Scale

The idea of “scale” in the digital, social, mobile world is something that has perplexed me over the past five years or so; really ever since the masses started pushing towards the adoption levels of maturity. Scale, to me, is a bit of an antiquated measurement in the “new way of marketing.” The idea that each message, regardless of media, must reach a massive amount of people in hopes that a decreasingly small fraction of individuals take action on a lead or purchase, is one that doesn’t begin to take into account the paradigm shift that digital has created; an individual paradigm. The role of a message or interaction in the digital space, most likely, isn’t for reach or scale for the consumer. It’s about something deeper, something more intimate.

Digital has the ability to segment or even dynamically personalize messages, offers, or experiences that produces a more profound output for a brand than a simple blanket message to drain money from an unsuspecting small percentage of the communicated universe. It allows for dynamic interaction; in real-time, wherever the consumer may be.

So when thinking digital, please don’t ever say the word “scale:” for it kills the opportunities before anything commences. Instead, think loyalty, advocacy, passion, lifetime value, and incremental purchase… Expand a relationship, don’t squander it by treating people like sheep. We have a great opportunity to think beyond traditional and think about the future of our brands.

Scale is in the long term, lifetime value of consumers, not universes reached.

*** Caveat, I’m not saying that awareness building campaigns shouldn’t be a part of the overall marketing strategy. They most definitely should be discussed and executed, even in the digital display arena. What I am saying, is allow yourself to segment, allow your consumers to segment themselves, reward them for doing so.

Collision of Digital and Physical

Looking at the Physical Reality in which we all live, we can see some events where digital events begin to affect. With the influx of mobile computing and connectivity, wi-fi capabilities, and social networking sites, we are becoming more and more connected through our physical life by our digital connections. As with the variance of each of our physical realities, so is the use and role digital capabilities play in those lives. With all the different roles digital may play in our lives, they can really be grouped into two strategic uses to fulfill the activities happening in our physical lifestyle.

Empower Physical Reality: These activities help us navigate more easily through certain events in our life. Where to buy dog food, get around a traffic jam, check the score on the game when shopping with your significant girlfriend, find a toilet close by, get restaurant reservations, find the lowest price on a product, get coupons when shopping, etc. These digital capabilities give us the power to perform mundane tasks easier.

Enhance Physical Reality: These activities help us enhance the things we like to do or the different experiences that we encounter. Having content and information at our fingertips and in our pockets allows us to connect with our family, friends, mentors, colleagues, etc. when we want, where we want, during real time experiences. It gives us the opportunity to build relationships and share experiences with friends. Imagine not being able to make it back for your kid’s birthday party… Now with digital technologies like Skype and Qik, you can participate in the experience without physically being there. Imagine traveling to a foreign country and you don’t know how to check into a hotel, the combination of mobile and digital technologies can empower you to speak conversationally to the native speaker.

Digital technologies are quickly changing the way we live; the way we approach life. It gives us power and strength that we have never had before. It makes us smarter, stronger, and more powerful; almost super human.

The Collision: Physical & Digital Reality

Digital Reality

So, what is reality when it comes to the digital world in which we live? Is it looming somewhere between a status update and a text? Maybe. Are we waiting for holograms and eye scanning augmented reality to take us by storm? Not quite.

All I know is that we are in a world where our digital lives are a key, important role in our real, physical lives. It enables us to become smarter, stronger; almost superhuman. So what is driving this mechanism of digital evolution?

Digital

As we continuously interact, we not only learn efficiencies to produce the best output, but the digital space itself is learning our behavior and reacting accordingly. As we continue to search, browse, and surf the interwebs we are continually providing much needed history and executions of our needs to allow the search and tracking Gods to give us the most relevant content necessary for the fulfillment of our needs. This learning mechanism is spanning multiple platforms and search algorithms to give us the most effective use of our Internet time.

The digital reality that our individualized digital activity is becoming a driving force to our dependence on digital information in our physical, real lives.

Social

Social networks have allowed us to stay in touch with our friends, families, old acquaintances and even our favorite brands, organizations, news, or groups. But this shift has driven our need for content delivery and real time information. During breaking news, we turn to our social networks instead of turning on the TV. We long for the rhetoric our network has on an issue or situation. Coupling the semantics of the digital search with the real time access our social networks and social media provide, we are depending more and more on the most relevant content and information coming to us, where we are, when we want it.

Social has allowed us to redefine what it is to gather. Not only can we meet in person, or have a gathering with people physically with us, we now include others that can’t be there physically. No longer is there a barrier for travel or long distance. We can completely include far off relationships in physical situations and events.

The social reality is that we are no longer dependent on looking for information, content, or relationships. They now find us based on our “opt-ins” and engagements; alleviating the trials and tribulations and time associated with search and relationship efforts.

Mobile

Tired of being strapped to your computer to fulfill your digital realty? Simply reach for your pocket.  Mobile technologies and applications have given us the power of converging our digital lives with our physical, on-the-go, active lifestyles. Including semantic digital experience and social network capabilities, mobile devices give us the power to learn, interact, and engage with our favorite people, information, and news where ever we are in the world physically. Breaking down the barriers of the computer (whether mainframe or laptop), mobile connectivity empowers us as informed friends, family members, consumers, and advocates. No longer do we have to wait to tell people what we did, reach out for customer service, describe an event… just reach into our pocket and let it go.
This connectivity has shifted news sources. Each of us has the power. We are now the news, we are now the content creators and distributors. All we have to do is click and upload.

The mobile reality is the line between physical and digital is slowly blurring. The interactivity of 2d bar codes, visual identification software and location based services will empower us further in our physical life to interact with the beyond, in real time.

Data

How is all this amazing empowerment possible? What is the driving force behind real time and relevance? Data. Every interaction, every interest, every connection, every engagement… every aspect of our lives are being stored and used to provide us with the most relevant information needed to fulfill our requests in the shortest amounts of time. Based on our digital interactions, we can get real time recommendations for physical activities; find out where to eat, what bar has the best bloody mary’s, etc. Each of us become a glorified version of who we are… even though we may forget from time to time, our data keeps us reminded of our interests, likes, and relationships.

The reality of data is just that… reality. What defines us as individuals is our interests, interactions, engagements, experiences, connections. The digital realm is just a repository of that information and catalyst for relevance and time.

Digital is becoming reality. It empowers us.  What is your digital reality?