This is the article that our MD Stuart Campbell wrote for Compare the Cloud.net…
Out of date attitudes to your audience and market, a reliance on tired methods of communicating.
Our audiences have evolved, but systems haven’t moved to meet their new needs? Do we still need our internal PR and Comms? Do we need to expand the department? Do your senior management see you talking but hear no words? These are all problems, challenges and questions we hear time after time.
We experience innovative design and technological evolutions on a seemingly daily basis, and we’re adept at quickly finding methods of using them to our advantage. But how often do these changes and developments leave businesses in the shadows or with difficult decisions to make? Are those decisions being taken and are you acting on change quickly enough?
There can be many reasons why a business fails to modernise its systems with the most common being an inability or failure to analyse how your audience and working environment has changed, the other of course is sticking one’s head in the sand.
Our content marketing industry has seen mobile use grow to dominate the digital market, surging away from traditional desktop and tablet positions and brands and organisations were initially slow to react and equally as slow to capitalise. It’s one thing to deny statistics; it’s another to go against the trend. The trend, as they say, is your friend.
Digital marketing spend grown from £8m in 1997 to £10bn in 2016 which demonstrates that marketers and brands have quickly realised where their audiences have moved to.
We aren’t what we were, you know!
Knowing that customer viewing and browsing habits have become more transient and fickle comes with many problems, and it’s these such problems we we’re faced with every day – it’s what forced us to adopt a new order.
Customers now spend their time surfing from one channel to the next, with fleeting visits on each. This to a marketer in the initial stage may seem like a nightmare because your captive target audience isn’t slouched in front of the TV watching your ad anymore. The days of the captive audience has gone – or have they? To the brave, this new era of digital change presents us an exciting new opportunity. With multiple new opportunities to interact with both existing and new audiences, we can, in fact, increase the efficacy of our marketing campaigns and more importantly awareness reach. As a result, we designed a unique approach to producing content that we position in front of these surfers wherever they may be, once we’ve identified them.
There was a caveat though. Studies showed us that customer behaviours changed – while the same person may have moved from the TV to the mobile they behave like a different person depending on which digital channel they’re active on – our audience has in fact taken on a Jekyll & Hyde characteristic. This extraordinary data showed us that we needed to further understand the behaviours and habits of our market depending on where they are and when, and on what platform they’re viewing the content in a whole new way and this is, in fact, applicable in many industry sectors.
In understanding this new data, we were forced to develop new systems and put them in place urgently to keep ahead of the market and our new audience. Of course, for a small and agile business, this should be a relatively simple and cost-effective exercise in processing change and implement new ways. For larger scale organisations, however, modernising a system can be like an oil tanker taking evasive manoeuvres in avoiding a duck in the water. It doesn’t happen quickly, and it sure makes a lot of waves in the process. Invariably, the duck doesn’t come out well in the end.
So, to present and put forward the case for change to decision makers we needed to design a system to modernise the systems. The first step of which is to be able to demonstrate you have effectively understood how the landscape has changed and developed.
Be positive about it all!
Ensure your business sees the new landscape you now understand as an opportunity. If you can’t see new opportunities in how things have changed, you have a larger issue at hand, but assuming you do, set about effectively designing new methods and approaches to capitalise on these new opportunities and believe in how the change will benefit your organisation in the long run.
Address concerns yes, but present solutions.
When we’re asked to help our clients in adapting to change and reaching new and unknown markets its vital to know the organisation is willing to demonstrate the commitment? Are they in it for the long haul? Modernisation and success don’t happen overnight.
Ask yourself if your organisation fully understands the risks of refusing to modernise systems? They’ll want to know if the financial implication is practical. What’s in it for them and what’s in it for you? At some point, your management board will be faced with a do or die scenario, and they’ll be looking at you, wondering whether you’re feeding them the true picture and a watertight case for spending their hard-invested cash.
Take the London Insurance market for example. This 331-year-old founding father of the world’s financial market still to this day operates to models designed for the most part, centuries ago. Communications between brokers and underwriters are still, at times, delivered by hand. As emerging markets grow and as transaction systems operate electronically, the London market’s face to face process – simultaneously a strength and a weakness – leaves it vulnerable to losing market share to newer, more agile markets. As those markets develop and grow further, the decline of the London market will accelerate unless something is done, and soon. Tech giant DXC Technology in London is actively engaged in promoting modernisation and developing new systems for the benefit of the whole market. In doing so they, and others face a need to convince brokers and insurers to invest and buy into these new approaches and technologies for the benefit of the market as a whole.
As marketers and content producers tasked with communicating the case for this change and adoption of new systems, our audience includes reluctant end-users. We need to use the changed digital landscape to our advantage – to put carefully crafted arguments in front of the decision-makers, influencers and senior management teams at the right times in the right places. A meticulously planned, researched and beautifully orchestrated onslaught of communication argument making a clear case, highlighting the new, clear solutions that can’t be avoided or denied, makes a case for modernisation watertight.
Procrastination is always a possibility. But how much more compelling a clear, positive, exciting communication articulating the benefits of a better future? In this market, technology is both the facilitator and the enabler.
Utilising a suite of carefully and beautifully produced Micro video moments that form part of a long-term narrative campaign enable us to present the argument to a double-edged audience. On the one-hand, we use video to effectively put an argument and solution to a market, and on the other, it heightens awareness from an entire industry.
Make new friends.
A successful movement for change also needs an honest approach where betterment is achieved collaboratively. While senior managers and management boards will be able to share knowledge about macro workflows and how they fit together, juniors and account managers will have a clearer understanding of what happens at a client level and where problems arise in the first place. Typically, not having an open chain to communicate these challenges is where frustration breeds and a culture of ignorance in senior management can be innocently born.
Having identified the requirement for a new approach and successfully communicated or demonstrated the case for, you may realise you do not necessarily have the capacity to undertake, implement or function to a new system on your own. A close collaborative working relationship with a new network of trusted partners who all have a vested interest in your and their shared success through modernisation will facilitate success quicker and with better results.
Once we realised we needed to modernise to help better our customers communicate their messages we realised that getting the right people in for the job was critical to that success. New methods of working come with a need for new skill-sets and the initial stage of developing those skills in-house can be expensive and risky. Developing external partnerships with trusted and renowned experts will assist you in so much more ways than you initially think – especially if you’re now a group of ducks with that same tanker heading for you. Working as a new team with a new approach will ensure you aim elsewhere and avoid the obvious.