This morning I had the great pleasure of attending the Small Business Summit Greater Western Sydney. One highlight was the presentation by futurist Craig Rispin. Not only do I now know what iBeacons and Leap Motion Controllers are, I was blown away by the clever marketing video he played, demonstrating how the latest mobile technology can be used by business.
The Meat Pack Shoes Hijack was a 2012 marketing campaign in Guatemala. The trendy shoe store ‘hijacked’ 600 potential sales from nearby competitor stores in just one week. How? When Meat Pack customers walked into a competitor’s store in the vicinity, the Meat Pack app picked up their presence and triggered a special mobile promotion – the promotion offered a discount of 100%, declining 1% for every second it took them to reach the nearby Meat Pack store. You can guess what happened, but it’s much more fun to watch!
Business and mobile marketing
Craig encouraged small business owners in the Summit audience to become more familiar with mobile technology, commenting that he’d concluded that most of us use it for little more than looking at Facebook and playing Angry Birds. After this morning I’m almost ashamed to admit I don’t even make that much use of it – it lurks at the bottom of my handbag, mostly on silent, and I rarely give out the number because I dislike the distraction, and the demand for instant attention. I think it might be time I gave in just a little more to advancing technology. Perhaps just during business hours.
Technology taking us forwards, and backwards
Craig spoke about where technology is taking us, and the effect it’s having on a social level. A quick poll of the audience revealed people had between 4 and 20 mobile devices per household – it appeared to average about 4 per person in the household. We’re all very well connected with technology – but we’re becoming less connected personally. Where once family members would have had our full attention at home at the end of the day, now kids and parents alike are distracted by their mobile devices.
Personalised service is far from dead
Interestingly, Craig suggested that it’s the increasing lack of personal connection that may well allow businesses that provide a very personal experience for their clients to thrive in a world where an increasing amount of business will be conducted online with little, if any, personal interaction. As our lives become more technology driven and we become increasingly distracted, our craving for personal interaction – for someone to put down their device and pay us some personal attention – could well increase.
Naomi Simson & Red Balloon
This may well be why Naomi Simson’s Red Balloon business, based on personal experiences, has flourished. As second keynote speaker at the Summit, Naomi talked about the importance of the customer experience and building intimacy in an online world. She said it’s particularly important to know how your customers feel after engaging with your business – quite simply, if they feel great they’re likely to spread the word.
The lesson for small business owners
Perhaps the overarching lesson for small business owners was this: make modern technology work for your business but don’t forget that in a world where technology is de-personalising service, making personal connections and leaving clients feeling a little more human could be the stand out factor that makes your business thrive.