social tools creates more work for individuals even as it delivers benefits with going direct.
- Greater attention-deficit calls for the design of experiences worth having. We are human, and the more choices are in front of us, the more we feel overwhelmed. In this environment, signal comes from appropriate, mindful, imaginative, caring, and bold gestures. Value flows to those who create guideposts to help understand what is bed rock and what is sand.
My selection from 2013 posts:
- Why customers turn to social for support
- Evolution of social
- Technology is a vital link to customers
- Why have a blog?
- Digital products as evolution of content
- Voice of the customer: who is in charge?
- Why so many companies fail to deliver on customer service
- Why on earth would you still bother with blogging?
- Companies that have managed the convergence of marketing and IT well
- 5 themes on the future of social
- How confidence builds credibility, and lack of action erodes trust
- Patagonia's Yvon Chouinard Shows Brands they Don't Have to Buy into the Usual Growth Path Story
- Design experiences that put users at the center
- Lack of cohesive social strategy plan prevents firms from fully realizing the benefits of digital
- Social continues to be a core strategic business driver
- No, Big Data should not replace thinking
- How digital transformation drives business value
- Readiness and maturity for social integration
To cap it all, my content marketing prediction for 2014:
What will separate the long remembered from the quickly forgotten will be the ability to connect all brand activities into a positive-sum experience. Winner brands will be Secretaries of Understanding, Champions of Network Smarts, and Meaningful Actions Agents who master the ability to draw relationships between relationships.
Thank you as always for reading, sharing, and acting on the lessons learned.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.