Getting personal about marketing

Even as we near the middle of 2012, I can’t help but wonder if Steve Jobs were still alive, what he would say about today’s connected consumer. I’ve read and watched countless articles, books and videos on Steve, and I find myself applying my personal passion for consumer experience to his ideas.

Steve was the first to start a social movement around getting people to ‘Think Different’. His attitude toward considering people as human beings first, consumers second, has directly impacted the evolution of brand communications.

As marketers, we are so comfortable with mass marketing that we forget advancement in technology can also give us the chance to be personal in the way we build brands. We have the ability to translate brand beliefs and values into brand experiences that touch the consumer on personal levels.

From Facebook apps to sequential targeting, SEO and mobile games, we have all been there and done that when it comes to using digital. Yet there is still so much more we ought to be looking forward to. Internet TV is an undeniable opportunity, with branded digital content can be delivered straight to the consumer at prime time and on-demand. Maybe what we failed to take away from Steve’s legacy is the golden ticket of marketing: to make things simple, easy to use and most importantly, natural.

No one said it would be easy. And with that I’m offering three important points to keep in mind as we plan for the next half of 2012:

  1. Take technology out of the way
  2. A great experience is better than a great discount
  3. Never stop surprising.

Take technology out of the way
In 2012, I believe we need to get even more personal. ‘Big’ data and re-targeting give us opportunities to innovate and push the boundaries further. But this push requires marketing to embrace technology just as we embrace brand values.

With the right blend of technology and brand-centric strategy, brands can start building truly sustainable consumer experiences beyond the world of the internet and enter our living rooms, cars, mobile phone and virtually anywhere we spend our time. The technology used is the experience and the experience is the brand.

In one of Forrester’s latest reports, they touched on the growing trend to hire Creative Technologists, so I can only hope that we can embrace this change in Asia. With this in place, we can have the experts weigh in on the early discussions and help build better digital brand experiences.

An experience is better than a great discount
We often think too hard about launching products and not hard enough about how the brand will live and breathe behind the introduction stage. Mapping out a branded consumer experience goes far beyond any great one-off discount over a weekend. Great experiences bring about loyalty and engagement with any brand. Just ask the folks at Zappos, Starbucks, Nike, Singapore Tourism Board, Lego and the Ritz Carlton.

The faster we get together with our agency partners to map out that branded experience, the quicker the value of our investments will be felt. It’s about seamlessly connecting the dots and making sure the brand message is rewarding, relevant and meaningful.

Every first step for any marketer should be to embrace technology knowing that better brand experiences will prevail–delivering engagement and efficiency. Companies like Buddy Media and Adobe are doing it right by taking away the complexities of technology and focusing on the ease of use for the end user.

Never stop surprising
As the saying goes, there can never be too much of a good thing. Consumers today have greater appreciation for a brand that goes the extra mile to be seamless and add value to our lives. That extra mile can transform consumers into brand advocates. For any entrepreneur, marketer or digital professional, it is not always about being the first but rather the best.

We’ve already experienced world’s positive response to one man’s passion, vision and efforts to revolutionize consumer technology through simplicity and seamless connectivity. Thanks to Steve Jobs, we’re reminded to continue building personal connections with our consumers.