Making complex solutions looks simple

javascript screenshot
Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

This piece is about the need at the moment in the digital area to be able to explain very complex and complicated topics in a simple way, that everyone can understand and use.

Now more than ever, with the fast development of technology and the increase of complex software/cloud solutions, it is becoming more and more difficult to understand what a product does or what is exactly its new function. If we think about an old Mobile-Phone, the only ability was to make/receive calls.

Afterwards it was made able to send SMS’s, play simple games and memorized telephone numbers. After a while came the possibility to send/receive emails and that for many was already somehow very complicated to manage. If we look at the Smartphones now there is nothing we can’t do anymore! From E-Mails, Games, Applications of all kind. But not only that: security passwords with finger scanning or eye/voice recognition, localisation, mobile payments and many other functions. Are all of this making our life simpler? Well depends. When we understand how these new functionalities work, of course. But everything can do that quickly? Not really.

How many of you spent hours to understand how to set the iPhone new mode connected to Cloud. And the synchronization? New Updates? Privacy settings in Social Media? New functionalities? Of course there are lot of people here who will say that was easy and actually took 5 minutes…Well I am sure there are also many who agrees with me that it didn’t take 5 Minutes and could have been much easier if was better explained.

That is the message of my post today. Makes things complicated, easy is not exactly an „easy“ job. But thankfully I can say I have a pretty experience there. Started with a father who was an very hard-core Programmer of all kind of machines and languages but it was not always yeas to understand him in normal life things 😊 Everything was always very much studied and needed to be understood in all details, but thanks to him I started to use a computer at age of 6. After my graduation in a scientific High School I decided to study computer sciences, although I was already very interested in Marketing and Business, I wanted to have a solid technical background to be able to understand the new technology and the digitalization happening around me. I am glad I did because I am now able to perform much faster in my Marketing Job knowing the graphic software very well.

Coming back to the topic, after having worked for more than 10 years with a lot of technical people, from Software to the Electronic industry, together with a group of wonderful marketing professionals, (who also helped me learn more and more about Marketing), I can say I know the challenges pretty good here.

„I don’t understand anything here. It’s just too technical“ – how many times have we heard this from Sales or Marketing? And if they don’t say it, believe me they think it. And it’s not about being lazy here, it’s really about prioritizing. Between all daily activities it is human to choose the ones who bring more benefit with less effort and something difficult to understand and very detailed is not less effort, is a huge effort.

I also think, if a technical mind is also able to sell, its name is probably Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. It is very hard to have in the same mindset the ability to concentrate and deep think about complex schemes and in the same time visualizing the idea of the result in a way that other people see the benefit and the advantages, without all the processes behind. Engineer or R&D developers are „their product, they know all details about it and are normally so deeply immersed in it, that they might not remember the final benefit for the end user, or better they know it but at some point it’s for them „assumed“.
Marketing and Sales in the other hand tend to be more visual and think about how I can picture this solution in a „nice“ looking way without going really deeply in details about the solution behind. Especially in Software solution it is very hard not to be too technical but still present the solution. We, Marketing, should try to focus on the final use and why a customer should buy it and take his/her time to understand it and learn it.

 

black and white blank challenge connect
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My advice? Tell and show ONLY what the target customer NEEDS to see, adapting it according to the target.

If you are trying to sell a function of remote controlling, there is not need to show the complexitiy of the Network and cabling/VPN’s or anything else that is behind. Only if the customer is the one who is going to install it ok, but still I would not show it in the „presentation pitch“. It is something to print and leave it. The same for the website, it is reccomended not in the homepage. Unless it is very clear what each piece does always with the customer eye-glasses.

Using very simple words. Not everyone knows what is an IP-Adress or the meaning of RAM or CPU. Yes, for the IT people it’s obvious, but in any decision process there will be more than IT involved. Please keep it very child-simple, to the extreme of using word like „memory“ or Database. It might not be 100% accurate but your customer understands it.

Google likes simplicity. Being found in Google is something that every company can’t avoid anymore, and how are the search made? With complex words or very difficult expressions? Even the most expert person in their business will start looking for a simple key-work in their Google search, think about it.

From simple – > complex is always possible, the other way around not. My advice? Start always from the very first and most intuitive benefit and effect of your programm/solution and from there start going more and more in details. Possibly if want to stay in the digital word, I would suggest a Home-Page without any technical word but only with the name of the company and the first and most important function of the solution, using less schemes and instead more and more visuals of benefits.

Mental associations. The ability here is to compel good product stories, appropriate analogies and memorable metaphors so that the end user immediately knows what the solutions does and wants to know more. Transferring the message that the time invested in getting to understand our product/solution is worth 100% and with this motivation in mind, the customer will be eager to understand and retain the information required to use it. The customer wants to know and capture at maximum within the least amount of time. In Marketing Material, this translates into a demand for the most useful information in the minimum amount time.

I have the luck to work in a place where not only I could learn all of this, but I also have the privilege to be involved in the launch process and I can influence it.

I will do my best to continue to learn and never stop to improve myself.

What is an emotional customer experience and Why brick-and-mortar retailers needs it

StoreOver the latest years we hear that brick-and-mortar retailers are going to suffer more and more from the on-line shopping and sooner or later they will be disappearing, completely substituted by the digital buying processes of Apps/ecommerce. But is ‘the retail apocalypse’ really happening? And if yes, how fast? To start we know that in-store shopping occurs for the 91% of the overall Retail spending and according to a 2017 State of Retail report surveying 2,000 consumers about their behaviors around retail shopping, 50% revealed they sometimes browse online then make their way to the store to finish their purchase.

The Time Trade Survey 2017 shows that If the item is not available both online and in a near-by store, 75% of the interviewed customers claimed they prefer to buy it in store. The best part of the buying in store is the touch and feel of products before buying them (72%) and the personal experience of having a store assistant to help (29%). The Store experience will never be substituted by a cold on-line purchase, this is clear. Sure, there are many customers who like the convenience of shopping online, but the immersive, experience-driven customer prefers to do some online shopping and then go into the store to complete his/her purchase.

That’s why the Retailers have to ensure that the Store actually provides that immersive experience that involves all four senses and leads the customers to want to go back there. Physical Stores need to enhance the emotional customer experience making the Customer Journey a Shopper’s Paradise, through the mix of 5 senses and the new technologies available in the market

With the correct mix of sense stimulation and the use of new technologies consumers will now experience the stores, not only buy there.

Smell: it is well known that when we’re hungry we buy more – well what is the best smell in the world that makes us immediately hungry? Bread – here you go the Bakery right on the right in the entry. And what about Apparel Retailers? Many spray vanilla or Lavanda scents parfumes to relax customers while Shopping.

Taste: this is the most difficult one to stimulate, unless in the store there is fresh food and you can offer free samples, otherwise it is difficult to somehow touch it. If possible offer soft drinks or coffee already helps, otherwise with scents reminding good and sweet food can also help.

Hearing: depending of the age of the target, music have to be appropriate but it is always necessary. Disco, Rap, Classic or pop music, any music is better than silence. Sounds help customers not to think about the time passing by in the store and concentrating about the products to buy. It has to be part of the experience overall.

Sight: This is the most obvious one – having products In open display to look at drives the impulse of buying immediately. The more free and open the better. Sometimes security and damage of products could be a problem if the merchandise is high risk or luxury type, but there is nothing worse then no product or fake products instead of real ones. Invest in Technology that let the Merchandise in open Display and make customers confortable in trying them out should be no brainer.

Touch: this is related to the previous sense of the sight, touching is equal important and making things accessible for customers to touch (except for fragile things) is imperative. When goods aren’t accessible, even as a sample, there’s an invisible buying barrier. Test and feel the products in your hands is a complete experience, rather then seeing a close box. Remember that consumers are not buying a thrill-machine, they’re buying the possibility to make holes in the walls and feel themselves proud of it.

Related to the previous two ones – availability of the goods plays a key role in the emotional consumer journey. If a out-of-stock of even a single product occurs there are major chances that a customer will not buy anything or even will never come back to the store. Real – time inventory has to be a priority for the omni-channel Retailers in 2018.

Make the Customer Journey a Shopper’s Paradise has to be the imperative of 2018 for Retailers.

Organizing a Global Trade Fair …and survive

GS__0381

EuroShop is over, finally, and I need to write something now before I get slammed by the numbers of new projects that I am starting already. Organizing and managiging an event has always been my dream, so I was glad I had to opportunity to test myself with it.
I was part of the Team (made of 4 People) who organized the EuroShop2017 trade fair participation of our Company Checkpoint Systems. We had a 100 sm booth in two Levels with Catering, product Demos, a Lounge and a whisper room. I was in Charge of the communication, visuals, booth layout and all Marketing activities related.

Continue reading “Organizing a Global Trade Fair …and survive”

Do we need Europe Job in Marketing?

Of course yes-but why? The most obvious answer is  because we are in Europe!

In reality the answer is more complex than that. Almost every country in Europe speaks a different language (even Switzerland and Germany speak two different Germans), and when it comes to spend money and time to produce content and materials Europe valid, it comes always the question. Is it worth?  What if then every country change them localizing them? Why don’t let each country do their own things?

When it comes to multinational company, there are of course guidelines and strategic inputs from Headquarters (whenever they are) and every local market should try to use them as similar to original as possible. Theory is: just translate and use them. But this is almost always not possible. As Europe is so fragmented and inside-different, every country tend to localize the message more than just translating it. The way communication acts in Germany is not the same in France/Italy for example. Visual is for France / Italy much more significat than it is in Germany. While in Germany and german speaking countries, wording is the absolutely stronger and most important part of a communication piece. Trying to combine visual and text in one message is not always so easy – therefore only a solid message that combines those aspects together is effective and emphatic everywhere (if you’re interested this is a good article presenting the case of a wrong message that doesn’t fit all).

 So, again, the question, why should every large Company have European coordinators if every Country acts and creates their own things?

  1. Europe Headquarters: for sure every company organize their own events and fairs. And even if a little modified, why not using the same materials for more than one local event? Here it comes the need of a European warehouse to stock all materials and stand accessories (roll-ups, furniture, visuals…). Someone would have to coordinate this place and deliver things where they have to. Organizing and rationalizing the resources ensure cost saving.
  2. Lots of customers are nowadays either worldwide or at least European. For example in the Retail world, 90% of the major retailers in Europe have stores in more than one country. This shows how crucial it is the need of sharing information outside their headquarters. Especially when it comes to products portfolio and pricing, company have the necessity to uniform and align.
  3. The Online-World eliminates borders. When we think of buying something online, we almost never know where it comes from and more often than we think, is not in the country where we place the order from. Thanks to the new online technologies, we are not longer “far way” from each other in Europe. So we not using this capability proactively? Creating activities and campaigns at Europe level enlarge our audience and our probability of success.
  4. Europe service are still not so easy to find. Agencies and companies able to follow and support customer across Europe are incredibly difficult to find. Millions of local agencies exist, but quite a few work out of their boards. And if they do, it is for sure not reaching the whole Europe. Serious agencies that are able to provide services such as marketing, communication, graphic, printing, self-training, education… that have resources and experience at Europe level are extremely hard to find. Experts that can overcome this empty space extremely important.
  5. Europe is the future. Moving across Germany, Italy, France and all other countries (and I mean also UK, even if they don’t like to hear it) is nowadays easier and easier. More and more people try new lives abroad, reinventing themselves a job or studying new languages. This is happening, liking or not. Considering this, as European experts, we can contribute exchanging our expertises and molding ourselves around new styles and cultures. I’ve already talked about this here.

 

 Of course who takes responsibility roles Europe-wide has to be aware that communication and adaptation is the key. The ability to communicate efficiency and openly within different group of people and organizations is a must (like I say here). We, as Europe Managers, have to overpass our “local” attitudes and be able to relate and collaborate with different styles and approaches, based on the culture we are working with. In the same time, we should use our own personal skills to improve and benefit others.

From the amazing Book – that everyone who works at international level should read.
When Cultures Collide: LEADING ACROSS CULTURES” –
– Richard D. Lewis

Listeing

Why would you like to hire an Italian in your office?

3b4febc59028de4dd2b2c759869e2884 

First: I hate stereotypes and prejudices and I find disrespectful to judge someone only based on the county/city/place he/she comes from.

Besides, I experience myself that being European is now more important than being “Italian” or “German” or any other nationality. As already said, we are getting more and more alike, with same habits, problems and experiences.

Nowadays the world, and Europe especially, is going towards uniformity and mix. Even languages tend to mix and level to the same one, which is of course English. So it is very no accurate to speak about nationalities differences.

Anyway, exactly for these reasons, what is still difference a country from the others, should be evaluated and taken care of, because it will soon disappear. It will come much sooner that we think that time when those differences will be really gone and it will be a pity. If we think about our grandmothers and fathers, how different they were from us and how much more deeper in the local culture they were than us. The trend was already visible by our parents, they started to look at the outside world, to meet other foreign habits, to eat new food, to travel, to want for us more internationality. Yet this process is completely established and I would even say we are in the new era of the everywhere is here and the life is in one merging world.

 

Considering all of this, and the continuous migrations of people all around Europe, I would highlight what still make us “Italians” different and why those local aspects could be beneficial outside Italy. And what best example than in company/business world? International companies hunt more and more in other countries for talents, especially now that English make much more jobs possible everywhere. And what does it mean for us “Italians”? How we should present ourselves when seeking for a job outside Italy? And why a company would want to hire us? Hey, I am not saying those things are all qualities and we’re very far from being perfect (:

 

Here why a company outside Italy would want to hire an “Italian”:

 

  • Normally we are in a good mood. Of course there are Italians who are angry or grumpy, but I would say the probability to find one that is not that high, especially if he/she left his country to look for a better like. Italians who decided (of needed) to move are even more in a positive attitude, because they needed to do it. We might not be the greatest English (or other language) speakers but surely we bring sunshine in the office. If you want a little fun in your business, also when stressed and problems occurs, you call us. Italian light the atmosphere.

 

  • As said, we are not so good in languages. But we do get there we want to be. Somehow, using hands, arms, smiles, face expressions, we make ourselves clear. Sometimes even too much, but as our culture is based on communication, we make sure people understand what we want to express. Nothing being “unsaid” or miss-understood with Italians. We put out everything on the table, with no filters. That is especially good in multicultural environment.

 

  • We are loyal. Italians care very much about relations and if a company trusted in us, we give it all. We wouldn’t let our company/bosses down, especially if they were the one made the expat possible. We would even renounce higher paid offers to not disappoint our companies. It might seem stupid (and sometimes it is) but surely it is beneficial for whomever hired us.

 

  • Italians are perfect mediators. Looking at our history, we are very used to have to deal with other cultures that from time to time wanted to invade and control us. Our special geography position made us very expert in dealing with strangers and mediate from what they wanted to establish and change. Also we have great skills to be in between strong forces and maintain a neutral position but always friendly. In position of leadership this quality is very much appreciated.

 

  • We don’t mind working long hours, but we do love breaks. Yes, Italians sometimes like to chat and waste a little time, especially in conversations drinking Espresso o Caffe Macchiato. That serves to create PR and improve relations within work peeps. But it is true also that Italians do not mind working long hours and finish late. Actually they don’t feel good leaving early the office. Of course it might be a problem to integrate this habit in a more serious and concentrated space.

 

  • Italy=creativity (+ Confusion!). The equation is correct, normally Italian are very creative people, not only taking about the pure artistic creativity, but also finding new ways of solving problems and thinking out of the Box. This lateral thinking is very useful in specifical branches and it is critical in problem solving, of course it goes along with the confusion. Sometimes schedules are not respected and Agenda are at last moment completely changed. This is surely a downside.

 

See we’re not only good in cooking Pizza and Pasta?
It wanted to be a fun post on how a little Italian taste can make your office/company happy. Of course completely taken from my own experience ((:

italian mode