When we think about innovation, we think about products. The iPhone, the Netbook, and the smart watch all come to mind. But innovation isn’t just about creating new stuff that consumers will love. It’s also about finding new ways to engage with them too. The smartest companies, many in Silicon Valley, are at the forefront of what we might call a new wave of marketing technology. They are reaching out in ingenious ways to build their brands. Here’s what they’re up to.
They Understand The Power Of Data
The good news is that startups have more data than ever with which to make their decisions. The bad news is that most of them don’t know how to use it. Many of the cleverest startups are using data in interesting ways. One of the things they’re doing with it is testing out which content titles work best to drive traffic. When a piece of content is produced, marketers put out multiple versions of the piece, all with different titles. They then track user uptake based on the number of clicks each title gets. This means that companies get insights into how best get their material in front of their clients. And they begin to understand the type of content that most delights their audiences.
Other startups are using data to track consumer preferences. These data are being used to build preference portfolios and suggestions. Customers of music startups, for instance, make purchases or listening decisions. And then their data are fed into computers to determine what other material they are interested in. The holy grail here is not to just find other related material, rather like an Amazon shopping suggestion. Instead, smart algorithms suggest music that falls into a general preference category. The category is informed both by the individual and by the tastes of others.
They Build A Culture Of Feedback
Startups that are really going places are able to develop a strong culture of feedback. They’re constantly looking for ways in which they can improve themselves. And when they fail, they see it as a sign of progress. The best startups are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves. And they’re often willing to redesign their whole business strategy, if it will lead to greater profitability.
Take Google, as an example. No, it’s no longer a startup. But it does organize workshops for startups to improve their business. One of the things that it now does is offer a rolling feedback during workshops. Each day’s itinerary is adjusted according to the feedback from people from the previous day.
Receiving feedback can be a little nerve-wracking. But it’s also the only way that you’ll ever find success online. Once you’ve got the information you need, you can act on it, and that’s what counts.
They’re Obsessed With User Experience
If you’ve ever spent time with a top entrepreneur, you’ll know that they’re obsessed with user experience. They’re always considering all the little details that could affect how they perceive their company. And they make a series of little, endless adjustments to match.
Perhaps the most important area is the online space. Here, companies are forever looking for ways to go from traffic to conversion. One of the things that top entrepreneurs recognize is that it’s not enough to have just a plain vanilla website anymore. Websites need to be portals through which your customers can engage with you in meaningful ways. Improving web traffic is important. But the real brand-building value is in the user experience of the service. You can have all the traffic in the world. But if the user experience isn’t right, it’s all for nothing.
Top entrepreneurs are now experiencing with web apps and other tools to customize their user experience. They find a custom software development company that can adapt their website to give users the experience that they actually want. As Google continues to develop its search algorithms, user experience is becoming more and more important. Google is penalizing companies that don’t provide customers with the experience that they want. Thus, it’s key that businesses make their websites as friendly as they can. If they do, they’ll improve their ranking, and that, in turn, will boost their traffic.
They’re Authentic In How They Communicate
Millennials don’t like the pushy advertising of yesteryear. It’s all a bit too manipulative. If you want something you want it; if you don’t, you don’t. You don’t need salesperson sleaze to teach you otherwise. This means that top startups have adopted a very different culture. They’re way more conversational than startups in the past. And they get what it means to act with authenticity when interacting with their customers. In fact, at top startups, this type of authenticity permeates the culture. Even when speaking among themselves, they adopt a conversational tone. It’s non-hierarchical to the extreme.
The rest of us can learn a thing or two from this. No, we don’t need to hire a bunch of millennials to our businesses. But we should maybe think about how we discuss our products. Do we need marketing videos? Or would a frank discussion suffice?
They Have A “Raison d’etre”
Startups need to have some kind of purpose that’s propelling them towards the future. That purpose can be anything really. It can be the fact that the founder thought that they could do a better job than the incumbents in the industry. Or it could be the fact that the business grew from nothing into a local phenomenon. Whatever it is, there’s some higher calling for the existence of the firm. The cool thing about these stories is that they help to develop customer empathy towards your brand. Customers quickly latch on to interesting tidbits about how companies got going. It’s fascinating when a company goes from two people in a bedroom to multi-million dollar enterprise. And it acts as a form of inspiration, as well as confirmation that the people behind it must be fairly smart. Brands with purpose tend to be the best at making meaningful changes to the lives of their users.