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Whiteboards in a Mobile Society

The whiteboard was my first social media. My whiteboard hung on the door to my college dorm room. To me, it was also the predecessor to text messaging. The whiteboard, along with the cafeteria and the student lounge, was where I learned of happenings on and off campus. Yes, I grew up in a world before cell phones, laptops, iPads and social media. Since then, I’ve embraced technology and have learned a thing or two about how we, as humans, rely on these devices and apps to help us survive our day. Today, we live in a connected world; actually, a mobile-first, connected world. To succeed in this world as marketers, we need to think about our customers’ behaviors without forgetting the evolution of the whiteboard.

Communication is personal. When someone left me a message on my board, it was for me. They didn’t broadcast to everyone on the floor or in the dorm, it was specifically for me. In a mobile-first world, we have access to an outrageous amount of data that allows us to understand our customers and get personal with them. Customer segmentation can now be an experience that provides real value and can foster life-long, brand advocates. To succeed today, we must learn to use all the data at our fingertips.

Life is busy. Smartphones, tablets, Alexa, Google Home, etc., all these devices connect us in every aspect of our lives. One device (ok, maybe three as I look around my office) always seems to be within arm’s reach. These devices have become ingrained in our hectic day and have contributed to an on-demand world. Alexa, add bread to the shopping list. Siri, where’s the closest gas station? People do what they need to do and keep moving forward, without stopping. In a mobile society, consumers have the power to skip ads, screen calls, and leave sites when pop-ups occur. Marketers need to remember that interruptions, if not done with thought, can become just annoying interruptions. It is our responsibility to add value and enhance an experience, without disrupting the movement. We need to be along for the ride, not the reason for the derailment.

Turn an engagement into an experience. My whiteboard helped me find my friends and know what was going on when and where. It helped me find moments to engage and join in on the collegiate experience. To stay ahead in a mobile-first world, marketers must look at customer interactions as experiences. What are we doing to make life easier, better, less taxing, or more family-friendly for our customers? The more we connect and engage with our customers, the better the opportunity for an engagement to become an experience. Great experiences create brand advocates and loyalists. To do this, marketers must listen to clients, identify ways to connect with audiences that prompt engagement and fosters an experience.

Life continues, and the pace is fast. Whiteboards on dorm room doors are no longer the lifeline they used to be. Mobile devices have replaced that link, but there is always something coming. What’s next? Wearables with projected screens? Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but if we are to survive and be successful, it is up to us to continue to keep a pulse on what’s new and balance that with what our customers want and need. It is up to us, as marketers, to use the tools available to create the customer experience everyone expects.

by Susan Matson