One of the popular narratives about technology is its capacity for disruption. Airbnb hopes to change how we think about hotels. Uber wants to be the go-to taxi service. But technology is doing much more than creating competitors. Technology will perhaps be most influential in connecting customers with brands.
Every customer interaction with a brand is an opportunity to earn that customer’s attention, to tell a purposeful story, and to be remembered. Instead of crawling through an entire website, customers can find exactly the information they seek thanks to site design that responds to how the site was used in the past. Instead of presenting consumers with a wordy explanation of the true value of a product, a VR headset can offer virtual tours that describe the benefits in a more interactive way. The possibilities for technology to influence marketing are nearly infinite.
In fact, the sheer number of possibilities inspired me to know more about the current state of technology and where it might be going. Luckily, I had a chance to sit down with PadillaCRT’s new vice president of technology and innovation, Matt Fairchild, and ask a few questions about technology, how it has impacted his life and what brands should look out for.
Let’s start with an easy one: What’s the first piece of technology you remember loving?
The day I first got eyeglasses and played Virtual Fighter on my Sega Saturn, I fell in love with both technologies.
What led you to becoming vice president of technology and innovation?
How far back are we going? Well, the first computer I professionally built was from leftover parts at a manufacturer I worked for. It was the first computer at the company that didn’t have a CAD program on it and made our everyday work better.
I knew technology could make my work life easier and could help provide better service to our customers. That’s how I’ve always approached work: “We can do this better. We can build what we need to if it doesn’t exist.” Figuring out how to be innovative while offering clients a wonderful brand experience for their customers is the goal. I’m happy PadillaCRT believes in this, too.
How do you think consumer technology is changing the B2B tech sphere?
Consumer technology is all over the B2B tech sphere. In fact, I’d go as far to say that smart phones and tablets have kind of destroyed any barrier between B2B and B2C. We are humans doing business with technology. The line of differentiation should be erased if you are embracing the world we live in.
What technology developments are you tracking most closely right now?
I’ve been paying very close attention to Customer Experience Management platforms like Sitecore and Adobe AEM. The ability to enable a brand to have a one-on-one conversation with their consumers is an amazing advancement in user centered business.
I’ve also recently finished reading the book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson. The Maker movement along with the idea of open source hardware and desktop manufacturing is revolutionary. It is enabling a whole new generation of entrepreneurs to address niche markets in a way that wasn’t previously possible.
When it comes to user experience, what tools are companies using most? Such as tracking/analytics, lead generation, automated marketing, ecommerce, LinkedIn sales, etc.
The tool companies are using most is Google Analytics. Unfortunately, most of them are using it to track traffic-related KPIs. It’s refreshing when I see people using it to research and improve on their user experience. It’s even more refreshing to see people realize that traffic-related KPIs are measuring the wrong thing, and that they need something to measure engagement analytics in order to nurture their users’ journey.
Has the speed of B2B technology adoption been increasing in recent years? If so, why do you think?
Absolutely! The mass availability and adoption of powerful consumer technology has blurred the lines of B2C and B2B technology, increasing the speed exponentially.
For B2B companies that have not yet invested in marketing technology, what would your advice be?
Wake up and smell the coffee.