Richard Sedley at the Fusion Marketing Experience
Richard Sedley at the Fusion Marketing Experience

If you’ve been around marketing for a while and especially if you have been around online marketing for some time, you have likely heard in the past people ask if their company really needs a website.

Of course nowadays that question would be seen by the vast majority of us as just plain silly. Yet, as Richard Sedley mentioned during a keynote at The Fusion Marketing Experience Brussels, he still gets that question, only now it’s about Facebook.

Facebook is of course not a web site. It’s a platform and a proprietary one at that. But it is a central component of social marketing and today, social media channels are one of the places the multi-channel consumer expects your brand to be.

According to Richard Sedley, there are 3 reasons why the future of engagement is social:

  1. Your customers are already on social regardless of you being there or not. If you don’t create your presence there, they likely will.
  2. Second, as we observed a decline in the trust of corporations, we’ve seen a rise in social sharing. There has been shift in what sources people trust to give them information on brands and corporations and that has been towards social. The old days of trusting brands and corporations and taking them at their word are over. We’d rather trust people than brands.
  3. Lastly, social activates mobile and multi-channel. Richard offers Real Madrid as an example of an organization which has been successful with social and mobile. Real Madrid has generated 13 million Euros via their social mobile club.

Mobile and the role of proximity

There’s something special about a mobile device. Looking at a smartphone as a smaller PC really isn’t accurate. The relationship with a smartphone is quite different simply because of the proximity. Think about the fact that we interact with smartphones at a much closer physical proximity than a PC or TV.

Where does mobile fit within mass media? Richard believes we’ve never had a media as intimate as mobile. It’s always with us and we have an attachment to it that we don’t have with other technologies. If you forget your mobile phone at home, you feel as if you forgot your house keys.

It’s a built in payment channel and its available at the point of impulse — that can be a real advantage for marketers. It potentially has the most accurate audience data and only mobile captures the social context of that media consumption. Lastly, it can enable a different type of reality for us.

Think about this, 56% of people in the UK take their mobile device to bed with them and 86% of those never turn it off even in bed. Mobile phones can even reach you in dreamland and wake you from a sound sleep.

The mobile phone has even relegated the wristwatch back to just a fashion accessory — only ten percent of teenagers in the UK wear watches today.

It wasn’t long ago that if you had suggested any kind of mashup of the virtual and real world people would roll their eyes and yet, today something such as Foursquare does just that.

What all this really comes down to is the need for marketers to understand not what technology does, but what people are doing with it. Understanding this means that you understand better how best to interact and relate to your customers.