Had the honor of having two exciting guests in my International Marketing MBA class at Chapman University, Mr. Chris Brull, VP Marketing for Kawasaki Motors and Mr. Scott Shaffstall, CEO and Founder at Gen Now Agency as well as Chapman MBA Class of 2014 alumni. Scott has worked for Kawasaki Motors both in-house and as a contractor and we had a good interplay of ideas through the evening with my students.
As the theme of the day was international marketing communications, the discussion inevitably involved how you today need to use digital and social media channels to engage with prospective and existing customers. For example, when I asked Chris Brull about his take on customer journey mapping, I got the following intriguing response:
“Journey mapping is definitely important but it's table stakes now, everyone should be doing it so you get it with the insights you gain along the way but in this business, with one brand and all the sub-brands we have, it's spaghetti thrown all over! It's not as linear as it was when you were watching 30 second spots, perhaps with some direct mail, you see a billboard, print magazine, and you go in and hang at a dealership.
The minute you think you've got the map set, it changes, cause you guys (looking at my students), your generation have blown up every piece of marketing technology and in fact today's is already getting old. Why do you think Facebook is trying to reinvent, reinvent? Now the map goes everywhere cause everyone is insanely distracted, they've got their handheld, they've got their entire lives in their hand, so how are you going to connect? Is it a CRM program, an email program? I've gotta be on it 24/7, I've gotta be completely ready for every eventuality, it's almost like Navy SEALs, when they go in, they are ready for everything! It's insane!
But we've got to stay on it, I call it walking point, like in those war movies, they are out there in the jungle, it's scary, you've gotta know where you're going, sometimes you don't, it's dark, you get ambushed, you get shot, but you've gotta get back up, you need to be resilient. Sometimes I'd like to get in front even further but you don't want to get too far ahead. Where are my marketing partners, my agencies? Sometimes those guys want to play it safe but cannot be left too far behind.
What it really boils down to is that you have to be present, you've gotta know your customer completely, then you have a chance at engaging them in the right way in the right channel at the right time.”
Exciting times to be in marketing, right? Or is it getting almost too scary? Are you feeling agile like a Navy SEAL out there? At least, I am confident that the role of social media to engage with prospects and customers in various channels at different times is not going to go away anytime soon. While the customer journey may become ever-more unpredictable, I predict that social media will play an even more important role going forward both for helping detect the need for and for actually engaging with customers through real conversations.
In fact, I believe so strongly in that the brands that manage social media engagement right are going to find more opportunities to succeed even in an age of marketing automation. This could be their key differentiator. That is why I am writing a book titled The Social Customer Journey and I would be thrilled if you choose to learn more about it by filling out the form below, thank you!