Brian_Solis_Paris_14.01.13This week I had the privilege of listening to Brian Solis, Altimeter Group speak at l’Innovation au Napoleon Conference in Paris. Brian is a thought leader in the consumer revolution, the digital revolution, social media and the impact that these vectors of change will have on our lives and our businesses in 2013 and beyond. Brian is the author of several books on the subject including: Engage and The End of Business As Usual. His next book What’s The Future (WTF) will be published in March. You can pre-order it now from Amazon.

So what did Brian have to say?

Competing for Relevance: The power of the Network Effect is driving the need for business transformation. Failure to recognise and to respond to changes in consumer behaviour will ultimately result in business failure.

Open to Disruption: The rise of Generation C: the (always) Connected Customer has changed the game for ever. Traditional customers -> Digital Customers -> Generation C Customers. These people become an extension of who you are and who they connect with. They share experiences, beliefs and values in online conversations. Your goal is to spark conversations greater than this room by extending your reach, by using the reach of people in your network, group or tribe. Distinguish between conversations that talk to you AND conversations that talk through you, the audience of your audience.

Zero Moment of Truth: This is a shockingly obvious fact which confirms something we probably all know. People trust their peers the most. That is why people go to Youtube and customer review boards before they go to a corporate website. The goal therefore becomes how do you get people to share their thoughts and experiences (Moments of Truth) with their networks, groups or tribes at each step in their buying journey, decision making process or online interactions? This is the new frontier of tomorrow’s marketing.

Tomorrow’s Touchpoints: What are they for your business and how quickly can you include them in your regular business operations? Build marketing channels and sales channels that will maximise interaction of customers with your business. Remember it is a two way street. These touchpoints will create “Share of Voice” and “positive sentiment”, or not!

Alignment Hierarchy: Marketing -> Social Science -> Digital Behaviourism. Demographics -> Psychographics. Media -> Social Media. Mass market thinking -> Interest graph thinking. At one level we have: Actions and Tactics <-> Purpose and Values, and at another level we have Aligning Sales and Marketing, and channels to the Buyer’s Journey or the Hero’s Journey.

Organisational Evolution: Creating of new roles around “digital behaviour” with job titles that explain their ‘raison d’etre’ such as: CEO -> Chief Experience Officer. CIO -> Chief Innovation Officer or CDO = Chief Digital Officer

“We’re entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumer is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that. To put it another way: How can we exchange value instead of just sending a message?” –  Jim Lecinski