I spotted this article the other day as it used the word "phygital" which is a merger of the words physical and digital. For me, it kind of sums up the situation.
We have been in lock down for three months and gradually things are opening up. Things will never go back to the way they were before lock down but there has to be some start of "normality".
On July the 4th, independence day in the US, here in the UK, pubs and restaurants were able to open.
My partner and I went to one of the restaurants and had a socially distanced sandwich. You had to sanitize your hands before going in, there was a limited menu and the tables where 2 metres apart. All meeting both World Health Organisation, UK Government and scientific advice, I should point out.
I mentioned this in a meeting on the Monday and one comments made to me was "you will be dead in two weeks". It just proves the shock people are still in following lock-down. While this impacts people's home life, it also impacts business.
We Live in an Online World
There are so many ways of life that we were told could never be online and they have shifted ..... online.
Church, Scouts, Piano lessons, Doctor appointments, Choir practice, tap dancing lessons, even my mother (82) wine club, we were told that these could never go online. They are all online and we are used to it working that way. It looks that Universities are shifting online.
Even managers and companies that have insisted that people "are in the office" had to concede that people can work from home.
People have got used to ordering online, from Amazon or food delivery services.
The fact that somebody said to me "you will be dead in two weeks" shows the strength of feeling that people still have for not going out.
The world has become digital.
The New Normal is Digital
So when Stéphanie Genin, vice president of global enterprise marketing at social media management firm Hootsuite said this, I wasn't surprised, are you?
“After weeks of adapting to Zoom parties, video appointments with doctors, online schooling, social distancing and tapping into social media for virtually everything, will people be happy to go back to their old ways of working and engaging with each other?”
she then goes on to ask.
“The answer will be no. Social media has been holding communities together and organisations will need to assess how to manage the new normal.”
What Will We Do With These New Digital Skills?
It's not just one or two of us that are used to buying from the internet, it's all of us. It's not just one or two of us that are used to Zoom meetings, we live our work and play on zoom or Team.
This has driven us to have "phygital" skills, these new, let's call them business to consumer (B2C) skills we now take to work.
We are Comfortable With being Online and So Are Your Buyers
This has a massive impact for social media in the way it's used by all of us. In the past social media was seen as a tactic. You posted something on social, nothing happened, which just proved it didn't work.
My advice is that you should check out Simon Kemp's - Digital 2020 - Global Snapshot in he says
"The world has changed dramatically over the first three months of 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting almost every aspect of our lives. These changes have been clearly evident in the world’s digital behaviours too, especially as billions of people turn to connected devices to help them cope with life and work under lockdown."
He goes on to say.
"The latest data show that the number of internet users and social media users around the world have both increased by more than 300 million over the past twelve months, despite delays in reporting in some key countries due to the coronavirus outbreak.
DataReportal analysis indicates that 4.57 billion people now use the internet, an increase of more than 7 percent since this time last year. Social media users are growing even faster, up by more than 8 percent since April 2019 to reach 3.81 billion today."
These figures are pre-covid19.
To give you some idea of the shift to digital in the last few months, TikTok was installed more than 87 million times in June. I totally get that TikTok isn't seen as a business social platform, but the point is that people have moved to social, they get used to it in their personal lives and bring that B2C expectation to their B2B work life.
The Big Selling Reset
The “problem” that companies have today is that they position their company as “buy my products because they are great”.
This is fundamentally flawed because everybody, including their competitors, say exactly the same.
You are just a zebra in a herd of zebras.
As a buyer, I know nothing about what your company does so how do I make a choice when all products sound the same? You may say that your company is different or you don’t have competitors but I can show you companies that look and sound the same.
So when you say "buy my product because it's great" it is what everybody says and you are "just another product" and your salespeople are "just another salesperson" with the same generic message.
In a covid 19 world, where there has been economic shrinkage, the winners will be those that win the most deals. To win the most deals you need to understand the modern buyer in this "phygital" world and equip your sales people with the tools and techniques to enable them to sell to the modern buyer.
Why Buying Today is Just a Blur
Your buyer is just like me, we know nothing about your company and you look like everybody else and it all becomes a blur.
The second issue they have is that the world is online. As soon as you put your products in front of me, I go online and do a comparison.
This will comparison will involve Google searches, reading content on social, asking my network questions.
Anything a company does, advertising, cold calling, email marketing, brochures, will trigger the buyer to search for alternatives online.
Interrupt me with an advert and it triggers me to do a comparison. The problem is, that if you are not on social then you are not part of that comparison.
If I tell you the BMW 4 Series is the best car in the world, you will go online and give me a list of cars that are similar or even better. All without BMW or a salesperson knowing you have done it.
I spotted a product on a Facebook Ad the other day and look the product up on Amazon and it was cheaper. So what did I do? Buy it on Amazon of course. Here was a marketing team, spending marketing dollars for me to buy from the competition. Why would you do that?
The Companies That Win in this Pandemic
The companies that will win in this pandemic are those that realise they need to cut the corporate rubbish and build relationships and have conversations.
Know me, like me, trust me.
When we go to social media to get content, we don't look at a company social media page, we look at the employees social media pages. I read an article not because a company has posted it .... we avoid this material because it will say "buy my stuff because it's great". We know it will be biased.
Where as, if we read content from our network, the people we know, like and trust .... then this is the stuff we are interested in.
A read a person's post because I like that person.
People buy from people they know and trust.
How People Buy - Case Study
Last November, a BMW dealer in the UK had 28 pieces of inbound to buy a BMW car, they converted 14 of those into sales.
14 sales x 50,000 Euro = 700,000 Euros additional revenue for zero marketing spend.
This was the same month that their competitor, Jaguar Land Rover complained they were not selling cars and were therefore stopping production.
But There is More - Another Business Case Maybe?
In this interview with Danielle Guzman who is Global Head of Social Media for Mercer and we discuss "5 Things to Kick Start Your Employee Advocacy Program" and she shares the value they have gained from empowering their employees with social media.
Mercer are getting 3 to 4 times the attributed revenue than the brand generates. Can you believe that? If the brand is creating $10 million, then empowering your team on social will generate $40 million.
There could be a business case there, ny suggestion is that you use an outside company to help you. Hint, hint. ;)
There Are Clear Winners and Losers in This Digital World
There are clear winners and losers starting to happen in the social space.
What you need to do right now ...
Your business needs to get digital skilled. You need to train your sales team in a methodology that will enable them to prospect where your clients are .... on social media. They need to have the skills to build relationships in a world where there are no face-to-face meetings.
They need to be able to accelerate their pipeline and close business through social.
Because this is where your prospects are right now and if you are not on social, then you are invisible.
If you are ready to give your team the digital skills they need then contact me here.
The digital-physical mishmash has already been established in education—schools holding online classes, for instance—and in the delivery of entertainment to home by Netflix, Amazon Prime. But, in the near future, its impact will overwhelm all aspects of our lives such as banking, medicine, trade, shopping, dining and even sports as gregarious humanity come to terms with the shadow of social distancing in a post-COVID world. While the human loss globally is a matter of grim tragedy, the venture capitalist and the startup worlds can already see big shifts in our daily existence. The world will become more digital. The way businesses run and human beings interface will be light touch and contact-free. There will be less business travel, physical meetings and conferences. The impact of this will be felt the most on travel, tourism and hospitality industry.