Tuesday, May 7, 2013

As a CEO Concerned with Technology and Social Media, Focus on Interactions with Consumers

As a CEO or an executive engaging in how a company converses with its consumers, it is important to monitor how emerging technologies can help improve customer interactions and relationships. As a graduating senior from the Medill School of Journalism and IMC program at Northwestern University, I have found two articles that provide key insights and action steps on how companies can better engage with their customers with the world’s latest, and most popular, technology. With e-commerce transforming the way consumers purchase, and sites such as Twitter influencing how consumers view businesses, it is essential that companies take note on these two emerging trends and know how to successfully utilize them.

The first article was released by Market Watch via PR Newswire stating the latest trends in global B2C e-commerce trends, which shows in the coming years consumers will expect a more personalized experience, ideally through mobile phones. For any company looking to expand their e-commerce business, operations through a mobile phone, customized to the buyer experience, will be necessary. The article highlights the following points: m-commerce (mobile commerce) is expected to play a larger role by 2016; worldwide B2C e-commerce growth will increase mostly in Asia-Pacific regions, which is expected to account for more than a third of global B2C e-commerce revenues, but the USA is projected to remain the largest B2C e-commerce market worldwide in 2013.

The second article, written by Paul Chaney, was distributed by Practical ecommerce, revealing the top 25 ways for e-commerce companies, or really any company, to successfully use Twitter to connect with customers, build relationships and “influence conversations to meet business objectives.” The article touches on Twitter basics, such as ensuring businesses have a recognizable Twitter username, but in my opinion the best tips included a cohesive, brand relevant profile; engaging effectively with the Twitter world in that you know what consumers are saying about the market, your competition and your company; and finally, make sure Twitter is used to strategically interact with consumers.

After analyzing these two articles, I recommend these three actions are implemented to better discover the potential of these two emerging technology trends:
  • Remain current: Stay up to date with what your company's consumers are doing. It is imperative that companies recognize and adjust their brands to fit in these emerging, and long-lasting, trends consumers are actively engaging in.
  • Be accessible: Make sure your company can appease any and all types of consumers by becoming accessible across platforms, because as shown by e- and m-commerce it is obvious consumers like and want control, as well as various options to receive what they are looking for.
  • Match Tech to Business Objectives: Once business objectives have been developed, select the technologies that will best serve as a strategy to meet them.
In summary, ensure your company not only engages with its consumers, but follows their lead. Dive into the technologies they are not only using but the technologies they find important, easily accessible and necessary in some way for daily life. By paying attention to one's consumers and merging what is technologically important to the customer to what is technologically important to the company, there is now a possibility for great success.

Aja Edwards is a graduating senior at Northwestern University with a major in journalism, minor in religious studies and a certificate in integrated marketing communications. For questions or comments, she can be reached via Twitter at @aedwards19.

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