How Do We Market to Cyborgs?

Posted by: in Customer Experience, Social Media Insights & Trends on July 17, 2012

As I read through my home feed on Google+ – that’s right, I’m one of ‘those people’ currently enjoying Google+ – I noticed a post on the Scobleizer regarding ‘Mobile 3.0.’ I paused just long enough to mutter something to myself along the lines of, “What? Did we really need another digital marketing buzzword?” But before I could move on, I noticed that something about the topic had gotten Robert Scoble pretty fired up. It made me curious. And, as marketers, we all know what this type of curiosity leads to… a click-through. And what a click-through it turned out to be.

I’m hoping you’ll go back and read the post. But before I summarize, and in the interest of full disclosure, Qualcomm Life, a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, is a client. On July 10th, Qualcomm shipped the developer SDK called Gimbal. What’s special about this SDK is that it will allow developers to talk to all of the sensors and radios in your phone, the compass, GPS, accelerometer, temperature sensor, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. and use the data to create a contextual awareness platform. This is vastly important because it will allow apps and messaging on your phone to be hyper-relevant to you at any given moment in any given context. Scoble’s post does a much better job of describing this and giving examples.

Needless to say, at this point, Scoble’s post had me excited too. It immediately made me think of Amber Case. She is a pioneer in the relatively new field of Cyborg Anthropology. And to hear her tell it, which you can in the video below, we have all become cyborgs.

For those of you that don’t have time to watch the entire video, although you should bookmark it and come back when you do, I will give you the highlights. Case is studying how the human condition, rituals, lifestyle, etc. has changed due to the technology that has become inextricably linked to our lives; the best example being mobile devices like smartphones. The smartphone is a device that many people feel they can’t live without. Essentially, the device allows them to compress space and time to connect with anyone in the world at any time. And this is making our world a much smaller and more connected place. All in all, technology has the potential at this point and time in history to enhance our humanity. We have the ability to engage and help one another like never before. And through social media, you can see direct examples of people engaging and helping other people every day. Case calls this ‘calm’ technology, and says that we can achieve “better connections when tech gets out of the way and helps us live our lives.”

Of course, calm technology is also going to make many of us cyborgs look ridiculous for a while. But the real question becomes, what is the potential for marketing in this vast new world of cyborgs and hyper-relevant, contextual awareness?

Cyborg Marketing = Experiential Marketing
With the heightened state of human interaction brought on by technology, it is imperative to concentrate our marketing on two things – 1) being human and 2) interactions and experiences with our brands.

Let’s start with being human since it is, hopefully, the easier of the two. Brands no longer have the luxury of simply selling their products. Thanks to companies like Dell, Apple, Kraft, Whole Foods and more, brands are now selling an experience. That experience spans the quality of your product throughout your organization to the quality of your people and your ability to act responsibly regardless of your hard and fast policies. At the end of the day, people buy products from people, and people create the experience of your brand. The trick to being human is that it is no longer a private situation between a customer and a company. The playing field is completely level and every experience an individual customer has with a brand should be treated as if it is public. Essentially, this makes every company only as good as its worst customer service rep. So, instilling a quality experience across an organization should be an absolute priority.

Number two is a bit stickier because we all know that hundreds of exceptional experiences can easily be undone with one bad experience. So, it only makes sense that if the audience for your brand is using a certain technology, you should understand and be using that technology as well. If you know your customers are using mobile devices to access information about your product by looking at your website analytics, then you should have a mobile experience, be it site, app, email or SMS messaging. And if they are using apps developed with Qualcomm’s Gimbal SDK, you’ll need to deliver a hyper-relevant experience.

And, I would even take it a step further. If your audience is using a particular technology, everyone at your company should understand and be using that technology. It’s just like using word processing or presentation software, it’s a job requirement. Otherwise, can your organization truly make informed decisions that impact brand experience and your customers?

This is never more evident than with social media. We’ve all heard that customers are talking about our brands and it is up to us to join the conversation or be left with the customer communities defining our brands for us. If this is true, shouldn’t brands be requiring their employees to utilize social media in their everyday work? If for nothing else, employees could see the conversations and stories about their brand and know exactly how the customers feel. My bet is that just knowing how customers feel would have a positive impact on how people do their jobs.

So, as we cyborg marketers try to create exceptional experiences for our customers, let’s take advantage of the hyper-relevant and super-connected technology that has expanded our potential to be more human.

By: Jim Dayton

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