This Isn’t Your Father’s Agency

Posted by: in Austin Social Media, Customer Experience, Insights, Marketing Insights, Pre-Commerce, Social Commerce, Social Media Insights & Trends, Thought Leadership, w20 group on February 28, 2013

After 10+ years of consumer and tech industry experience at Fortune-500 firms, I’ve made a career leap to consultancy with W2O Group, a privately-owned global communications firm.  This marks a significant personal and professional shift, so with a mere month under my belt, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned so far.  The marketing discipline is in the midst of a cataclysmic shift, which is great news for any progressive marketer mildly interested in consumerism and anthropology.  In order to succeed in this new world of socially-driven commerce, brands must embrace a few basic concepts:

  1. AGILITY is Paramount   With tectonic shifts in technology, interpersonal communication, and access to data, insights into social influence and digital customer activity are a marketer’s gold.  Bob Pearson’s revolutionary PRE-Commerce principles have laid the foundation for the products and services we provide to our clients spanning healthcare, technology, and consumer goods.  The first step is to construct a virtual map of the ENTIRE customer decision dialogue, which ultimately informs product mix, pricing, partnerships, and triggers to action.  This will be the primary competence for an agile, customer-centric product marketing organization in the future.  If you can clearly define what information your target customer seeks, where and when they obtain it, and glean unmet needs from the social “noise”, you’ll have a golden blueprint for value delivery.
  2. DATA is Currency   Proliferation of mobile technologies and the resulting social culture shifts have shattered our traditional view of linear purchase paths.  Buyer behavior is now heavily informed by interpersonal networks and implicit product endorsements, no longer by finely manicured ad campaigns and antiquated push-marketing tactics.  Brands are slowly beginning to place a premium on the value of influence and advocacy, yet lack the tools and insights for effective social engagement and activation.  That is EXACTLY what we’re solving for at W2O as we build strategic partnerships with the likes of SnapTrends and VM Foundry.  Our clients demand tools steeped in social forensics and the expertise to turn analytics into action, ultimately enabling more meaningful customer relationships.
  3. Help Your CUSTOMERS Buy   Musicians can’t survive any longer on record sales than brands can survive on impressions.  This is the new-norm of our on-demand and information-rich marketplace.  Your customers own your brand’s digital identity, your ratings and reviews are fully democratized, and word-of-mouth now trumps paid media.  Do you know who is leading relevant discussions, where and when they happen, and how you can take part when the opportunity arises?  We strive to arm our clients with the ability to listen, to transform data into action, and to remove barriers to purchase.  Depending upon how much incremental value you deliver and how many roadblocks you eliminate, you may find yourself with a legion of brand stewards and loyal customers.

This blog post probably reads a lot like a commercial for W2O Group, but I can’t help but be inspired by our organization’s aggressive adoption of market shifts and the resulting opportunities to lead.  We’re tasked with developing the tools, resources, and intellectual capital to help our clients succeed in a PRE-Commerce marketplace.  If the first month was this awe-inspiring, I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow…

By: Michael Westgate

Michael is Head of Marketing at W2O Group and supports our clients with digital analytics and participatory marketing strategy.

Find me on: Twitter
Pre-Commerce Check out W2O Group President Bob Pearson's new book, Pre-Commerce, in which he shares ideas for leaders to engage directly with customers to shape their brand and marketplace success. Now available for order on! Join the conversation #precommerce.

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