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Five Digital Trends: Notes from Digital Atlanta

166637347For the week of October 7-11, I daily commuted to Atlantic Station for the fourth annual Digital Atlanta Conference. In my position at work, I’m branching more and more into uncharted (for me) social media territory. Judging by the sessions DA offered, I knew I’d gain much needed insight by attending—and at an early registration price of $25—not a typo—how could I not attend?

Bill Nussey of Silverpop delivered the conferences keynote address early on Monday in a room with panoramic views of north Atlanta—Buckhead, Sandy Springs, even Marietta. If you followed the #digATL hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, you saw a lot of pictures of that view.

Nussey’s company, Silverpop is the only digital marketing technology provider that unifies marketing automation, email, mobile, and social. He was the perfect choice to speak to the group about the top digital trends.

The first trend Nussey revealed is that radical innovation happens when things get inexpensive. When costs of materials and technologies go down, innovators have a greater ability of attaining what they need to make significant products.

Currently, the hottest new companies create “things.” And with the help of crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, innovators are not only able to raise money to bring their idea to life, they are establishing a platform, an audience for their message and products.

The second trend, as we’re mostly aware, is that products are becoming more about experiences. Nussey used an example of Apple and how purchasing the one-on-one customer support for his mother to use on her new Apple computer made all the difference in how his mom related to the product. Nussey’s mom made appointment after appointment with an Apple employee in her town so that she could learn how to properly use her new machine.

Because we all can’t be Apple, Nussey pointed out that the experience of a product is more about mission than about your size. Any product can be elevated to an experience.

Nussey’s third trend is that the greatest brands build across channels; great brands can be accessed from your pocket, as well as at home, and in person. And the new face of these brands is the image of their mobile icon.

The fourth trend, according to Nussey is that broad audiences are being narrowed down to individuals. Marketers segment their audience and based on indicators, they then blast a message to their segments over and over again. Amazon has reinvented marketing. Every visit to Amazon.com reflects what you did last time, plus preferences and histories. When you visit Amazon, you’re visiting your shopping homepage.

Amazon creates experience roadmaps for each of its users. Your homepage is like a personal tour guide. For instance, before the tour, we customers share our interests, which are searches on the site and product views and price comparisons. As Amazon accumulates the information it gathers from each of our clicks, it customizes where it takes us next and what it suggests, based on what the database knows about us. And we are toured around on an individual journey.

The last trend, number five, is cyberspace is going back to real places. “You are here” is happening faster than we know. And example is iOS7—buried deep in the iOS7 settings are location services that track all of your phone’s movements. Businesses are utilizing location services to push messages to their customers, indicating sales going on within feet of someone’s proximity. The crowd-sourced Waze application is changing traffic patterns as people login and update traffic status or police roadblocks. Waze and other GPS apps can reroute your commute through less congested areas.

Nussey says that place awareness can increase security for lost cellphones as they can now be traced with GPS, as well as the broadcasting of live video of events happening around us.

The more businesses work to individualize our experiences, the less anonymity we have. According to Nussey, we’re used to not having anonymity in the real world, but less so in the digital world. Our digital actions are no longer masked behind a computer screen.

What other trends do you see happening in the digital or social media world?
How are you and your company capitalizing on these trends?

©2013 Jennifer Wilder. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint or publish this content elsewhere, please contact me through this blog.