Scenius is a term I heard for the first time last year. It’s like genius, but applies to the group, scene or culture that supports a talented individual (or group) to become even more effective.
It was renowned music producer Brian Eno that I first heard coin the phrase “scenius”. We are taught about the great individuals who seem to appear from nowhere and start revolutions in their fields; Picasso in art, The Beatles in music, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in technology, Ikea in flat-pack furniture and of course, Peppa Pig.
The reality is that behind each personality or brand there is an eco-system that provides the environment for the individual to blossom.
The scenes from which each of the above examples was able flourish involved many people and many factors - investors, artists, curators, thinkers, designers, fashions, trends and economic factors that nurtured the talent and brought ideas to an audience.
The Beatles are arguably the most influential band of the 20th century, but started out doing very similar things to hundreds of other bands at the time. They were the product of a thriving Liverpool music scene with hundreds of musicians, promoters, record store owners and music fans passing through the city every week. Record store owner Brian Epstein took a chance and helped market them to middle class America. They were boosted by the production genius of George Martin who helped their sound to evolve from songs about relationships and lost love, to the existential opus Tomorrow Never Knows (Lennon told Martin he wanted it to sound like the Dalai Lama shouting from the highest mountain top). And then there was the various narcotics, the inspiration from the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys. They took their unique haircuts from Paris fashion via long stints playing in Hamburg.
It wasn’t just a story of four boys who were good at music, they were propelled by the cultural and economic factors surrounding them.
Now to tie it back to the digital agency...
To be a truly effective digital marketing department, you need to be powered by design and technology.
A few years ago we thought a digital strategy could just focus on social media. We then realised that you couldn’t really just do social because search engine marketing was an even more effective way of driving sales. Email remains a great channel for customer engagement through personalisation and frequency. We also now know that content marketing is one of the most effective ways of nurturing leads and creating loyalty.
But, in 2016, to succeed in digital marketing you need to be aware of the big trends in personalisation and automation.
In order to harness these trends as a digital marketer, you need big input from teams of designers, developers and the latest technology.
Getting customers’ attention online and selling to them repeatedly requires scenius.
As content marketers we can create and deliver strategies to engage customers at various stages of a buying cycle. We can nurture them and communicate with them using words, images, video and sound on multiple devices. But to sell more and to improve conversion rates, this needs to be bolstered by technology and design. It requires input from experienced web designers, user testers, project managers and creative designers.
Designers use leading technology to create outstanding customer experiences that increase customer engagement, increase conversions and keep website visitors coming back for more.
A superior digital marketer goes beyond their knowledge of data, content, online advertising, email and SEO because they are powered by design and technology:
Create user groups for specific, personal communication
Automated email marketing based on previous interaction, interest, purchase history or demographic
Personalised web design based on history, referral or user group
Engages designers to create visual content that gets shared across social media
Automatically send an email based on a website action
Automate personal emails at various stages for events or offers
Create user profiles by interest, purchase or activity
Create a centralised database
Synchronise data with your CRM
Create dynamic content that converts
Data driven automation
Use data to inform social media strategy
Builds a single view of customers across all channels
Let’s say you have an ecommerce website and employ a digital agency to drive sales online.
The good agency will create a customer acquisition and retention strategy. It may involve a Google Adwords campaign. They’ll set up the campaign, it’ll be cost effective and they can track how many sales they got you. For those customers who visited but didn’t buy, they’ll remarket by showing them visuals of the products they browsed when they’re on social media or the Google network.
The superior agency does all of the above but uses expert designers to create multi-channel landing page variations to improve conversion rates. The superior agency automates email marketing at different stages of a user journey with a view to building as many user-groups (for segmented communication) as possible. The superior agency remarkets, but not just with products the visitor has already seen. It creates dynamic, unique content for the return visitor based on previous behaviour.
The good agency sells consistently. The superior agency sells consistently more for longer.
Interestingly, Eno describes Art as anything that you don’t have to do to stay alive. You have to eat, but you don’t have to watch Peppa Pig (that’s art). While you might argue that a job is something you have to do - how you do it is quite a different matter. To be able to offer a client a creative vision, there needs to be an economic value, but often the two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Creativity can help to sell things and invigorate everyone involved along the way. But when creativity is underpinned by data, technology and delivery, it becomes even more powerful.