Big data goes beyond technology

big data make sense

If you are not in to big data, you are out; so far the latest tech hype. Have we finally found a direction in the “databoulemic” society we have become? Any click on the web is collected with care and devotion, our mobile phone keeps track of every place we have been, our smart watch is “watching” our biometric data,… the list is not only endless but continues to grow everyday.

And now we have collected all this data… so what? Is it only a question of technology to create value from these data? Geeks might believe so… we don’t. Every time technology is put above the needs, which it is meant to serve, the probability we get lost is high if not inevitably. I guess it must feel safe to keep the big data debate only technological. 🙂

As far as I understand it and that’s a pure personal view on the issue, the value of Big Data is human based not technology based. Who cares about big data when there are only data? If Big Data has to provide value and thus make sense, you will need the human oriented competences to create it and these competences are go beyond technology.

The only way to create new value from these endless data is to make (produce) sense. As far as I know only human beings can decide about meaning and sense. Technology should remain an executer and be kept away from this process. Human oriented competences such as social, anthropological and psychological insights will allow you to create sense from these data.

Within the same framework one should not forget the relativity of the captured data. There is no such thing as capturing the complete reality. The data captured are a result of a concept or an idea of how we think the world is. In this sense the capturing of data is a result of a human decision and thus again a creation process of meaning, which is to often hidden or taken for granted.

In conclusion, Big Data is above all a big challenge of creating meaning and the technology will not ease the pain of that challenge.

 

 

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HAPPY STRATEGY! Yes, a formalized strategy can make you HAPPY!

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Research shows a large majority of SMB’s does not have a formal strategy. It leaves me puzzled, as the benefits for your business are obvious. But maybe we should change the perspective from business to emotion to make strategy defining an attractive activity for a SMB owner.

Of course, why should we only speak about strategy from a “cold” business perspective when we know since the Beatles’ song that “Happiness is a warm gun”? Defining a clear strategy will bring you an important load of emotional benefits, which could be even more important than your business benefits. If you don’t want to do it for your business than do it for your happiness! 🙂

Feel sure; get rid of the doubts
As long as your strategy has not been clearly defined you fight the doubt. Defining your options and knowing why you choose them will free you from the doubts. What a relief!

Go straightforward instead of turning in circles
Strategic thinking is networked thinking as all strategic ideas are connected with each other. Trying to find clarity with your ideas inside your head of turns to be a “circled” exercise. Do you recognize this experience that burns your energy bringing you over and over again to the starting point? Talking about frustration…

The actor, not the spectator
Spectators go to movies but movies are fiction. If you are an entrepreneur you have chosen to be an actor in a real but complex world. A formalized strategy is an excellent tool to master this complexity and to put you in the actor’s seat.

Still need more reasons why a formalized strategy can make you happy? I am sure you can find many more. If I have convinced you, let’s take the next “hands-on” step. I have conceived the SST Strategic Short Track a rapid and action plan oriented method for you. The good news is that it is available as an open source method. Eight articles help you go through the method.

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Three good reasons why you should help buying

buying process

Do you sell or do you help buying? It’s simply a question of who do you think is in control of the process, the customer or you? I think there is a lot of evidence, which suggests you should consider that the customer is in control and that helping buying instead of hard selling provides the best business opportunities for your company. There are numerous reasons why this is true, but let’s focus on three of them:

  1. Turn information into customer value

Information is available everywhere and there is no competitive advantage to create by manipulating or withholding information. You’d better play the game with transparency. Moreover, the key issue is not “information” but the value of this information and this where you can help your customer by providing assistance to assess the collected information. It will help her/him to make a choice which best fits her/his needs.

Some might argue that in some cases we will help the customer to buy our competitor’s product. This is true, and if she/he does, it probably indicates the customer would not be happy with your product anyway and, unless you enjoy getting involved with frustrated customers, you should be happy with his choice…

  1. Build a productive relationship

Trying to sell something your customer doesn’t need will bring you money on a short term but you should agree to loose your customer’s trust on the long term. If you want a productive and long term relationship with your customer, she/he needs to consider you as a trustful party, who serves her/his interests. And the customer’s interest is to buy the product, which the best fits his needs whether you provide it or not!

  1. Optimize your communication tools

Helping the customer to buy implicates you understand your customers buying process. The buying process tells you which phases the customer needs to run through to finally buy a product (hopefully yours :-)). Each step of the process teaches you which are your customer’s needs at that stage. By designing your communication tools to respond to these specific needs and use them at the right moment within the process, they will become much more effective and appreciated by the customer.

There’s a lot more to say regarding this subject and I will surely write more about how to analyze your customer’s buying process as I am convinced it will help you become more successful.

To your success!

Happy summer! 🙂

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Why should you care about NEUROMARKETING?

neuro_marketing

Neurosciences confirm: when your customers decide, very often their subconscious and above all their emotions are in the driver’s seat. Learning how to communicate with this part of the brain will increase the power of your marketing and communication programs.

Did you know only 1 out of 8 new products launched is a success? The traditional marketing paradigm, which states that your customer’s decision process is purely rational, is probably one of the main reasons of this very bad result.

Neurosciences teach us that our conscious mind’s capacity to process information is 44 bits per second. On the subconscious level, this capacity grows to 11’000’000 bits per second. Knowing this, can we continue to believe that our conscious mind rules over all our decisions?

Continuous research discovers step by step that the subconscious mind has its own logic and semantics. Therefore we can understand how we can help the subconscious to access and react to our marketing and communication programs.

You do not necessarily need a fMRI scanner or eeg equipment to apply neuromarketing in your daily work. All you need is to guide your observation so you can integrate these insights pragmatically and make your daily work more efficient and richer.

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INSTANT MARKETING: What do you offer NOW?

instant marketing Living in the present moment is not only a spiritual Zen slogan. Though we (should) know better, our behaviour is very often defined by the actual environment.  And that’s why it is so important to ask yourself the question: “What do we offer NOW”

Take some examples from your own experience: Last month: Did you exercise as much as you planned? Did you eat more than you know you should? Probably a large majority of us will have to witness, though we “know” what is good for us, we didn’t act accordingly. Is the present moment so powerful that we forget about our goals and objectives? We have to admit that “knowing” is not sufficient to guide/inspire our behaviour.

In his youtube video “Doing the right things for the wrong reasons” Dan Ariely learns us that our actual behaviour is very often motivated by direct stimuli than by visions of the future which become nothing more than wishful thinking. So now what can we marketers learn from this?

Well, we have to consider that in a decision process the present moment proves to be so important we can’t ignore it more than that we should seize the opportunity it creates. That’s why I suggest you ask yourself the question “What do we offer NOW?” and integrate these new insights in your communication as well as the immediate experience of the product.

And only a couple of days ago a friend of mine told me that for each Apple product he bought, the pleasure started with the packaging of the product and goes on from there. But does this mean we need to give up the values of a brand and focus exclusively on immediate benefits?

In my understanding I do not see them as opposites but as complementary. The values of a brand allow justifying the instant behaviour by giving it a signification. to your instant success!

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More brand= more business, also true for SMB’s in B2B

Brandmanagement

Neuroscience indicates (read our last article) emotions are mandatory for decision making. If that’s true, we need to understand how we can exploit the power of emotions within our business, even if we are a SMB in B2B.

There’s a lot of buzz and fuzz about brands on the net. But beyond these sometimes very interesting discussions, there’s evidence: a brand is very powerful instrument when it comes to create (positive) emotions.

SMB’s and more particular those into B2B often tend to believe that:

a. their customers do not need a brand

b. if their customers would need one, they would not be able to create one

Neuroscience tells us that the brand builds the frame around your product. The quality of this frame influences the perception, expectations and last but not least the experience of your products/services.

If you don’t develop your brand, your products will have to miss emotional support of your brand and thus have less energy to take the hurdles on their road to success. If you want to help your customers to buy your product, you definitively need a brand.

Of course, SMB’s do not have millions to spend to build their brand. But they can

a. become aware of their brand value and make it explicit

b. communicate it systematically within the limits of the available resources

c. create with their explicit brand more homogeneity and engagement with regard to employees, products, services and customers.

Some might say, the product = the brand… and that’s food for thought for another and maybe our next article.

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No emotions = no business, also true in B2B

Neuromarketing in B2B

Neuromarketing is often perceived as being a consumer business or B2C issue. I regularly get the question if Neuromarketing has something to offer to the B2B (Business to business)?

My first answer to this question is what B2c and B2B have in common is “All business is human”. Of course B2B stands for a commercial relationship between two organizations, but people represent these organizations.  This means that whatever insight Neuromarketing brings to understand how people take their decisions can also be applied to B2B.

As to where it seems easier to admit emotions are key in B2C, the nature of B2B relations can make us believe (and thus perceive) rational behavior drives the decisions in B2B. In fact, it is often true that the complexity of products/services or the strategic and/or financial implications within B2B business requires a solid thinking process as an essential part of the decision process.

But then, why do we say after such a solid thinking process “I FEEL good about this decision”? Neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio think there is enough evidence to state that without emotions we are unable to make decisions. Related to B2B this means that if you need your customer to take a decision you can’t limit yourself to rational argumentation. You will also need to create room and design processes and instruments to communicate emotion in order to help your customer take his decision.

In conclusion we can say that on a pure emotional level B2B and B2C are not different as both are based on people interacting. What will differentiate them are the tools and the channels to put in place in order to optimize the mix between emotion and rationalisation.

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