There’s an intriguing opportunity for us when we push beyond the theories we’ve been following without questioning—like knowing all pieces of the marketing puzzle have an association to the brand or has the same URL or, worse, hashtag.
Go to a place where your focus is really and truly on connecting the dots.
Since I realized that people don’t really behave like the marketing funnel suggests, I believe it’s time that marketers and those associated—partners, vendors, stakeholders, employees—understand their role as ‘dot connectors’ versus ‘funnel fans’.
Imagine a brand that is driven by an ‘all hands on deck’ effort to make the consumers experience a seamless journey across channels, enabled by technology, inspired by relevant stories, and optimized through planned and attributed data. You can feel the power of that brand. As marketers, and even as consumers, that’s the brand we want to be associated with, right? Focus on making that happen within your brand world. Help your associates see the ability they have in creating that story and empower them to be living connections for a seamless world.
A key point in remembering why better connections are so important lives in the fact that consumers are in control, and that they are utilizing their control over how they interact and with what they chose to interact.
Think about it. As consumers, we decide if and when we want to participate, share, or ignore a brand, ad, communication, app or shop. In this case, matching our creative, offering a new app feature, or even sharp retargeting isn’t enough.
At the very least, brands have to be relevant, useful, and engaging. After all, the only story a consumer really cares about is the one about their own life—the story of ‘me.’ Therefore, we need to evolve our focus from creating a new ad, a new website, a new device and instead move toward thinking about the ‘world of me,’ that world in which a consumer lives and how the brand can help enhance that world.
The goal here is to create such a tightly connected world, such a seamless consumer journey, that every experience, in every story, ends with a comma and not a full stop.
The Miami Heat is a top-notch organization, not just because its talented players triumph over other teams; the Heat is winning in the fan engagement/digital marketing arena as well. Let’s look at why:
- Audacious goal setting: To be paperless, to be cashless, to engage daily fan interactions (not just after tip off and post buzzer).
- Change organizational structure (removing silos and encouraging collaboration)
- Reorganize the business model (establish updated revenue streams)
- Employ Storyscaping to craft connected fan experiences
- Integrate new technology
Winning with fans to this degree meant building a platform experience (not just building an app) that literally connects Heat fans anywhere in the world, through 365 days of custom-served content. Whether or not a game is on—the content and connection continuously flow.
With this new platform, the Heat now has the ability to aggregate multiple pieces of important information based from the fan’s journey.
Here’s an example. We can see that Seat XYZ on the 100 level of the arena, was purchased by Jimmy, a season ticket holder. The day before home game 11, Jimmy read an article about the Heat on his mobile phone, while he was in Kansas. He shared stats on social media, and re-tweeted a quote from his favorite player. In this case, we see it was actually Jimmy who used this ticket (he didn’t resell it, but if he had, we would know who took his place) and he purchased a beer and hot dog on the way into the arena using his American Express card as payment. By observing season long behaviors, patterns can be established; looks like Jimmy also frequently visits a sandwich shop way up on the 300 level. The data captured about fan behaviors helps the Heat more easily weigh decisions such as whether or not moving that sandwich shop down to the 100 level would improve their revenue and fan engagement experience.
One thing is for sure, with an integrated story, approach and platform, the Heat is connecting dots that put them on track to earn more corporate mobile ad dollars than the rest of the 29 NBA teams combined.
So, don’t just think about the flow of information, think about the flow of inspiration and connect the dots, with commas.