DREAMS…

The most difficult age for any man is probably between 24-29yrs, the pressure to become something, to become someone is so immerse. When you look around you, everyone seems to be doing something for themselves; people seem to be living a life you only dream of. You have applied for jobs and the results have been more disappointing than Besigye`s shot at presidency.
Sadly this is the age when most guys lose it, the age when if not careful, one is consumed by alcohol or drugs because the disappointments become too much and you find alternative ways to face reality. Worse is when few people you studied with have been lucky enough to land jobs, soon your circle of friends grows thinner. Mostly they even cut you out but you are real with yourself and out yourself out. I mean what you will do when you are in a WhatsApp group of friends discussing last week`s trip to Zanzibar and planning another road trip to Kigali while you are not sure of what your next meal would be? Most times you`d follow the conversation silently, all alone like a cross on a grave. Soon you realize this is no longer your kind of crowd because the more you stick around the more the pressure to be something takes a toll. You know when stories about house parties come up and you act deaf because you don’t know where an extra 5 guys would fit in your flat.
Have you ever satin a group of people discussing the new iPhone on the market or how British Airways offers shitty services…and you can feel your heart whisper to you “bro this is chest pain hour, can we just go and find a group that talks about boda boda”, but you sit there as these people get lost in their lifestyle conversations, you are like a secretary taking minutes in a meeting. Once in a while, one of the friends will turn and ask if you need another drink and you wonder if you should just say No and head home but head home to what?? So you grudgingly drop in the “I will have just one last one” lie.
After a few years of job hunting, you are now ready to take anything even if is worthless as long as it pays, so you end up as an office messenger in one blue chip company in town. To imagine that 3 years of studying and getting a degree is now reduced to picking and dropping off letters and if you are not doing that, you are being sent for cheap lunch by the employees when they are broke and cant order with hello food. This is when conversations about where people studied surface, you go silent, it’s no longer of any use to say you also reached University.
Once in a while you will bump into your now well off classmates they would offer you lunch but not even eating the meals at Msasani City Mall will make you feel better about yourself. In your mind you wish instead they would give you the 30k and you sort your meals for the next couple of days. As usual, you will have photos taken and uploaded on Instagram, but always it’s your face that that would look odd one out. Not even the best filters can hide a face which has borne the city dust and survives on boiled beans.
The worst mistake you can do during this period is to try dating. There’s nothing that a person going through such times can offer in terms of today’s idea of love. How are you going to do evening romantic walks when you are tired from walking, delivering letters in offices around town? What will you tell your lady when she says she wants to go for NOIR or Nyama Choma Festival? That your financial religion doesn’t allow it?
This is the age when you sit back and watch the ladies you would want to date, dating or getting married to guys 10years older than you and you can’t blame them. It’s only that your life seems to be progressing slower than their goals in life. Some of the ladies you meet during this period, if you are lucky will be patient with you till you hit 28 and if by then your life is still in disarray then my friend be prepared for a walk out.
This is the age when you learn a lot about life, if you can hack through this stage, your only hardship would be losing your parents. This stage teaches you a lot about perseverance, about appreciating the small wins you have each day. It teaches you something about friendship, love, career growth and personal responsibility. This is always your rise or fall moment depending on the choices you make.
How you live your life in the 30s is determined by how you would have handled your life in this phase. I’m not going to be long in my 20s but I won’t wait until this phase reaches me before I start doing something about it.
That’s why I always, Are you working on your dreams today?

2016 The Year Digital Entered Adulthood

2016 is going to be an important year.  It’s going to be the last year that the last of the mass media channels draws more dollars than digital media.  With TV likely to be surpassed by digital next year.  It’s the last year the CTO will outspend the CMO on digital technology.  It’s the year mobile continues to surpass desktop usage, and we move from a mobile first to needing to think mobile only in some cases. It’s the year that digital media buying becomes the way you buy traditional media through programmatic auctions. 2016 is the year that digital marketing IS marketing.

Pepsi’s Brad Jackman said:

Digital marketing is the “most ridiculous term I’ve ever heard…There is no such thing as digital marketing. There is marketing — most of which happens to be digital. We ‘ghettoize’ digital as though it’s the life raft tethered to the big ocean liner. And we have to move on from that.”

What does all this mean when you live in a digital first, digital majority world for marketing?  It means Digital Darwinism will play out much more rapidly now.  Companies and marketers that are traditional in approach, that think of a linear customer funnel.  A funnel that begins with acquire and ends with conversion and loyally have already lost.  While it’s an easy way to think of your customers flow, the rise of the customer journey replaces the funnel.  It becomes moments of inflection, and fluid movement up and down the funnel, across channels, devices and screens.

Experiences vs. Funnels

The concept of a customer funnel has been around for ages.  A digital world enables you to see the transient behavior of your customers.  They don’t move in a simple straight line forever towards a single goal.  Instead customer funnels can segment and identify customer intent.  Messaging needs to adjust faster and a focus becomes on interpreting intent, instead of driving call to action.

Marketers focused on acquisition, need to think about retention. Marketers focused on loyalty need to think about lead nurturing.  No single marketer owns a buyer, instead marketers need to think about how technology enables the shift of content relevant to that consumers needs. Marketing moves from campaigns to programs and experience tracks. Digital enables the opportunity to capture customers faster, and more targeted than ever before.  Moving from casting wide nets, to programs that are always on and ready pick-up customers at time of need.  Mass media which was wide reaching and focused on funnel, as changed marketers to be more targeted and focused on conversion and task completion.

Loyalty Isn’t a Program

Relationships need to be thought of from anonymous through to known entities.  Active participation in loyalty programs is declining which means points programs need to evolve to become more sophisticate. Loyalty becomes about experience and not rewards. Digital tracking enables marketers to get similar if not richer insights than traditional loyalty programs provided in terms of buying habits and product interests.  35% of Amazon purchases occur due to their recommendation engine.  A result of understanding customer behavior.  You’ll know you have a great loyalty program when customers are willing to pay for it such as Amazon Prime.

Digital Unites the C-Kingdoms

The shift to marketing spending more on technology isn’t a reflection on the value of one C-level over another, instead it speaks to the need for collaboration.  Marketing focuses on the need to become more intimate, more responsive and more relevant for the customer, while the CTO focuses on enabling these needs.  The CIO becomes the the neural synapse the allows the CMO to make decisions faster and smarter.  Digital as a whole becomes a unify factor for the C-suite, creating a deeper need for collaboration and alignment of vision.

Digital Exits Childhood

Growing up can be hard.  There’s no more crutch to lean on. Digital marketing needs to become more responsible, more accountable, and most importantly not lose the drive for innovation.  There’s no more screaming for attention, instead digital needs to lead with strategic purpose, and intent.  All marketers are digital.  Data powers great marketing, relevancy and purpose are the keys to the consumers heart to win loyalty. Competition accelerates and either hardens you or exposes your soft underbelly, as digital enables ways to learn more about your competition, about their customers, and to monitor and adapt to your industry trends, customer behaviors, and seasonality changes.

More so this means elements of digital are becoming truly commoditiezed at the most basic levels, but evolving very quickly in others areas.  SEO and media buying as examples hold little value if they don’t consider the message, the landing page experience, customer’s needs and more. Channels that were used to connect with customers need to be more connected than ever. Now underpinned by great creative, and data profiles that get richer by each customer contact.  Media buying as a whole is a commodity, but re-targeting, data and segmentation breaths new life into a tired channel.

Digital natives become the new norm (Facebook, Google, Uber, Airbnb, Amazon) lead industries, lead change, and at the same time are re-writing our laws, redefining our society, and rethinking how we as people connect, learn, but, and interact.  The biggest trend of 2016 is the exit of the teenage years, and into the adult years.