Engagement versus Excuses: Which will you choose?

Stop making excuses. If there’s one thing I took away from the #MarketingTO event facilitated by Andrew Sinclair, of Architech Solutions, it’s the adage that excuses make for tired and uninspired relationships and connections amongst customers, without question. There’s nothing more prevalent in today’s marketplace than the transparency demanded of consumers from businesses, so it’s not surprising that the leadership panel consisting of Stefan Eyram, Andrew Sinclair and Nish Shah was in full agreement of this reality.

Shah, founder of digital agency Collide, understands the power of asking the right questions.  He not only understands this in the context of agency and client relationships, but at level where results are realized. Using his POST theory (People, Objective, Strategy, Technology – in that order), Shah explains that corporations fail to deliver the best experiences possible because of weak excuses that do not address the core human needs.  “Ask yourself these questions,” says Shah, “and you’ll soon find out that delivering the best customer experience is not as daunting as you may have thought.”

  1. What are all the situations where people may want to interact with your brand? (Be as specific as possible).
  2. What are human needs in each of these situations? Core human needs don’t change; there are just new ways of servicing them.
  3. How can your online experience be designed to help in these situations?

Even more interesting was Shah’s assessment of marketers in today’s ROI focused environment: “You are creative; the corporate world just sucked the energy out of you.” Perhaps what resonated the most as I took in the learning’s offered by Shah was the idea that brainstorms must be incredibly systematic and just as strategic as your overall brand vision. Without establishing these parameters upfront, you will get lost in the details.

Architech’s Sinclair took a very pragmatic approach in his design of a marketers commitment to delivering exceptional user experiences. If time is the scarcest resource we have in the business and consumer relationship (looks like Peter Drucker’s testament rings true even across decades), then be very clear in your priorities and understand that customer-centricity is of the utmost importance.

Email Marketing leader, Stefan Efryam is of the mindset that consumers want to see targeted emails that speak to their life cycle and needs. If this is the case, then marketers must know their audience and their data. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the idea that as a standalone entity email is enough to engage with audiences at a deep level of transparency, but given the fact that 50% of content is shared through this channel, it’s clear that email continues to be a viable means of connection.

Changes in the way we approach user experiences, digital strategies and marketing objectives are shifting everyday; if there’s a common theme that resonated with these gentlemen, it’s, in my opinion, this: Get back to the basics of human behavioural psychology and remember that although the web is complex in nature, customers need to understand the direction and message of a brand in a succinct and meaningful package. A call to action for all marketers, who want to deliver experiences that excite, challenge and inspire.