Read These Essential Books And Start 2018 With Momentum

essential-reads-2018.jpg

What is the best way to jump start your new year's resolutions? Reading insightful and enlightening books, of course.
In this whirlwind of social and technological disruptions, digital leaders must focus on the continuous improvement of themselves, if they aim at improving their strategy.

We all know how important is to learn from the experiences of the others, and b
ooks can help you achieve a more profound and accurate vision of your environment, customers, and business. Here is our list - revamped for 2018 - of the essential books that will inspire you and the ones around you all year long.

We originally published this list at the end of 2015. Of course, a lot has happened in the last two years: the smartphone has definitely become our daily companion;
new technologies have taken the center stage (i.e. the Internet of Things) and old one have gained a new bright light (virtual and augmented reality).

Ultimately, the social rules have evolved and people too.
Many books have tackled the challenge of the digital disruption and its consequences on our life as human beings, customers, entrepreneurs.

To be truly effective in understanding and engaging your digital customers, you need to be willing to learn. Learning is so important, in fact, that we have included it as one of the seven steps in the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a step-by-step guide to deliver an amazing digital customer experience.

Know yourself, know your customers, know your context. Stay current; embrace the constant flow of digital innovations; enhance the user experience at every single touch point of the customer journey.

We corssed the threshold that separates the old world (with traditional business patterns and marketing funnel) and the new world (where empowered digital customers dictate the brand agenda).

Changes happen so fast that even the most successful brands - Apple, Google, Amazon - do not rest on their laurels. Digital business is a work in progress, by definition.

The next disruption may come from unexpected places: the Internet of Things, psychographics, machine learning and predictive analytics, proximity marketing, wearable technology, cloud computing, innovative social media, virtual and augmented reality.

None will ever grow by staying closed in his comfort zone. You must confront with the best-in-class, because the only way to see the future is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Here is our updated list of the essential readings you should not miss.

THE LIFE PROJECT, HELEN PEARSON

"The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story Of 70,000 Ordinary Lives", by science journalist Helen Pearson, narrates the longest-running study of human development in the world, started in 1946 and grown to encompass five generations of children. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them.

PRE-SUASION, ROBERT CIALDINI

Included in the list of the best business books of 2016, "Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way To Influence And Persuade" is the latest effort by social psychologist Robert Cialdini, author of the renowned "Influence". The book explains how to capitalize the "privileged moment for change" to deliver your message in the most effective way. To change minds but also states of mind.

DISRUPTING DIGITAL BUSINESS, R “RAY” WANG

In the world where companies no longer control the conversation, they need to learn how to create an authentic experience for their customers. Digital leaders must shift from creating promises to keeping promises. In this era of social connections and constant connectivity, the experience becomes the main competitive differentiator, influencing the way brands plan and execute their strategy.

DEEP THINKING, GARRY KASPAROV

We all know Garry Kasparov as the greatest chess player of all times. With his book, titled "Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends And Human Creativity Begins", he also proves himself to be a great explorer of the artificial intelligence. The story starts in 1997 with the chess match against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, a watershed moment in the history of technology.

THE THANK YOU ECONOMY, GARY VAYNERCHUK

The entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk proclaims, with data-driven evidence, that we have entered into a new era for business. In this one, companies need to scale their communication to a one-to-one level, no matter how big they are and how much money they invest. The best way to do it is to harness the power from social media, used as a word-of-mouth and customer experience platform.

THE TELOMERE EFFECT, ELIZABETH BLACKBURN & ELISSA EPEL

Have you wondered why some sixty-year-olds look and feel like forty-year-olds and why some forty-year-olds look and feel like sixty-year-olds? Molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of telomeres. In this book, with the help of her colleague Elissa Epel, she highlights how the changes we can make to our daily habits can protect our telomeres and increase our health spans.

THE STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE, JOSEPH MICHELLI

Why should I pay more for an average coffee? The secret behind the 'Starbucks formula' lies in the ability to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, focusing on the overall customer experience rather than the product. If you want to understand what loyalty means in the digital era, Starbucks is your landmark brand: personalized experiences, employee engagement, omni-channel customer journey.

THE NORDSTROM WAY, ROBERT SPECTOR

Nordstrom, a very well-known retail brand, is universally recognized as one of the best examples of customer service excellence. In fact, all other companies use it as a cornerstone, aiming at becoming the “Nordstrom of their industry”. What is the secret of this enduring - even in economic turmoil - success? The direct link between empowering your employees and creating a long-term relationship with your customers.

MASTERING LEADERSHIP, ROBERT J. ANDERSON & WILLIAM A. ADAMS

Is leadership a competitive advantage, or is it just costing you in terms of time, money and personal development? Today's escalating complexity puts leadership effectiveness at a premium. Mastering Leadership involves developing the effectiveness of leaders - individually and collectively - and turning that leadership into a competitive advantage. This book aims at offering "an integrated framework for breakthrough performance and extraordinary business results".

THE CUSTOMER MANIFESTO, PAMELA HERRMANN

Let’s start with two numbers: 80 percent of businesses believe they are providing superior customer experience, yet only 8 percent of their customers agree they provide it. The disconnect is due to the fact that amazing customer experience is not the result of a program, it is the effect of a human and personal connection, across all touch points. This is where successful entrepreneurs start, to grow their business.

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FIASCO, ANDREW REISE

To learn the foundations of an amazing experience for customers, you must learn not just the best practices and success stories, but also the misguided adventures. Using a fictional situation, the book - written by the experts of Andrew Reise Consulting - tells the story of how you can start from a fiasco (a YouTube video, in this case) to build a successful customer experience strategy.

OUTSIDE IN, HARLEY MANNING

This book is about the power of putting customers at the center of your business. Customer experience is the most powerful - and yet misunderstood - element of corporate strategy today. Your business value is not established just by the quality of the output (your product) but also by the quality of the connection between you and your customers (the experience). Identifying and solving the problems inside your organization has the potential to increase dramatically sales and decrease costs.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG, JEANNE BLISS

The theory is good, case studies are even better. This book is all about true stories that can teach you how to improve your strategy. In the end, you will understand the difference between having customers who like you and customers who love you (truly, madly, deeply). Loyal and engaged customers are the key, and the author has studied tons of companies to identify the five decisions that drive extreme customer loyalty, in good times and bad.

INBOUND MARKETING, BRIAN HALLIGAN & DHARMESH SHAH

Inbound marketing is a new paradigm in the relationship with customers, a methodology that replaces interruption with communication and value creation. This book, written by the two founders of the automation platform Hubspot, gives you all introductory hints to change your content strategy and ultimately attract, convert, close and delight. Transforming your customers from complete strangers to loyal promoters.

TO SELL IS HUMAN, DANIEL PINK

If you need a fresh look at the art of selling in the age of digital disruption, this book will offer a new perspective, based on the idea that we are all salespeople. Among all other things, the author describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, and the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive. Because, in sales, numbers matter.

Of course, there are lots of great readings we did non include in this brief list. Please, use the comments to suggest your personal favorites.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

Receive updates from Neosperiece:
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

5 Insightful Talks From The Inbound 2017 [VIDEO]

Schermata 2017-10-19 alle 12.42.05.png

‘Inbound’ is the name of the annual conference held by Hubspot in Boston. From a community-focused meeting, it has grown exponentially into a mainstream even, attended this year by over 20,000 people from 100 countries.

The inbound marketing methodology is always at the heart of the week-long conference but, this year more than ever, there were plenty of interesting talks spanning from business to technology and social matters.

Now that the page of the conference has been updated with the official videos, here is our selection of the 5 most insightful videos from the Inbound 2017.

RAND FISHKIN

First of all, we must highlight the amazing spotlight speech by the Wizard of Moz himself: Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz, and of the most recognized SEO experts in the world.

PIERA GELARDI

When you talk about creativity, media and startups, you cannot ignore Piera Gelardi, co-founder of Refinery29, an online fashion and lifestyle magazine with 25 million global readers.

JEN SPENCER

We talk a lot about marketing automation, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, but we should never forget that, behind technology, the core of any experience is still the human element.

 

BRIT MARLING & ISSA RAE

Today, it is impossible to talk about content marketing ignoring the power of video. This is the tipping point of the spotlight with the two women behind Netflix’s THE OA and HBO’s Insecure.

 

WAJAHAT ALI

In times of social turmoils, voices like Wajahat Ali become even more important. He is, in fact, the mind behind different social entrepreneurship initiatives aimed at creating a positive impact for marginalized communities.

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

The State of Inbound 2016 – A Few Hints on The Future of Marketing

state_of_inbound_2016.jpg

Hubspot has released its global 8th annual The State of Inbound, a top notch report delivering an in-depth analysis of the main global trends. ‘Inbound’, of course, is the engine that drives the whole take on the future of marketing.

The report, however, is not limited to a partial view on the matter. On the contrary, it delivers useful insights into the most urgent challenges and priorities for marketers and salespeople, based on data gathered from thousands of the world’s leading professionals.

The inbound marketing methodology is all about making business more human, empathetic and - ultimately - more useful to the customer. It rejects the traditional pushy strategies, replaced by an approach based on timely, personalized content.

When technology evolves, marketing changes too. So, where the first editions of the report mostly emphasized the need to find a way to turn complete strangers into known visitors, now the focus is on how to convert visitors into leads and finally turn them into happy customers.

The inbound methodology is all here, a looping circle that brings users from complete strangers to loyal supporters of your brand. Priorities change over the years, but the heart of the challenge remains the same: How you can create a memorable customer experience, to engage and monetize customers across the whole customer journey.

In this perspective, effective contents take the center stage. Content marketing is the foundational element of the inbound methodology, a way to connect brands and customers in a more organic way than traditional advertising.

Most companies are now aware of the importance of contents, online and in-store. What is still lacking is the ability to line up their strategy with what customers really want, and where they try to find it.

Marketers should expand their range way beyond the website, still considered as the hub of the brand identity, but not sufficient anymore to enrich the digital customer experience.

The reason is simple: Audiences are finding content in a wide variety of places. Social media and mobile represent the main areas that marketers prioritize, as people spend more and more time to share their life on the online communities, mostly using their smartphones.

Consumers are increasingly turning to social media, messaging apps and bots for content via their mobile. This means that content consumption is becoming decentralized across the web. Today, marketers’ content strategy should extend beyond their own blogs and website, and include publishing through external outlets.

As for more traditional marketing activities, paid advertising is now considered the most overrated marketing tactic, and is replaced by a more organic approach to ads (i.e. social advertising, retargeting and remarketing).

Even Sales must evolve from cold calls to a more ‘inbound’ approach, due to the evolution of technology and customer behaviors. Whether it is B2B or B2C, Sales is now wrapped in the online and mobile environments.

If we have to choose just one main trend that you need to watch out, we would go with social selling. Once again, mobile proves to be the most effective channel to convey the ‘smarketing’ (sales + marketing) messages.

The 2016 edition of the State of Inbound highlights the urge to transform how you do business. Focus on the whole process, not just one aspect of the customer journey. Moreover, add a human touch to whatever you plan and do.

Have a look at the State of Inbound 2016.

Also, if you have not done yet, download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights based on many years of Neosperience's expertise that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

10 Ways The Internet Has Changed The Way We Live (And Do Business)

internet-customer-experience.jpg

The full-length title of this article should be 10 ways the Internet and the smartphone have changed the way we live - as humans and customers - and how businesses must evolve to improve their customer experience and survive the digital transformation.

We all recognize mobile technology as the real game-changer in the creation of the world as we experience it today. The hidden truth, though, is that there would be no smartphone without the Internet revolution. We are the result of this revolution.

We can start with one simple question: Can you imagine your life without the Internet? Just close your eyes for a moment and think about what life was before the web. You can barely remember that time if you were born and grew up before the Internet. If you are a digital native, this task is simply impossible.

Millennials - also known as digital customers - will never experience a world with no connectivity and mobile devices. Yes, there are still (small) areas of our planet not wired and cabled but - at least for us living in developed countries - it is hard to imagine a life before Google, Amazon, Apple or Facebook.

If you search on Google (where else!), you will find tons of experiments or researches about life without the Internet. They all come down to one single definitive truth: "I cannot even imagine my life without the Internet or the smartphone. It is an integral part of who I am." (Gallup)

The Internet is still relatively young (it just celebrated its 26th birthday in 2015) and yet the connectivity has already produced long-lasting effects. It all started with a cable plugged into the phone line, and now we possess the entire world in the palm of our hand.

There is one exact moment that changed things forever, and that was when the Internet came out of our home, held inside a small box called smartphone.

According to the Internet Trends Report 2015 by Mary Meeker, we have reached 2.8 billion connected people in the world. In other words, almost 40% of the worldwide population is now online, at home and on mobile devices.

Every single activity of our daily life is influenced by connected existence:

  • More than 27 million pieces of content are shared every day;
  • More than 600 million websites are online;
  • More than 500 million Tweets are sent every day,
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month;
  • More than 5 billion items have been sold on Amazon in 2014, with 40% of those sold by third-party sellers.

What is true for people is, even more, true for organizations. The way you do business today is completely different from the best practices taken for granted only a decade ago. All certainties suddenly disappeared, washed away from a stream of connectivity. The Internet has brought treats but also huge opportunities, for those able to respond timely and unlock the power of emerging technologies.

The years pass by, but the rules of the competition remain the same: you succeed only if you can understand what is going on, if you adapt to the evolution of technology and behaviors, and if you answer to the unprecedented demands of new customers. Business and technology go hand in hand, and so does the customer experience.

Any analysis of how life has changed may look like a trip down memory lane, but it also helps you understand where we are all headed for as human beings, customers, and organizations. So, here are the 10 ways the Internet has changed (and will keep changing) the way we live.

RESEARCH

Where do you go when you are collecting information about a product or looking for an answer? Google, of course. The Internet has become the primary source of information, and search engines the main door to access it. Thanks to the smartphone, you have the complete knowledge in your pocket. Education, essays, product comparison, self-improvement tips, technical details, diets, do it yourself, lolcats, the Internet has it all. If you are a brand, you need to be there with meaningful contents.

COMMUNICATION

Do you still remember phone calls and letters? We have witnessed a complex evolution in the way we connect with other people and with companies. First came the chat rooms and forums, then - especially after the spread of smartphones - social networks and online communities. Face to face communication is still important but we increasingly rely on wide circles of strangers to decide what to do and what to buy. In the mobile era, communication is about building networks.

SHOPPING

The success of Amazon, eBay, and online marketplaces says that visiting the physical location of a store is no longer mandatory if you want to make a purchase. Shopping for a particular item looks like a journey across channels: you can see a product in the store, search for information online, compare prices between retailers, make the purchase in-app and pick it up at the store. The disruption of the retail industry always implies the renovation of the retail customer experience.

TRAVELS

Not so long ago, the essence of travel was the idea of discovery. Is it still? Today, you can know everything about a place even before leaving home. And planning has never been so easy and cheap: You have websites for information, mobile apps for real-time discount and offers, virtual reality for a full 3D immersion. Even when you are there, mobile technology is there for you: Uber for affordable transfers, Airbnb for cheap stays, Google Maps to find the way, TripAdvisors for gourmet restaurants. Who needs travel agencies anymore?

ENTERTAINMENT

Remember when you had to visit the video store to rent a VHS, hoping that the movie you were looking for was not taken already? That is the past. With the Internet, you have everything you need in one place, and rarely you need something physical (i.e. a Dvd) to enjoy it. With the emergence of smart TVs and the new generation of gaming consoles, all you need is a connection, be it movie streaming (Netflix), music (Spotify), the sports experience or on-demand personalized contents.

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Once upon a time, people had to visit the bank to check the most basic financial operations. That was before the dawn of online banking, before the disintermediation. Before the ‘Uberization’ of retail banking. Technology trends have forced traditional institutions to face the challenge of evolution, transforming generic accounts into actual human beings. What they must do now is to stop focusing on products and money and start caring about the retail banking customer experience. In the name of innovation (mobile wallets, one-touch payments) and personalization.

RELATIONSHIPS

You do not need to know someone to love him/her. You do not need to feel the pressure of playing all your cards in a few minutes while waiting for the bus. Now you can find the love your life - or at least meet new friends - by simply downloading an app and filling out a profile. Be it dating or building professional relationships, there is a place for you online. This evolution has consequences for businesses: people now rely on a wider circle of trust, other people they barely know that can influence their decisions, one way or another.

HEALTHCARE

In the Internet age, everyone is a doctor. While you should not trust what you read online, when you feel symptoms of some sort, it is undeniable that technology has changed the medical experience and the relationship between doctors and patients. On the one hand we have the risk of misleading information; on the other hand, the emerging awareness that mobile devices can improve the quality of life and help prevent diseases. Wearables technology is the main driver of the self-tracking obsession; connected with health platforms (HealthKit), they will shape the future of healthcare.

MARKETING

When the way we communicate changes, marketing techniques change accordingly. If you try to employ traditional marketing ideas to today’s world, you will soon recognize they are outdated and inefficient. The reason is simple: customers have changed, their purchase behavior have changed. Even when they are in the store, they go online to compare products. The success of proximity marketing is due to the need (for companies) to engage customers with context aware contents, and delight them with meaningful and personalized experiences.

EMPLOYMENT

Do you really need to spend eight hours a day in the office to be productive? Twenty years ago, this questions made no sense at all. Of course, you needed to be there. Today things are different, and it is all about the Internet. The evolution of web-based tools and the growth of cloud services have made the physical co-presence unnecessary. We live and work in an ecosystem of constant connectivity, and this is bringing employers and governments to a complete change of perspective, in the name of flexibility. To improve quality of life and cut inefficiency.

Now it is your turn. Tell us how the Internet has changed the way you live and do business.

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

5 Digital Transformation Predictions For 2016

digital-transformation-2016.jpg

As the year comes to a close, digital leaders are already projected to their next move. In an age of constant changes, in fact, what’s next is always more important - and interesting - than what you have already accomplished.

Do you have a bold goal for 2016? Does your business plan include the terms ‘digital’ and ‘transformation’? If the answer is “Yes”, you are on the right track. You just need one more hint, in other words the top digital transformation predictions for 2016 and the years to come.

In the past months, digital transformation has become a serious business buzz, but what exactly does the term mean? There is no shared opinion, as it is translated into different things by different marketers. The best way is to divide and define the two terms separately:

  • Transformation - It is a whole scale change that disrupts the foundational elements of your business (customers, products, organization, markets). The change forces the renovation of the entire value chain model, starting from operating models, business infrastructure, and customer experience management. There is no change in the environment that does not affect the organization, in terms of structure, strategy, and people.
  • Digital - Every major shift in human history is strictly connected to technological innovation. Technology is the main driver of transformation, and it creates an inseparable ecosystem with customer behaviors and market competition. When one changes, the others are destined to change consequently. Today, the digital screen and the smartphone are the main catalysts of the disruption of our markets, brands, and identities.

In the last ten years, the Internet has created a layer on our life, melting the physical and digital worlds. With the spread of mobile technology, guided by the smartphone, we are now submerged in a stream of constant connectivity. Anytime we use the smartphone we literally possess the entire world in our hands.

The dematerialization of reality and the fragmentation of life into micro-moments have had two consequences:

  1. The emergence of the digital customers, empowered and demanding. They have a strong personality; they want to fulfill new needs and desires; they show different purchase decisions and behaviors.
  2. The evolution of the customer journey, that defies traditional definitions and unravels across different touchpoints, online and offline. To engage and understand the digital customer, marketers need to assume a mobile-first (if not mobile-only) approach.

Given the premise, it is evident that going digital does not mean simply “going paperless” as stated by those who want to reduce the power and range of this radical change. Digital transformation is not limited to a technological improvement or a business model evolution. It implies a shift in your culture, mindset, and perspective.

It surely starts with the revision of the customer experience management and the employee engagement. The first step to improving your business is to put people where they deserve to be, at the very core of your strategy. To quote our favorite guru Brian Solis “the digital innovation is as much about technology as it is about people."

Of course, a transformation with so deep implications cannot happen in one year. In the last ten years, and especially in 2015, we have already seen some important seeds of evolution:

  • Customer-centric approach - Wearing their customer’s hat for the first time, most companies are now aware that the customer experience is the main element of differentiation in highly evolved markets.
  • Mobile as the first channel - People and brands now live online and offline. Mobile is not just another channel among the others; it is the primary channel to engage with customers.
  • Wearables and quantified self - Wearables have soon become part of customer’s life, and the success of activity trackers and smartwatches responds to the need for a connected and quantified self.
  • Customer journey rebuilt - While you try to figure out how to include them into your digital marketing strategy, smart phones, watches, glasses and wristbands have already reshaped the customer journey.
  • Big data marketing - The key to a successful transformation is the ability to collect meaningful information and translate data into actionable insights to prioritize activities and investments.

These are the foundations to take a further step towards the evolution of your business. Going back to the opening question, what should we expect that will happen in 2016? We see five more seeds which will add their influence to those already listed.

TECHNOLOGY WILL ENHANCE EXPERIENCE

Why are you investing time and money in new technologies? The answer to this question will increasingly focus on the experience. You unlock the power of emerging devices to improve customer experience and win the race to relevance. Digital deletes the limits of physical reality, pushing the experience to a whole new level where virtual and augmented reality become the perfect companion to deliver immersive experiences and engage customers emotionally.

THE INTERNET WILL CONNECT THINGS

We are surrounded by increasingly intelligent devices, objects that do not need human intervention to learn and communicate. We will soon move from the Internet connecting people to the Internet connecting things. The so-called Internet of Things has the potential to redefine competitive advantage and “fundamentally alter how consumers interact with enterprises and how enterprises interact with their supply chain and distribution partners.” (Forbes)

MARKETING WILL BE CONTEXT AWARE

Any marketer knows that content without context is powerless. This is, even more, true in a world where mobile devices redefine the connection between companies and customers. The implementation of technologies such as beacons, geofencing, push notifications and the Internet of Things will spruce marketing up. Location and context will rule your strategy, ultimately allowing you to engage digital customers where and when it matters most, on every device.

MACHINE LEARNING WILL MAKE YOU SMART

The information technology has made possible for objects to handle complex operations at a speed not suitable for human beings. We could not consider these computers really smart, however, because they did not learn from the environment. Machine learning is a huge bet many big companies are doing: the future of business lies in the adoption of smart connected tools, able to autonomously learn and predict customer behaviors. This will ease the retail revolution we are all waiting for.

DATA WILL FOCUS ON CUSTOMER EMOTIONS

It is recent news that Google has created a tool that solves for computers the problem of seeing. It will soon recognize our emotions, identifying faces and learning from the what we do and how. If embedded in mobile apps and combined with machine learning, this technology will allow companies to gather real-time data about any single customer. Information that could be used to deliver (finally) personalized content and experiences, based on their behavior and emotions.

Now it is your turn. Which do you think will be the technologies that will drive digital transformation in the next years?

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Digital Best Practices For a Brilliant Engagement Strategy

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

5 Ways You Can Use Mobile To Improve Customer Experience

What is your first reference when you need to do something? What is your primary source of information when you need to decide what to buy? Mobile devices. One of the most exciting things about the Internet era is the pace at which innovation happens.

If we had to choose a single keyword to describe the historical moment we all live in, that would be ‘mobile’. Hence, there is no way to improve customer experience if you ignore the power of smartphones, smartwatches, wearables and all mobile technologies.

At the end of 2014, the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions has reached 2.3 billion globally, five times as many as in 2008. In just six years, smartphones and tablets have disrupted many industries, giving birth to an empowered generation of clients, the ever-connected digital customers.

Also, now the wearable technology - ranging from basic activity trackers to the brand-new Apple Watch - promises to fasten the evolution of customers and businesses. Mobile penetration has now risen above 100% in most developed markets, with the number of connections globally now well over 7 billion.

Every time innovative products arrive on markets, they quickly become an important part of the daily lives of millions of people. Changing the rules of marketing. The story is no different when it comes to the Internet and mobile connectivity.

We all live in a moment of transformation lead by digital screens. Mobile mind-shift is the name analysts use to identify this wind of change: our daily life can now be described as a flow of micro moments (as described by Google), influenced by personal devices. These moments are critical to establishing a connection with customers: either you earn their trust or lose them forever.

The fact is customers have already made the shift, embracing the digital transformation. This is particularly true for those born submerged in the digital world, the so-called millennials. To ensure that your brand does not disappear or gets written off as old, you need to find new ways to improve customer experience strategy, using mobile technology to create meaningful connections with your clients. Now.

In this new scenario, in fact, companies must understand that the customer - not the brand - is the core of any given strategy. People can easily access all the information they need, and choose from a potentially infinite range of brands and products. To build relationships and increase business, you need to engage continuously customers and give them what they want, when they want it, fast and easy.

This is the essence of digital customer experience in the Age of Customer. The only choice is to adapt as fast as you can if you want to conquer customers’ attention, retain their loyalty and be first in line in the purchase decision. Easier said than done.

People expect that you understand this new way of consuming and communicating and that you are able to fulfill their needs using innovative tools. Going mobile might be risky (and expensive) but it is also the only way to succeed. You are not going anywhere if you are afraid to take risks. Digital will boost your business, but you have to be willing to use it to revolutionize your customer experience.

How? We have traced five areas of improvement that you can enhance using mobile technology.

HELP

Empowered customers know what they want, but that does not mean they do not need you help. Technology should be used to make their life easier, improving the experience they have with your brand or product at every touch point of the customer journey: from the first contact to conversion to customer service. One-touch shopping, social buy buttons, social media customer service, virtual waiting list, NFC and Apple Pay are just a few examples.

ACT

You should be reachable everytime and everywhere. At the same time, you should be able to reach your customers when they are ready to interact with you and make decisions. Conversion in the mobile era is about connecting with clients at the right moment. Big data dashboards, marketing automation platforms and real time personalization technology improve the ability to act fast. It is no surprise that proximity marketing is becoming critical in business strategy that blends physical and digital.

TRACK

A major consequence of the spread of mobile devices is the huge amount of information that companies are now able to collect. Data about customer behaviors and preferences, information about competitors and market evolutions. The difference between old and innovative businesses is the capability to process and translate data into actionable strategies to improve efficiency and engage customers across all touch points, physical and digital.

PERSONALIZE

We are now accustomed to the idea of the Age of the Customer, where customers take center stage. In this era, talking to a broad, generic audience equals talking to none at all. Your content marketing - and your marketing strategy in general - should talk to every single client, to give him/her a powerful personalized experience with your brand and products. ‘Content customized with context’ is the key, and location-based promotions and offers, coupled with push notifications, great tools to personalize the purchase experience.

BUILD

When you sell your product or service, you always sell yourself, your story, your identity and values. As markets have become conversations, building brands means building relationships. Your identity is the ground where you build your marketing strategy, your true self the foundation for unique storytelling. The solution is to embed the mobile logic into a coherent narrative. Know yourself, know your customers, engage and play with them. Being on top of innovation is the only way to build trust and long-lasting relationships.

Just to be clear: going mobile does not mean just developing a mobile app. Going mobile requires a complete change in your mindset and methodology. It implies the awareness that the customer journey has changed, and your company need to change accordingly. Starting with your brand identity and involving your employees in the process.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of mobile technology and digital customer experience.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 4 Ways Customer Journey Mapping Will Boost Customer Experience

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

Born To Build: 5 Timeless Customer Experience Lessons From LEGO

What can customer experience leaders learn from the remarkable success of The LEGO Group? What is the connection between LEGO plastic bricks and digital marketing? None, at first glance. If you look deeply, though, you will see that the maker of children's toys that has a lot to teach.

There is a reason if the company has quadrupled its sales in the decade when virtual entertainment has replaced physical. That reason is the ability to build a unique brand, both anchored to tradition and open to innovation. The essence of digital transformation.

Our children do not play like we used to. They do not like what we like, yet there are LEGO sets in almost every house. And the LEGO playing experience has not changed at all over the years. From wooden playthings to plastic bricks, from video games to movies, the little toys are everywhere.

Founded in Denmark in 1932, The LEGO Group history spans nearly one hundred years of building creativity. While other classic brands have struggled - and still struggle - to survive the avalanche of digital screen and video games, LEGO has managed to overcome the challenge. Ultimately becoming one the world's great brands, the most valuable toy company (ahead of the giant Mattel), and one of the most loved icons of all times.

What is the secret of this enduring success? We can sum it up by quoting two catchphrases from past LEGO advertising campaigns:

I Can Build What I Want” - Using LEGOs you can build whatever your creativity brings out. Lego marketers have built the brand the same way, decade after decade. Despite its century-long tradition, LEGO is all but a traditional company. Ready to innovate with eyes wide open, the company is devoted to creativity, without walls and prejudices.

Everything is Awesome” - LEGO marketers are great builders of content, none can deny this fact. No matter what tools they are using to engage customers, what is really important is the quality of the output. LEGO video games constantly amaze users and critics, and the same happens with the movies. Everything is awesome when we are living our dreams.

The toy industry is well known to be the battlefield of a fierce competition. Marketing strategies need to accomplish two different goals: on the one hand they must attract, engage and delight children; on the other hand they must persuade parents. Given these premises, great content marketing is the only way to build a strong brand.

Easier said than done. Since the expiration of the last standing LEGO patent in 1989, we have witnessed the flowering of the blocks market. A growing number of companies has entered the competition, producing plastic bricks that are very similar to LEGOs.

Just take a look at the shelves in toy stores, and you will see dozens of alternatives. Through the years some have failed, some have reached a temporary success, very few have built a distinctive identity. None has really threatened the LEGO supremacy.

First come, first win? Of course, the fact that they have been the first to produce building blocks has given an aura of familiarity to the company. But this is not enough to explain the long-lasting (and ever growing) success of the Legos.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, highlighting the five timeless customer experience lessons we can learn from the tiny LEGO blocks.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS

For some industries, the buyer persona includes both the customer and the user. This logic does not apply to the toy industry, where the users are hardly ever the ones who make the purchase. When you build your strategy, it is easy to lose sight and underestimate the customer, focusing on the user (or vice versa). LEGO knows the difference between the two entities and constantly works to appeal both with tailor-cut content activities.

NEVER STOP BUILDING

Never stop building is yet another great motto taken from the company’s history. In a sense, it enshrines the entire LEGO philosophy: creativity is not a bird box. Creativity is a never-ending process that puts together what we are (as a brand) and what the world around us has become (mostly due to technology). Success, in these terms, is about finding new ways to improve and adapt to customers.

BORN TO BUILD CONTENT

A memorable customer experience always lies on great content, even more so after the digital disruption. LEGO is probably one of the best companies in the world at engaging and retaining customers through the use of valuable content. They do not just sell; they tell stories. LEGO’s storytelling is not about the product, it is about the customer: a story you can relate to is the foundations of great content marketing.

EMBRACE THE EVOLUTION

What if LEGO continued to produce only the original sets? One critical quality of the company is the ability to embrace the evolution of technology and tastes. LEGO methodology is set on constant change, showing that - in the digital era - you cannot live in just one channel alone. New sets (i.e. DC Comics, Simpsons, Dr. Who), magazines & comic books, movies, installation art, video games: they do whatever it takes to engage customers and oversee every channel.

CREATE BRAND BELONGING

Customers, they do not simply buy a product. They buy that specific product because they want to be part of a story. Identity and content create a sense of belonging, deployed across all channels and tools: community, social media, mobile apps, events dedicated to ‘builders’ of all ages. Have you ever given a child a product similar to LEGO but from a different brand? Then, you know what we are talking about.

Here is a huge lesson all digital entrepreneurs should learn from The LEGO Company: even when you have the best product on the market, the key to success is to create an amazing customer experience. The experience is the main brand differentiator in markets where clients can choose from hundreds of similar products.

Even when your brand is universally acclaimed, you can lose all your customers in the blink of an eye if you cannot evolve with customers. Loyalty is never carved in stone, and The LEGO Company knows it well. Evolution is in the brand’s DNA, and marketers are devoted to innovation in every single aspect of their job.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Digital Marketing Lessons From Game Of Thrones

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

Retail Banking: Customer Experience Reinvents Financial Services

banking_customer_experience

How can retail banks and financial institutions survive in a world where customers only need fifteen minutes to open a bank account online? How can they attract and engage clients able to carry out transactions with one single tap on the screen of the smartphone? Easy, they need to put the experience in the equation.

Retail banking customer experience is not a recent topic. Without customers, there won’t even be the need for financial operators. What has changed, in the last ten years or so, is technology, and customer behaviors with it. In the age of digital and mobile, banks need to embrace the digital transformation and reinvent themselves to survive.

When we talk about the effects of the Internet and mobile technology, we usually focus on companies that battle in the consumer products industry. With the emergence of a new generation of customers (the so-called Millennials), however, every single marketplace has become more demanding and competitive. So banks are evaluated just like any other brand.

Today’s customers - empowered by disruptive devices and submerged in a world of connectivity - no longer consider their experiences in an industry-silo. They evaluate the experience following precise standards, regardless the industry: all brands compete against each other to establish a satisfying relationship with clients through a compelling experience.

What does this mean for retail banks? That they need to build a digital customer experience that is amazing not only compared to all other financial institutions, but compared to the leading firms in other industries. The implication is evident: If they want to stay top of mind and retain customer loyalty, banks must learn to build an improved customer journey and use it as a competitive differentiator.​

According to the Global Consumer Banking Survey 2014 by Ernst & Young, “in many ways, consumer banking is like other types of consumer activity. But banking customers expect more than an excellent mix of products: they are looking for superior customer experiences that fulfill basic expectations while providing added value.

In the survey - which included responses from more than 32,000 retail banking customers across 43 countries - customers selected ‘the way I am treated’ as the second most important reason for trusting their bank, following (of course) ‘financial stability’. Even more important, customer experience is also considered “the most common reason for opening and closing accounts, more so than fees, rates, locations, and convenience.

You are not judged by what you produce or sell as much as you are judged by the experience you create: it all comes down to this for companies competing in the digital arena. A motto that also becomes a strong invitation for banks and insurances to reimagine their identity, together with their retail strategy, content marketing, engagement, and loyalty.

The scenario is rapidly taking shape in front of our eyes:

  • New customers - more demanding and tech-savvy, connected 24/7;
  • New competitors - online and digital banks, lowering the costs for clients;
  • New technologies - mobile banking and direct payments (Android Pay, Apple Pay);
  • New forms of payment - the infamous Bitcoins, the swap economy and the economy of experience.

What is the definition of positive customer experience in banking? In an era of mistrust in financial institutions, digital leaders need to bear this question in mind all the time. There is more to the building of a strong connection than the development of a mobile app and the speed of a transaction.

We know that customers constantly live - and move - across different channels, digital and physical. As they use multiple touch points to connect with a company, they expect that banking experience is built to be easy, fast, personalized and accessible wherever they are, whenever they need it and whatever device they are using. This requires a shift from the ‘account mind-set’ to the relationship with the customer.

Starting from what has been already done, and what we - as Neosperience - have accomplished working with best-in-class clients, we can trace five major areas of improvement:

PERSONALIZED JOURNEY

Today's customers should not be considered - in a marketing perspective - as a generic and indistinct group of financial accounts. Client's value is more than just the amount of money transferred and deposited. Delivering personalized experiences (i.e. with proximity marketing) across all stages of the customer journey, you will be able to manage a one to one communication, tailor-cut the experience and gather critical information you can use for behavioral targeting.

INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY

Banks and financial institutions are already taking advantage of technology to improve efficiency and cut the costs. Now they have to take a further step, and implement innovations to create better experience. The purpose is to convert the idea of banking from a cold and frustrating experience to a simplified and streamlined one. Technology drives a change in how customers use their money (mobile payments, banking mobile app), and how banks change their essence (the Internet of Things, gamification, reinvented loyalty).

REAL-TIME DATA

"Big Data: everybody talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it." If there is an industry that needs to learn how to employ big data, that is banking. All information gathered through digital and physical channels can help banks to understand what their customers want and, consequently, elevate the quality of service. The best way to use big data is to implement an analytics dashboard to transforma data into actionable predictions.

INBOUND MARKETING

Financial services providers and inbound marketing are more connected than it may seem. Traditional advertising is too expensive, with a skyrocketing cost per conversion. The best way to attract qualified leads and guide them to conversion is to establish your brand as the primary source to find information and solve customers' problems. Content marketing - the core of the inbound methodology - allows banks to connect with clients in a non-intrusive way, helping and educating them.

SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

What do social media have to do with banking customer experience? Everything. Presiding over relevant social networks, a bank is able to show its human side, too often hidden behind bureaucracy and cold numbers. Facebook, Twitter and Co. allow you to build trust, provide a superior customer service in real-time (just think about Facebook Messenger), answer promptly to challenges, questions and threats. And - why not? - sell your products through social advertising and buy buttons.

Growing expectations and the almost endless pool of financial institutions fighting to conquer customer’s heart (and provide a wide range of products) mean that banks must reshape their marketing strategy, customer service, and CRM. The only way for banks to achieve a successful transition to digital is to focus on key areas to increase customer retention, raise the brand value and ultimately deliver amazing experiences.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How Social Commerce War Will Change Retail Customer Experience

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

20 Marketing Blogs That Will Help You Improve Customer Experience

marketing_blogs

Success is 1% inspiration, 98% perspiration, and 2% attention to detail” (Phil Dunphy)

No field in business needs so much inspiration like marketing. In the age of digital and mobile technology, customer’s attention is the most precious coin on market. And you never sell just products or services, you sell experiences.

Thus, you need innovative ways to create memorable experiences. Where could you find your daily dose of good insights and inspirational reads? Citing the Beatles, all you need is blog. More than one blog, actually.

Today’s post is, in fact, dedicated to our recommended 20 marketing blogs that will offer you quality content to help you improve customer experience. Some are well known (how could you not know Seth Godin?), some might represent a nice surprise for you.

Given that the experience is more than a product, there is nothing like fresh read or a side angle view to learn new approaches and remove dust from your digital strategy.

Content marketing, social media, retail customer experience, business vision, mobile app marketing, search engine optimization: these (and many more) are all parts of the brand-new customer journey.

As a brand and entrepreneur, you need to learn how to perfect the connection with your customers - and employees - across the physical and digital touchpoints. The ability to manage relationships: here lies the essence of the inbound marketing methodology, the one that replaces interruption with communication.

You know nothing, Jon Snow”: this quote from Game of Thrones is perfect to explain why you can evolve, and get better at involving your customers in a story, only if you assume that you don’t know everything.

Digital strategy is a continuous ‘learning & testing process’, and inspiration is all around us. You just need to know where to look. In these 20 marketing blogs, for instance.

MOZ

Rand Fishkin is one the most renowned marketing experts out there, the creator of Moz and one of the wizards that offer their tips, tricks and advice on this SEO-focused blog.

SETH'S BLOG

The best selling author and business guru Seth Godin shares his wisdom in this blog about "marketing, respect, and the ways ideas spread".

HUBSPOT BLOG

You say inbound marketing and you think about Hubspot. The company also has an official blog, where tons of tremendous contents (articles, guides, ebooks) get shared every single day.

SEARCH ENGINE LAND

Want to know how to survive Google's algorithm updates? Want to understand how search engines work and how to perfect your SEO strategy? Search Engine Land is the place you want to go.

BEN SETTLE

Email marketing is often underrated, yet it is a critical element of the inbound marketing strategy. With his provocative posts, Ben Settle will help you finally link email and sales.

JEFF BULLAS

If you want to become a better blogger, you definitely need to read Jeff Bullas' blog about ... blogging. The famous speaker and author is a great source of tips and ideas.

QUICK SPROUT

If marketing is your daily bread, you surely know Neil Patel. In Quick Sprout you can find guides and ‘how-to’ articles about content marketing, social media and web optimization.

BRIAN SOLIS

The voice of digital transformation, Brian Solis, owns one of the most read blogs in the business world. The future of customer experience is the rule here.

KISSMETRICS BLOG

There is no marketing without measurement, there is no digital marketing without analytics. Kissmetrics Blog offers everything you need to know about marketing and metrics.

WORDSTREAM

Search engine marketing, PPC, AdWords campaign, retargeting: if you want to know more about these topics, Wordstream is the blog you are looking for.

COPYBLOGGER

In the inbound approach, content marketing is the key to attract qualified leads and convert them into customers. CopyBlogger shares great tips and content development ideas.

SOCIAL MEDIA EXAMINER

Would you build a marketing strategy without social media? Of course not. Social Media Examiner collects news and actionable tips on how to build a successful social brand.

UNBOUNCE BLOG

Success in the Internet era is all about conversions. If you want to learn how to improve your conversion rate and build great landing pages and CTAs, take a look at Unbounce Blog.

STORYNEEDLE

Michael Andrews, an independent content strategist, with StoryNeedle has created an inspiring source of knowledge on how to build an outstanding content strategy and storytelling.

MARKETING LAND

More a web magazine than a blog, Marketing Land gathers the most important news about all things marketing: search, email, social media, analytics, advertising and technology.

FORRESTER BLOG

Forrester is an important consulting firm, but also a source of knowledge. Of all its blogs, we recommend the Customer Experience Blog, focused on the evolution of digital business.

BACKLINKO

If actionable guides and case studies is what you are looking for, Brian Dean and his Backlinko blog is the answer: SEO, copywriting, content, you name it.

THINK WITH GOOGLE

Would you miss the official blog from the number one player in the mobile and digital world? Think With Google is a great source of ideas and insights, and you might even foresee the world of tomorrow.

SHOPIFY

Shopify is an innovative e-commerce company, and they have a blog. Where else could you gain insights into the evolution of online and retail customer experience?

THE SALES LION

Despite the name, The Sales Lion is not a blog on how to push-sell in the old way. On the contrary, it is a collection of thoughts on communicating and connecting with clients in the digital world.

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list nor it claims to include the best blogs ever created. These are just the ones we appreciate and constantly read. There may be hidden gems we still don’t know; please, let us know using the comments.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Inspiring SlideShare Presentations To Improve Customer Experience

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Receive updates from Neosperiece:

#INBOUND15: 5 Marketing Presentations You Must See (And Probably Missed)

One week has passed since Hubspot’s #INBOUND15 epilogue, but the voices from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center still resonate in our ears. Given the incredible number of 204 total sessions, for those who had the opportunity to attend the event it was impossible to take part in all keynotes and talking.

Whether you were running - like we did - back and forth around the BCEC to find a seat, or were unable to be present at all the #INBOUND15, you will gladly welcome these top 5 marketing presentations you might have missed (and should definitely see).

Of course, this is just a selection of all interesting sessions that took place at the four-days long conference. Search engine optimization, content marketing, digital transformation, the disruption of sales process, social media marketing, business growth in the age of mobile: all pieces of the inbound puzzle had a fair share of attention.

The 14,000 attending marketers have been pretty busy taking notes and sharing opinions and comments. Luckily enough, their hard work is not going lost, thanks to Inbound.org, the ‘inbounders community’ where you can find all other insightful slide decks and presentations and personal notes.

Here are the 5 marketing-oriented presentations we have appreciated most. A good reminder of the amazing things that happened at #INBOUND15, waiting for the 2016 edition.

“50 Actionable Tips For Launching a Successful Lead Generation Campaign”, Amanda Sibley

A lead generation campaign is the foundational element of any inbound marketing strategy. Amanda Sibley pointed out the different stages of the content creation, highlighting the importance of timing and employee involvement in the process, and ultimately suggesting the 50 action-driven tips for a successful campaign.

“Live To Tell The Tale”, Shawn Pfunder

The complete title of Pfunder’s presentation is “Live To Tell The Tale - Leveraging Story To Define Your Brand and Craft Marketing Strategy”, and it says it all. It should not surprise that content marketing took center stage in many of the sessions. The creation and distribution of useful, quality content is the key element of the inbound funnel (Attract - Convert - Close - Delight).

“The 30 Minute Marketing Plan”, Eric Keiles

Is it possible to understand the rules of inbound marketing in just 30 minutes? The answer is yes, according to Eric Keiles. A 30 minute marketing plan is enough to eliminate the most common challenges of modern markets. The presentation was a mix of real-world examples and actionable tips, to help you focus more on strategy than tactics and learn how to leverage your message.

“Technology Trends Shifting Customer Behavior”, Kyle Lacy

This one is probably our single most favorite session in the whole #INBOUND15 agenda. Filled with incredible insights on marketing and business, this presentations aimed at showing why technology is changing the way we think, buy and communicate. The key takeaways? Moments matter (remember Google’s Micro-Moments?); whoever owns the audience owns the experience; our entire economy is being rebuilt around the idea of sharing.

“Revenge of the Storymakers: How Brands are Battling Storytelling”, David Berkowitz

You are what you narrate: we all understand the importance of stories in the creation of the brand identity. If you are able to master your storytelling, you will conquer customers’ heart. Berkowitz, however, goes one step further: what is really critical is not ‘your’ story, it is your customers’ story. With examples from Starbucks, Visa, Coca-Cola, this presentation explained why brand are building on the stories their customers tell.

Now it's your turn. Did you attend the #INBOUND15 conference? What were your favorite sessions? Use the comments to share your thoughts, opinions and links to the presentations.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 3 Marketing Takeaways From #INBOUND15

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here:

Receive updates from Neosperiece: