On April Fool’s, I’ll have been with R2i three years. Companies I’ve helped in that time include Daxko, Fiat Chrysler, MarkLogic, Microsoft, MRI Software, Oracle, Splunk, Pentair, Plex, Parker Vision, Proofpoint, Synaptics, Thales, and VIPKid. That’s about half the list.
Two words: Artificial Intelligence.
I believe digital marketing will be increasingly shaped by machines that not only analyze and determine what we want based on gathered data but anticipate the data before it is gathered. Soon, technology will know what we want before we do based on past behaviors we’ve consciously forgotten or are even able to remember. This will have a profound impact on how we learn information, consume content, purchase products, and engage with others.
Marketers who understand this will have a great advantage in the next three, five, ten years. If you sometimes feel companies are “stalking” you, you haven’t seen anything yet. Personalization that aligns products and information to our current needs is extremely valuable. Personalization that aligns products and information to what we’re going to need before we perceive we need it will be extremely valuable and very creepy. Things are going to get very interesting.
Relax. Things will still work out without over-worrying about every aspect. You’re better and more in control than you think you are. Oh, and find a way to be taller.
My most satisfying project was being the catalyst for repositioning Fiat Chrysler’s in-car connectivity system, Uconnect, from a safety feature (that “keeps your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel!”) to a lifestyle enhancer.
In 2015, safety was the position adopted by every automotive company (16 competitors benchmarked) including Chrysler, for their dashboard technologies. Yet, none bothered to talk to customers who told me, “Don’t tell me how to drive. Safety’s secondary. Tell me how it makes my ride a seamless extension that doesn’t put my life on hold when I get in my car.”
This simple, powerful idea has resulted in nearly three years of strong work across every platform. Not only has this helped FCA engage customers, it’s incentivized competitors to shift to “warmer” communications of what was once treated as a “cold” technology feature. That’s been very satisfying.
There are a number of people I greatly admire (I live and work each day alongside many of them) but I can’t say I have a specific hero. For me, right now, my heroes are the rare individuals who stand up in the face of adversity for what they believe in, like Senator Tammy Duckworth recently did.
Every company’s brand is its single most valuable asset. Creating and evolving it shouldn’t be rushed and requires the right talent, tools, and thinking. Yet, it’s amazing how many C-level leaders refuse to give the time it needs or simply cede its development to subordinates. This is one of the most important investments you can make in the future of your business. Make the time to be involved and take the time to do it right. If your brain surgeon tells you they need six hours for an operation, would you say, “Sorry, I’m really busy, can you do it in three?”
In 1902, my great grand parents came west in a covered wagon across Texas with their six kids—and no maps or guides—to carve a new life in the wilds of the New Mexico Territory. I’m writing a novel about that harrowing journey, which included flashfloods, range fires, being struck by lightning, friendly and hostile Native Americans, disease, avalanches, snake bites, fires, blinding sand storms, being snowbound, starvation, death, and an incredible amount love and determination. It’s based on tales my grandfather told me and a 30-page autobiography my great grandmother wrote when she was 92. A raw and uniquely American pioneer story I try to get to when I’m not burned out touching a keyboard.
My other passion is my wife of thirty-five years who’s also my best friend. We’ve been together since we were fourteen and I haven’t regretted it a single day. What can I say? I got lucky early.
Its ability to create and deliver increasingly dynamic, personalized, and uniquely human experiences. Digital is a canvas on which beautiful things can be painted, one that’s getting “smarter” than the paint covering it.