NAMM MEMBERS POINTED TOWARD FUTURE
IN ONE OF NAMM’S popular break-fast sessions, author and business speaker Larry Bailin presented “Future-Proof Your Business”—which he irreverently re-titled “Decade of Hindsight: What You Need To Know To Thrive.” Claiming that most Americans are exposed to 1,000 marketing messages every day, Bailin opined that businesses’ ability to cut through the “noise” could mean the difference between failure and success.
Bailin examined numerous examples of the rapid social and technological change impacting the way we live, and the way we do business. Observing how shopping has changed, he cited Amazon Go, grocery shopping with “no lines and no check-out,” as well as Amazon’s first autonomous drone delivery of products in December 2016, and Casper Mattress, which is changing the way people purchase mattresses.
Coining the term “the great AI awakening,” he noted various ways in which artificial intelligence, natural language search, and 360-degree video content are already shaping customer behavior, and he advocated exploration of their use as sales tools. “It’s only a gimmick if you don’t use it to further your cause,” he said.
Insisting that it’s “too late to prepare for Millennials,” Bailin advised retailers and suppliers packing the NAMM Breakfast ballroom to prepare marketing strategies for Gen Z, individuals born between 1995 and 2009. “They have an eight-second attention span—like a goldfish,” he quipped. “Winning Gen Z’s attention requires creating engaging and immediately gratifying brand experiences.”
Marketers must know how to address the “micro-moments” when consumers decide “they want to: know, go, do, or buy,” he said. Gen Z also possesses “a highly-tuned filter for [extraneous information] and a highly-developed radar for being ‘sold.’” Authenticity is paramount, he added. Starting now, “your brand is no longer what you tell your customers; it’s what your customers tell their friends.”
Bailin stressed the need for retailers to keep abreast of the latest social network trends beyond Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to cutting-edge apps such as Musical.ly, a platform for creating, sharing, and discovering 15-second videos. In designing marketing strategies, he said, businesses should link their brand and marketing message to the brands, companies, personalities, and technologies that are trending.
While acknowledging that keeping up with, let alone adopting, new technologies is daunting, Bailin concluded, “There’s so much to pay attention to, but if you let [competitors exploit it and] nip at your heels, bit by bit, that’s when something bad is going to happen.”
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