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An Interactive Challenge to Marketers and Communicators

November 8th, 2011

Where does your organization rank in the realm of interactive marketing? Are you best in class at application of your brand online? Are you poised for the invariable changes that will affect this area of your brand? Read this Q&A if you would like to learn astute insights into the world of opportunity — and risk — that can affect your performance in the brave new world of digital brand management.

Eamon Sisk joined IridiumGroup as part of our continued investment in an “A-Class” level of capabilities for interactive communications. Eamon has worked for over eight years as an independent consultant, analyzing organizational platforms to evaluate all channels of brand expression online. Since joining our firm, he has led weekly professional development meetings for our entire staff, lecturing on the latest advances in technology and digital/interactive communications. I have personally witnessed the transformative benefits of having someone so insightful and passionate about the subject on our team. We have gone from a good interactive design group to a smart, talented team of professionals that are adept not only in design, but in content structure, architecture, and emerging technologies.

I sat down with Eamon to pose a few questions about brand management in social media, email campaigns and newsletters, microsites, and on flagship corporate websites.

Q. Social media has realized rampant expansion, but I’ve seen a bit of a backlash in recent months. What is its true value as a marketing platform? Isn’t it mostly valuable as a research tool for R+D units, less so as a way to create an experience for the consumer?
A. Social media provides a valuable opportunity for businesses to connect with their customers in a way that would be very difficult to do prior to its existence. I would argue it’s valuable for all aspects of your business. Sustainable growth, improving customer relationships (strengthening your brand), and insights for new market growth are just a few that stand to gain something from the social media platform.

Q. You have taught our firm a lot about something called Responsive Design for web. Can you share a brief idea of what this is, for those who want to learn more?
A. The way we consume the web is constantly evolving. With an ever-growing number of internet-enabled devices of all shapes and sizes, how do we ensure our audience is receiving a quality experience no matter what device they are using? Responsive web design addresses these concerns by tailoring the presentation of the content to the device in a way that is clear and functional. As a result, this makes your content easy to manage and update, unlike one-off, native applications created for each channel.

Q. You read and discuss this with peers constantly. You’re clearly a good prognosticator and passionate about where the technology is headed in 3 years, 5 years, and beyond. In 100 words or less, can you share a vision?
A. Currently, we are seeing this trend of data becoming centralized. I think there will be a decentralizing shift that follows. Over the coming years, practices will emerge on how to best make sense of all the information that’s being collected. The decentralization shift will only happen when our personal devices are powerful enough to carry out that analysis efficiently and effectively. With advances in AI, our devices will become more reactionary. I see our devices becoming self-aware, situation-aware and “social” which will lead to them becoming more proactive agents in our lives.

Q. How does the user-experience change, generally for all companies, when the core website converts to a small, mobile screen?
A. Generally speaking, the content won’t change. Users inherently expect a different experience because of the device they are using. At the same time, they expect to access the information they need clearly and easily, mobile or not. In order to do this successfully, we tailor how the content is presented and how users will interact with the content.

Q. Gaming is a growth industry worth $74 billion annually. http://www.joystiq.com.  But you claim that this is all shifting from desktop to mobile. How so? And how does that affect other forms of content?
A. I think it’s safe to say the market for desktop/console gaming has matured, but there is a huge growth opportunity in the mobile space. Content creators/providers should recognize this and follow suit.

Q. Where will Facebook be in 2015? LinkedIn?
A. Last time I was asked about Facebook, my response was somewhat dismissive, but I’ve been really impressed with their ability to pivot. I think they’ll be just as relevant or maybe even more so as they are today. I don’t follow LinkedIn’s business so I can’t give an educated response on that.

Q. Where should CMO’s be placing most of their investment presently, when they consider all of the channels available to them?
A. They should be investing internally. Most companies lack governance, particularly when it comes to the web, it’s damaging their brand image and they’re missing opportunities for additional revenue.

Q. Everyone talks about the cloud. Can you share your thoughts briefly? Most beneficial aspects? Risks, if any?
A. The cloud helps us manage our digital life. Being able to access files no matter which device we are using simplifies our lives. You give up some control when it’s managed by a third-party so rights and privacy should be a concern.

Q. For marketers, multiplying channels can feel like musical chairs on steroids. How do we manage the content through all of this confusion? What changes in the experience between desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile device?
A. Structuring your content will eliminate confusion. Devices shouldn’t dictate content so from that perspective, nothing should change.

Q. What is the most interesting thing you have read lately? Feel free to provide more than one link.
A. Currently, I am reading “The Innovator’s Solution” by Clayton Christensen. I have “Designing for Emotion” by Aarron Walter and “Mobile First” by Luke Wroblewski queued up.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 at 11:09 am and is filed under Brand Identity, Design, Marketing, Media, Social Media, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

DWAYNE FLINCHUM
Founder & President,
IridiumGroup Inc.

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