Live From #AgilitySummit: Mitch Joel’s 5 WTFs!

By Sarah Etter

April 11, 2013

There’s a pain point in the world of marketing, and Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, knows exactly what it is.

“I go from country to country, from business to business, and I hear senior level executives telling me the same thing: The ways with which they used to market and develop relationships with their brands now feels murky. They feel uncertain, as if they don’t know what’s going on,” said Joel at today’s Agility Summit 2013 keynote speech.

And why is that? According to Joel, marketers and brands feel like they are in hell because there are dramatic movements that have already happened and need a response.

“Fifteen years ago, many of us thought the Internet was a fad and it would go away. So let me ask you now: Is mobile going away? Is tablet going away? Or is it going to grow in ways we can’t even understand?” Joel asked the audience.

As the keynote progressed, Joel outlined five massive movements that companies need to pay attention to now:

1. Direct Relationships with Customers

Every brand is actively competing for the direct relationship with its customers. Joel pointed to an example: A consumer purchases a pair of Beats By Dre headphones at Target and then goes on Facebook to “Like” a brand involved with that transaction. Which brand does the consumer like? Is it Beats By Dre? Is it Target? Could it be Facebook?

“It’s a bizarre love triangle,” Joel said. “But it proves you have to fight in a very profound way to make sure you have and own the direct relationship with your customers.”

Joel’s example also underscored the complexity of marketing in today’s world, as well as pointed to the importance of developing and leveraging direct relationships with customers in new ways. One example is Kickstarter, which allows businesses to directly talk to and work with their own customers and supporters in order to make new ideas come to life.

2. Sex with Data

In most organizations, data is linear. There’s data for each channel (email, mobile, etc.), and that data remains within its marketing channel. But Joel pointed to the need to use data in a circular way.

“We live in a very different world now,” he said. “Imagine a world where you can take your linear data and make it come together in an awesome way, creating the most intimate way to know your customer. That’s why I call it sex with data.”

For example, being able to know that the same consumer who walked into a brand’s store is the same consumer that “liked” a brand on Facebook and opened a brand’s promo email is incredibly valuable. But not many brands know how to do that well yet.

One company that’s doing it well? Joel pointed to Amazon’s Price Check iPhone app, noting Amazon is collecting tons of data about when, where, and how users showroom and price compare.

3. Utility or Death

Joel calls utility an area that’s never been afforded to marketers or brands before. And it all comes down to whether a marketing strategy is providing real value to the end user.

“Do you really think the communications you’re supplying have the right to take up space on someone’s smartphone? We have to go past: ‘Look at this deal!’ messaging,” Joel said.

Joel pointed to a mobile app called Sit or Squat, which uses GPS and a wiki-based platform to allow users to rate bathrooms, as well as find bathrooms nearby with certain features like changing tables for children, and handicap access stalls. Joel concluded by asking if a toilet paper company can provide utility to its customers, why can’t every brand?

4. Passive vs. Active Media

The next move: Make the distinction between passive and active media and respond to it.

“Why are we asking people to be so active with our media?” Joel asked. “Why are we asking them to Like us, Follow us, Plus One us? A vast majority of consumers just want to sit back and enjoy content like magazines, books, and TV shows. I believe media is forcing these things on us as brands.”

Instead, Joel said brands must understand when a consumer is active in a specific marketing channel and respond to that. Otherwise, customers will have a fundamental disconnect in their relationship with your brand.

5. One Screen World

Rather than focusing on multiscreen strategies, Joel said we’re entering a one-screen world.

“The way we interact with brands now is going away. We’re moving toward a one-screen world,” Joel said. “So we have to stop and think about how we’re engaging consumers.”

Joel’s current definition of a one-screen world comes down to attention. Although a customer might be using multiple screens, the screen in front of them is the one screen that matters.

But as technologies continue to develop - like Samsung’s transparent touchscreen display, which debuted in 2012 - brands need to understand that the one-screen world isn’t far away.

 

Sarah Etter is the former the senior editor at Monetate. Before joining Monetate, she was a writer for various online and print publications, and served as the associate editor of The Internet & Marketing Report newsletter. Sarah also loves fiction writing and ice hockey... yes, ice hockey.

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