The word “connect” has taken on a range of meanings in recent years. And how could it not, given all the contexts where it’s used?
“Connect with us on Facebook.”
“We should connect our software platforms.”
“We have to make that one-to-one connection with customers.”
So our team at Widen set out to investigate the buzzworthy topic of connectivity with our own research. We surveyed 200 marketing, creative, and IT professionals and conducted one-on-one interviews with 21 participants, asking what it means to be connected, what they want from a connected community, and what the future holds for a connected marketing world.
Here’s the key insight from our research: people connect to satisfy human needs, and collaboration and community are two key avenues that enable marketers to achieve this human satisfaction. Our digital tools are merely the connective conduits that make interaction possible.
The connectivity results
Our infographic below breaks down our big research findings, but if you'd like to dive deeper, download the full report about the state of connectivity for marketers and creatives.
We noticed similar findings shared in Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report from October 2016. In this report, they focus on the common factors that unite today’s connected customer. Like, customers want to be recognized as people with personal preferences even though they’re on a mailing list, millennials’ lives are ruled by constant connectivity, and personal relationships still drive consumer brand loyalty.
Why does this matter to marketing teams?
In terms of marketing, connectivity has many contexts. It’s about engagement, data, personalization, technology, and the integrations of technologies to make it easier and faster for us to work and connect with our audiences.
And it’s common knowledge that marketing content needs a connective spark. Great stories, photos, and videos speak to a human experience. But how can we expect that content to emerge from teams that feel disconnected? Meaningful social and emotional relationships are the secret to making people smarter, happier, more productive, and more expressive. Marketing teams must cultivate connectivity before they can share it with their audiences.
So what’s a marketer to do?
- Act on people’s desire to connect and be understood by delivering enjoyable, relatable experiences (in voice, message, content, and device).
- Put touch first and tech second. Experiences that neglect the human element risk alienating people at every touchpoint.
- Communities, both formal and informal, are important for collaborative learning and sharing of ideas. Try to facilitate the problems of your audience at community events, online, or in person, then turn the solutions to those problems into great content.
- Trust is the magic behind collaboration. Build trust among your people by working together towards something great and see faster consensus, greater productivity, and more functional teams.
- Structure your teams and processes to receive feedback and act on it. Allow great ideas to come from anywhere in the organization.
- Make use of the tools that truly help you move your business forward. Technology overload is real and can consume time better spent on creating valuable marketing content.
- Turn off our devices. Spend time alone. People need downtime to let their mind wander and inspire creativity – which can lead to more efficiency.
- Resist the temptation to measure marketing and sales data too often. Set goals for measurement and give enough time for your data to accumulate in a meaningful way for your teams.
While this sounds simple, it takes discipline. Connectivity is valuable, but we can’t assume that all digital tools will contribute to it. To summarize: The most digitized team isn’t necessarily the most connected. “Digital connectivity” can be an oxymoron. Meaningful, personal relationships are the best markers of connectivity.