High Tech, High Touch: Finally Here
By Joe Maglitta
In 1982, “Megatrends” author John Naisbitt famously foresaw a near future featuring far-flung technology and more intense human interaction. He dubbed this apparent paradox “high tech, high touch.” The phrase caught on quickly; reality took a bit longer. But guess what, technology and marketing mavens? The future has arrived, though not exactly as imagined.
The most important (and challenging) part of “high tech,” it turns out, is not in the hardware but in handing oceans of data generated by billions of users. “High touch” in today’s world refers to the two-way dialog between organizations and individuals, often through social media. The challenge is to create and show high value for all involved, preferably at low cost.
That’s one of the key findings of a massive new global survey of chief marketing officers (CMOs) conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value. Researchers interviewed 1,734 CMOs in 64 countries and 19 industries to find out how they are coping with today’s “megatends.”
Here’s the big takeaway: “CMOs in the most successful enterprises are focusing on relationships, not just transactions. They are using data to stimulate interest in their organizations’ offerings and form bonds with customers to a much greater extent than their peers in less successful enterprises.”
Most CMOs agreed: their organizations needed to do a better job creating better relationships with newly empowered customers and demonstrating ongoing, quantifiable value. The 40-plus page report offers several cases and suggestions for action. Among them: Get to know individuals as well as markets and understand and leverage data analytics.
To this I would also underscore the obvious need for much closer partnership between marketing and IT. It’s been talked about for a few years. The landmark IBM study, 750 million active Facebook users, nearly half a billion YouTube users make clear: If enterprises don’t break down the silos between these and other groups, the “data ocean” could slowly drown laggard organizations.