Your past success (or stubbornness) is holding you back from realizing revenue in the digital age. This is the year that smart brands recognize new lead sources on a mass scale by leveraging small gaps of time and the intersection of payment and social technology. Yes, small gaps. Today’s success is measured by the degree of effectiveness you have with an extremely distracted and constantly logged-on audience. It might surprise you to know that more than half the waking day is spent on tech and media (Activate analysis). There are multiple screens, content and data constantly competing for the attention of consumers who are addicted and ready to interact!

But all of this attention is split up across a small number of apps, sites and channels (L2 Daily, June 30 2016). Despite inherent distraction, the brands that can deliver their message in seconds – rather than minutes – will rise to reap the financial rewards. Billion dollar businesses are being built by capturing less than a minute of an average user’s daily attention. Need proof? Vice has a 16 second average daily user engagement and is worth $2.5 B; BuzzFeed grabs 36 seconds on average and is worth $1.5 B; Shazam needs only 19 seconds to hit the $1.0 B mark (sources: CB Insights, ComScore,
Activate analysis).

Given this, your past success and methodology cannot govern your current thinking anymore. You used to have minutes of time to engage consumers on platforms that today no longer hold the same relevance they once did. Now, you only have seconds! Here are three ways to break out of your old patterns and leverage new methods:

1. Toss out ‘what you know that works’ You know that you and your organization need to change. In order to change, you must move spending from one category to another and relentlessly track everything. Getting serious about your digital reach means breaking up with a strategy that likely has yielded results for you in the past. This is a direct assault on conventional wisdom and past success. Brands formerly had to understand TV as a new form of media and then needed to define a new strategy that was unknown as TV gained momentum. Digital media is no different: a new medium requires new strategies. So, toss out what used to work and start fresh. Keep in mind that you are not alone in this pursuit. More than a third of CMOs say that digital marketing will account for 75% or more of their spending within the next five years but many won’t admit that they don’t know what that mix will look like. That’s because they shouldn’t know – it changes far too often (and actually should change month to month). In 2016, digital display ad spending eclipsed search ad spending in the US for the first time. Combined, the categories of video, sponsorships, rich media and ‘banners and other’ will account for the largest share of digital ad spending: 47.9%, worth $32.17 B according to e-marketers in the US market.

2. You are no longer in control If you are under the illusion that you still have control, you need a reality check. Command-and-control-the-messaging marketing cultures died with the advent of social media and a deep millennial-led desire for transparency and authenticity. Previously, this culture thrived for good reason: consistency and control used to be tied to success. Pick a story, test it, and stay with the plot. But, the breakthrough in digital always happens when the message is no longer about you. It seems so obvious – but this is one that challenges many successful marketers. Booze Allen has identified a few reasons why command and control is dying: organizations have become larger, more complex and fast-moving, and the world has moved from an era of physical capital to an era ruled by intellectual capital. Innovation is the new value-driver and it cannot be commanded from the top; rather, it comes from below. Therefore, listen to your customers and your staff – you are no longer in control.

3. Real-time is right now Once you get your first digital campaign figured out – you will need to try something new. Digital media and social strategies are evolving in real time – it’s a conversation. Once you get your footing, the ground will move. Your competitors may even try and replicate your strategy. What you said last week to great acclaim will no longer resonate, so keep in mind that agility is your new strategy marker. 60% of B2B marketers use web traffic to measure success instead of using sales lead quality or social media sharing (DemandMetric) – they are following the plot. Get ready – working in real time is working in the here and now.

Whether you want social media to inspire audience connections to get folks to buy or make a donation, or you want to educate potential visitors, start a revolution, or just raise awareness of your brand, digital’s time for commerce has come! The glue for brands is the convergence of payments and social networks. For instance, Facebook’s popular Messenger app is rumored to have payment functionality, which will be a free gateway for users to send money to each other using just debit card information. As well, Apple Pay, Square and PayPal continue to build steam and critical mass. How’s that for evolution – a new form of currency!

Smart brands are looking for the right intersection of new digital creative campaigns that leverage the technical backbones being created to win new minds and generate new streams of revenue. Small gaps mean big money. Are you paying proper attention?


Written by Eric Vardon, Founder and CEO of Arcane