Being close to the customer is essentiel for brands from a marketing standpoint. The closer the biggest presence in the customer’s life, the more obvious the brand is when it comes to make a purchase, the more the brand is a reflex, the more opportunities to interact and strengthen the relationship.
This race for closeness has always existed and we can draw a parallel with the evolution of the media. At the beginning the brand was on billboards. Then it got closer by being in the press. It stepped into the customer home with radio and tv. It took a place in the office and digital leisure with interned. It became present anytime anywhere with mobile. Today, the goal of a brand is to have as much value added interactions as possible to be in the short list of those we’ll grant our attention in the course of the day.
Virtual closeness is more powerful than physical one for brands
That’s the same on the distribution side. In an ideal world, the customer should not have to go to the brand, the brand should be in the customer’s home. That’s not easy in a physical world except if the brand is ready to open a store at every street corner. It’s possible if you’re Starbucks but not realistic for most of brands. On the other hand ecommerce and mcommerce brought the the point of sale as close to the customer as possible.
The closer one is to the customer from a physical standpoint the more chances to get in touch with him and sell him something. That’s obvious but it’s worth stating it. Digital allowed to get rid of physical barriers to move the race for closeness on a new field where there’s nearly no limit to what’s possible.
Amazon even mixed the physical and digital playgrounds with the Dash button.
Business digitization also brought the race for closeness to the value chain. In the physical commerce there’s a moment when you can’t get closer to the customer or at an insane cost. There’s no or very little room between the retailer and the customer. Digital changed the game. There are lots of discussions about uberization and disintermediation while most of times it’s nothing but a reintermediation. With digital there’s always enough room for a smart player to take a seat between you and your customer, capture a part of your margin or make some additional business in addition to yours while relying on your marketing.
The space between the enterprise and the customer has never been as large as in the digital era
In the digital era, the customer is like the horizon : we seen nothing between him and us but as we walk towards him he seems to move away. And one day someone builds a building in between and there’s nothing to see anymore.
We can read everywhere than digital brought brands close to the customer as never before, to such an extent that it’s going to be difficult to go further so the game is turning into a race for attention. It’s a weapon of choice but that’s only one side of digital.
On the other hand, on the business side, digital made the space between the brand and the customer infinite, leaving the door open to an infinite possibilities of disruption that did not exist before and are real threats to one’s business.
Digital is really a world of paradox.