If 2017 was the year when the world was up for anything, mainly via Facebook, then 2018 was the year when we all started to get quietly selective about holding out for a better option. 2019 seems to herald an era when wanting more means having less. 2019 is all about JOMO – choosing not to do something so you can have more quality time be that family, fitness or focus. We’re all, quietly, channelling our inner Marie Kondo.
How to sell more when people want less?
In the UK in particular we’ve woken up to a world of leaden skies and somewhat leaden prospects. Our politicians are making us look like amateurs (in the creative industries however we’re still walking tall – (congrats to Olivia Coleman at the Globes).
For consumer brands we can all see how it’s going to be tough. Your product either has to fit into an existing set of needs (think how Sonos has managed to hold its own against the leviathans of home automation) or align itself with consumers increasingly important values (think Colin Kaepernick for Nike, HSBC’s Together We Thrive). Just having a great product, in a great store, with a great story online feels marginal. Where brands are really living in a post digital world, like Boohoo who announced sales up 44% in 2018, clearly you can still nail it.
For business brands the impact of JOMO will be much more subtle. But at Omobono we specialise in business brands so let’s have a go.
Here at Omobono we feel businesses have three dimensions that are critical. Recognising that each dimension has to connect is critical – brand, technology, people. If just one of those is below par the effects are immediately felt. Boohoo’s competitor ASOS, rumour has it, lost momentum through a couple of creative directors who just missed the zeitgeist. If there used to be a “no assholes rule” then in 2019 there has to be a “no holes rule”. Every individual must contribute. Every tech platform must connect. Every touch a seamless branded experience. We’re seeing that much more with clients wanting to run campaigns so they are more agile and in control.
To help clients look at their business across these three dimensions Omobono has built a process we call the Halo Model.
Trust has broken down in many walks of life. Nothing new there. But too many of us in business treat trust a bit like Voldemort. It’s there but we may not speak of it. It strikes us in a world where business people are choosing to engage less – trust will be the deciding factor in how we engage with technology (I’ve decided to turn off at least two apps this year because my data was crossing borders), with partners and with personal networks. “Trust me” is not something you can plausibly say. Trust is about behaviour, about preparedness, about transparency, about robustness (e.g. Omobono is ISO27001). This week we’ll see the publication of Edelman’s excellent Trust Barometer.
Trust is about being in lock step with clients. It’s almost as presumptious to say to a client “we want to be your partner” as it is to mutter “trust me”. Our new company positioning “Unstoppable Together” is about being by our clients side, in the room, in real time, advising them in the moment. We think that’s where a huge amount of value gets delivered. It’s even better when it’s a junior member of our team working as part of a team, joining calls, solving problems.
In Europe at least GDPR has had a profound impact on our inboxes. Both physical and digital. The Royal Mail reported mail volumes were down 6% by August. I don’t know about you but getting something interesting in an envelope nowadays is a case for celebration. Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office 365 does a pretty decent job of moving all unimportant stuff into ‘Other’. But GDPR has had a big impact on our digital inbox too.
In a world of less equals more brands must consider the impact of GDPR as a threat and an opportunity. In North America Postie.com connects to your marketing automation and will send physical postcards to prospects. Gets a tick from us. Canada Post will mail every business in Canada should you so need it.
Where we’ve experimented with high impact direct mail in 2018 it’s worked extremely well.
For the biggest brands it’s clear – and no rocket science here – high quality customer events continue to pay high returns. They are a huge investment but where partners in an ecosystem come together to spend time, to learn, to share and to get closer together events pay. We say customer events as the value of the major global jamboree’s – SXSW, Gitex, BMA and B2B – is more about getting out what you put in. Customer events – be they mega, like SAP’s Sapphire, or mini like Omobono own’s customer events at Soho House and the House of Commons later next month – are more within your own gift to control and construct to deliver value.
Be part of the ecosystem
Humans by design work best when they are part of an ecosystem. Traditional supply networks; where work flows up and money flows down; have changed. Risk is now shared right across (or rather down) the supply chain. All partners are expected to be innovators. All parties have a responsibility and financial stake in the outcome of the mission. The impact of JOMO may be that more companies choose to stay (shelter) inside ecosystems – making it harder to establish new relationships.
Smart companies don’t just demand the expected behaviour; they create the ecosystem. Look at the world of contingent work where companies like Philips are using providers like SAP Fieldglass to find workers as permanent employees, contractors or even just via assignments. The SAP Fieldglass Digital Partner Network is an ecosystem which lets a host of providers sell services within a single digital environment.
Another trend from the world of consumers offers clues for corporate buyers. TV, Cable and Radio still reign supreme. It’s too easy to forget we choose to watch a TV program be it on our laptop on a commute or on a telly we’ve chosen to put in a prominent spot in our home. As consumer we’re in a positive frame of mind to receive those messages.
What’s the equivalent for a major corporate brand? For many brands the next best place is airports where captains of the universe congregate and dissipate. Online LinkedIn’s feed still commands a lot of available attention. Events in our view are increasing in importance. Post GDPR it’s now harder to reach people at their laptops – quality, relevance, impact must all be outstanding. Quality events, where you can spend quality time with your network, still reap considerable reward.
Print media still has a lot to offer B2B brands. The Economist and FT are high premium advertising spots which have the added advantage of being in a premium context. The evidence shows where you show an ad affects how customers see a brand (premium location = premium brand) so up market magazines, publications and locations like airports are perfect for B2B brands that want to impress.
Everyone says it and then looks at their feet. Spotify did something magical. Go to https://spotifywrapped.com/ and you can see everything you listened to in 2018. In the world of work. Taltrack have done it with their bot. Taltrack’s all about helping managers and employers have better conversations and set better goals. NLP in the bot makes sure language plays its part.
Omobono sees reporting as a huge area of growth for smart algorithms in 2019. Being able to surface insights from existing data, adding value, providing dashboards that give an existing customer new ways to think about how they are solving their problems could be game-changing. AI will take this even further. Do more, with less.
I just need to sell stuff
Ultimately, we all come to work, in whatever we do, to make a sale. Selling is part of everything we do – but particularly marketers and particularly in 2019. Omobono has dedicated teams who invest 100% of their time helping customers close deals. For us that’s where marketing puts rubber on the road. In retail and in ecommerce making a sale has been raised to an artform. In business multimillion dollar purchases are immensely sensitive processes that have to be nurtured at EVERY point on the path to purchase. We’ve taken this further by investing in a team of experts who find the insights that light the touchpaper on a sales conversation. The launch of Intelligence Partners acknowledges that it’s not big data but precision data.
We observe CMO’s are becoming responsible for the entire customer journey. Making they sure they can come to a single partner who will work with them all the way through to a sale is vital.
JOMO at work
Every year things get harder. Every year conditions are more complex. In 2019 it’s all about being essential.
Partners who are essential are partners you trust. Technology that’s essential is technology you trust. Brands who become essential to you are brands you trust. In a year where people will choose to do less better, essential is where it’s going to be. If what you do is absolutely necessary and extremely important then you’ll be unstoppable.