Technology, data and the fragmentation of attention
Delivering a strong, positive and enduring customer experience is still a critical challenge that most companies face, but the way people experience almost everything is being completely transformed. Technological opportunities like mobile, location-based, digital making, virtual reality, drones, neuroscience, automation, machine-to-machine interactions through the internet of things are changing consumer behavior, changing the way companies are organized, changing the role of “humans” in the marketplace. The lines between human and machine are becoming blurred.
The manifold experiences and new technology result in massive amounts of data across all touch points in the entire customer journey, across channels, offerings, platforms and devices, incorporating collaboration with other customers and partners, and across time and space as well. And given all those different touch points, consumer attention has become fragmented. Consumers have gained more control over what media they consume or channels they use. The ability to push messaging and ideas to consumers that marketers used to have has greatly diminished. Now, all marketing is pull, there is no more push. In this new world, marketers need to be “real-time relevant” – to gain awareness, to change perceptions and to spur action. They need to have the content in the channel, format, time and context that the consumer wants – to stand at least a chance of the consumer attending to the information and being influenced by it. In this new consumer world, marketing works best when the consumers initiate the conversation – or the relationship – with the company because what they find is relevant at that very instant.
But how can marketers handle this complexity and this pace? What are the skills necessary to identify the right technologies, to design all the different experiences and to appeal to consumers at the right moment? Essentially, seven skills are required to survive and thrive in the new market conditions (Figure 1).