What do you get when you add together big data, people, and IBM Smarter Commerce? Yes, it's true. You get passion.
The past week I have been trying to narrow it down to one single word to describe my experience at the IBM Smarter Commerce 2013 event in Nashville, Tennessee.
The conference was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. IBM did an amazing job at combining great business with great fun. Amazing tracks, conversations and the event was even capped off with a fantastic concert at the the Grand Ole Opry House featuring Foreigner, Gin Blossoms and Uncle Kracker.
When I think of the event some of the first words that came to mind were...
When I look at these words combined with the overall experience of the event, the word that keeps coming top of mind is "passion."
Why passion? Why not big data, ecommerce, measurement or analytics?
At the core of data, commerce, business, technology, learning, and communication is people. At the core of people are desires, needs, and wants.
At the core of commerce is action. At the core of action is passion. That passion fuels people with desire to learn, grow and achieve. They want to go somewhere better than they are today. They want to take their business in new directions, into new markets.
Smart brands want to better satisfy their customers, earn the support of passionate brand evangelists willing to share their great experiences from a mountain top!
People sitting on their hands, waiting for the world to be delivered to them don't take action.
The IBM Smarter Commerce event was jam packed with passionate, smart people. People with passion for learning, commerce, technology, relationships, sharing, giving. It was packed with people exuding passion to teach, share their best stuff and help others achieve their business goals and objectives.
I love the feature image on this post from Craig Hayman's keynote presentation about maximizing the moment! The girl in the photo screams passion. She was simply happy to see one of her favorite beverages on a store shelf.
We must inspire our audiences.
Today, it is a requirement, not an option for brands to inspire their audience to action. We must ignite their passion, fuel it, light a fire on it so bright and warm they can't help but organically be attracted to build our brand.
To say business is only one thing such as big data, commerce, cross-channel marketing, marketing centers, social listening, conversions funnels, content marketing, influencers or other would be foolish. Social business success requires all of these things and so much more.
Today's business requires agility, integration, communication at all levels. Today's customer requires education, information at their fingertips when and where they want it. They want you to know them, care about them and help them get what they want before they know they want it.
This is exactly what IBM's Watson is doing. It's taking customer service to an entirely new level. We hosted Steve Gold, VP IBM Watson solutions on #GetRealChat Twitter chat live from the IBM Smarter Commerce event. You can see the transcript here -> IBM Watson Taking Smarter Commerce and Customer Service to the next level.
Are you fueling your customers with passion?
If brands want their customer to take action they must be as passionate about their customers as they are about themselves, if not more! Think about it. Many brands spend millions of dollars in R&D to tweak conversion funnels, innovate new technology, analyze the data, and more. Yet at the core they are no longer passionate about what they are doing let alone being passionate about the actual customer spending money on their products and services. Unfortunately for these brands they become more focused on a conversion than WHO is making that conversion.
Trust me, I am a big believer in data and our agency, Marketing Nutz, helps brands big and small build and optimize conversion funnels that deliver serious results. However, we can never get too hung up on the bits, bytes and numbers that we lose passion for why we're all doing it in the first place.
This was at the core of both this most recent IBM Smarter Commerce event in Nashville as well as the prior event we supported last fall in Orlando, Florida.
Passion was exuded in the social command center, IBM Super Women's panel lunch where I spoke as a panelist with Porter Gale, former VP Marketing of Virgin America, and facilitated by Maria Winans, VP IBM Industry Solutions Marketing. From tweet chats, show floor conversations, Jay Baer rockin' as host, invited VIP influencers, hashtags trending on Twitter, to rockin' with Foreigner at the Grand Ole Opry House, there was passion!
What are you doing to ignite your audience, customers, partners and community with passion? If you aren't igniting them, I guarantee your competition will!