How Carbon + Silicon = Digital 2.0

Mark Ware
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Mark Ware

Mark Ware is a thought leader and global senior sales and marketing executive who motivates sales and marketing teams, aggressively collaborates across the matrix and produces new sources of revenue.
Mark Ware
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Did you see this? It’s a great ad from Walmart (@walmart) about the life most of us lead –– and coming from the voice of a very digital-savvy little girl regarding her family’s new Walmart internet connection and phone: “Now we can pin, post, tweet, snag, tag and share!” she exclaims.

As B2B marketers, we think of the platforms, the technology, the big [and small] data, metrics and ; we strive for improved ROI, more visibility and higher levels of interaction. In many ways, we’re just like the little girl in the Walmart ad! (It’s okay to admit it… 🙂 ).

But what about the expectations of the user we’re targeting and hoping to engage? Least we forget: these “carbon-based” units also have ideas regarding what the digital experience should be about: THEM –– the end user, the prospect, the browser, the client. Carbon-based means People, people. Digital too often for us marketers is all about the wizardry under the hood — the silicon, software and network connections that make it all possible for social media, sharing, connectedness, etc. But maybe we need more social in our digital marketing and go way beyond video, apps, web pages and chat boxes; maybe we need to revisit some basics in relationship formation. Maybe we should remind ourselves to take a second look at the idea of how these “carbon-based” units we’re targeting are expecting to specifically benefit from our digital marketing activities.

Think about your B2B digital marketing –– your website, your apps, your social platforms, your email campaigns and answer the questions below that many of your target audience are likely asking:

  • What can I do with your platform?
  • Why would I engage you?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • Is there fun?
  • Will I be happier?
  • Will I have more time?
  • Will I become even more addicted to my phone/tablet/desktop?
  • Will I learn something new and useful that will inspire me or empower me?
  • Why would you expect me to engage with you?
  • What are my expectations and how will you exceed them?
  • After experiencing your “digital” disruption, will I be annoyed, euphoric, bored or inspired? Will I feel used and discarded as your latest piece of digital “score” or will you remember me, call me by name, help me to expand my areas of interest, and gain new insights previously not even available to me until I connected with you — one carbon unit to another over a digital tapestry of silicon, copper and glass?

Okay, maybe that last one was a wee bit dramatic, but you get the idea. As digital marketers, we think of our message, our positioning, how we can be effectively disruptive and how we can get the users’ attention to interact with us. But it’s nearly always a selfish me-centered (that is, marketers’) approach. By thinking first of what our users may seek and perhaps highly prefer, we can become much more effective; for example, consider these typical in-person experiences:

  • Share a genuine smile
  • Leverage tone of voice /laughter dynamically
  • Present a firm and welcoming handshake
  • Look into the eyes
  • Share a joke
  • Share a warm embrace
  • Use first names without sounding like a form letter
  • Ask another question (not on the survey) and engage more deeply an idea or question
  • Express personal sincerity
  • Convey touching appreciation

How well does your digital marketing capture the above in-person experiences? Does it matter? Yeah, it does. That is, if you want to be personal, desired, sought out and valued.

Is carbon the new digital in our silicon-saturated world? Perhaps not. Should we drop digital marketing altogether? No. But carbon + silicon just may be the digital 2.0 many have been seeking. A more person-centric approach to disruption, interaction and relationship forming. By better understanding what people really want from each of our proposed personal interactions and disruptions, that understanding will help drive a revolution in how we market –– and IN how we craft our messages and ultimately, build brand.