Yup, doing Friday’s 4-1-1 on Saturday for the first time. And hopefully the last. The week was just a bear for me and I finally found myself at 10:00 last night weighing whether or not to push on through the blog post or call it a night and get some rest. I chose rest. So, here we are, early Saturday morning trying to play catch up, which is the feeling I’ve had all week. I was preparing for a huge pitch (which happened on Thursday), trying to tie up a couple of large initiatives that we’ve been working on for a few months, and participating in the office-wide move (we basically “flipped” wings on our floor), and that’s just work. 2 of the 3 kids at home came down with strep throat this week and on top of that, just generally, they’re about to drive my wife crazy (the boys are in their destructo mode, treating the house and each other like coloring books, punching bags, and jungle gyms.) But enough of all that. Let’s get into this week’s 4-1-1. I wrote yesterday about the session I’m participating in at CETW next week, but I failed to talk about what else is going on at the conference. I’m looking forward to the entire conference. It looks to be a good one. So, today’s 4-1-1 is all about looking ahead to what I’m excited to see next week.
1. Increasing the Number of Customer Touch Points – I’m not familiar with Vernon Slack (speaker) or AOpen America (his company), but the description of his session has sold me. The first two lines – “Customers want to be engaged, a part of the action. They want to “experience” your business.” Yes, Vernon they do. We’re talking the same language, man. I will be there to hear what you have to say. Although this is focused specifically on “in-store,” I’m sure the things he’ll share enable consumers the ability to “experience” your brand/business outside of those 4 walls of the store. We’ll see. (Session is Wednesday morning at 11.)
2. Lessons Learned From Health & Beauty Augmented Reality Programs – I believe Augmented Reality is a powerful enabling technology that allows “out of home” to become an engagement vehicle, not just an awareness vehicle. This session looks to focus on the health & beauty industry only, but this niche of an industry is smart for using this type of technology. Here, in this industry, Augmented Reality actually serves a purpose (which I think is the holy grail for AR. It can be really cool, but it can also be really useful and solve business problems), and at the same time, provides a rich, engaging consumer experience. (Session is Wednesday morning at 11:45.)
3. Who Moved My Customer? Engaging & Empowering the New Digital Consumer – first, Nanonation is top notch, so I suspect anything they talk about will be enlightening. Second, this session is aligned with what I’ve been talking about for awhile – engaging consumers, not just talking to them. Consumers expectations are increasing – we see this in social media, we’re starting to see this in mobile, and the “out of home” world is staring this fact right in the face. I believe that consumers already expect brands to make them aware via any channel, digital or not. When they walk into a store, they expect a monitor with moving images and messages. When they’re walking down the street, they expect a sign that moves. I believe their expectation, sooner rather than later, is for those “screens” to give them the ability to engage with a brand on a personal level. I look forward to hearing another POV on this in this session. (Session is Thursday morning at 11:15.)
4. Driving Customer Experience: Using Digital Signage to Engage Customers and Increase Repeat Business – one of the last sessions of the conference looks to be one of my favorite. Again, the session description speaks right to my heart – “The greatest potential of “Digital Signage and Interactive New Media” is the opportunity to facilitate a one-on-one relationship with each of your customers.” This session looks to be more geared to CRM as a whole, not just focused on “out of home.” If it is what it sounds like, I completely agree with the concept (touching a consumer “out of home” is only one touchpoint in their relationship with the brand) and again, look forward to hearing another’s POV on what I believe to be true, too.
“Uh-huh” – overall, I just get a feel from the sessions that it’s all about using this channel as an engagement channel, not an awareness channel. There are multiple mobile sessions (my buddy, David Weinfeld is moderating one – Integrating Mobile into your Customer Engagement Solutions – Wednesday at 2), multiple multi-channel sessions, multiple strategy sessions, and the two keynotes are specifically geared around “engagement.”
“Duh” – yes, this is a no-duh – the conference is now called, “Customer Engagement Technology World,” but it’s one thing to talk about it and position yourself in one way, it’s another to actually do it. I felt, earlier in the year, that this conference recognized the need to showcase how we can use this channel as an engagement channel and not just as an awareness channel. I was excited that they even changed the name of their conference, which before didn’t say what it seems like they want to say.
So there you have it. I, no doubt, left out some good sessions. I’m going to try to fill my day – both days – with these sessions. There are plenty and it will be easy to fill my day. If you’re around and want to chat, let me know. I’d love to.