Three Pixels of Separation – Marketing to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

It has become such a small world. Marketers can now talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Just a couple of decades ago I would find it a utopic thought to be connected/mutually followed by the owner & curator of TED (@TEDChris), or even be tweeting (DM) with a famous actress (@Alyssa_Milano or even more crazy, the former president of the united states; (@BarackObama) which means anyone, anywhere, anytime can get in touch with one another.

The ability to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime transformed the principle of six degrees of separation. Mitch Joel wrote a book called Six Pixels of Separation. The book describes how we no longer live in a world of six degrees of separation, but rather a world where we exist on six pixels of separation. 

This concept changes everything we know about doing business. The book offers a complete set of the latest tactics, insights, and tools that will empower you to reach a global audience and consumer base. 

Three Pixels Of Separation Is Where We Are At

Since the book was published in 2009, I feel we are now connected by only three pixels of separation. We are more than ever interlinked through many online platforms. A digital platform refers to the software or hardware of a site. For example, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Instagram, and Twitter are all digital platforms. 

The challenge is establishing and maintaining authentic relationships across this ever-expanding list.

Do authentic relationships even mean anything anymore?

Yes, more than ever! Marketers must navigate the never-ending list of platforms to meet the customer where they are to ensure the messages they put out are both genuine and in alignment with their brand. They need to do this while competing to showcase their products and services in an appealing light. It's not easy, but it's possible.

What are the challenges connected to building authentic digital relationships? 

One challenge is that marketers need to be experts in building trust as customers equate trust with brand loyalty and authenticity. Nielsen Research posted a study about trust in advertising. When asked what advertising sources they trust most, 83 percent of people say “someone I know,” and 66 percent say, “opinions posted online.” Catchy taglines and memorable jingles are a thing of the past. Marketers need to learn how to hone in and connect with customers in the digital world.

Another challenge is that even though we live in a highly digitized state, people sill form better relationships in the real world than in the virtual world. Marketers must get smart about building digital relationships that translate into real world experiences.

How can we be good digital citizens and connect to our customers authentically?

Get real. In 2009, Domino’s Pizza responded to a video uploaded to YouTube by two employees. The video filmed an in-store prank and reached over one million views before being taken down. Rather than a traditional press release apology, the company released a YouTube comeback where the President of the company owned up to their mistakes, apologized, and announced new hiring practices.  They also started a Twitter account to respond directly to complaints. 

This was a case where a company used digital channels to address a major crisis in a real way, and it paid off considerably.  

Be more than a sale The sales cycle no longer ends with a purchase. Take Amazon as an example. For millions around the world, Amazon is the trusted name in e-commerce, because they go beyond just sending you what you ordered. They easily offer replacements, refunds, and recommendations. Their marketing doesn’t ever stop after a transaction. 

Be online Good digital citizens will have an online presence all of the time. Employees will know the latest platforms, how the platform is being used, and who is using them. Whoever is in charge of online marketing needs to show respect for customers, regardless of who they are. They need to respectful, positive, and in the case of any negative correspondence, they cannot overreact. 

This employee should also take the time to find what other companies are doing online and update management accordingly. They need to analyze them properly and be savvy enough to reject what is "wrong" for your brand. It's important to explore the many opportunities in the digital world & embrace new technology. 

Do not spam You should never spam your customers, as it seems dishonorable and inauthentic. If you are posting content on social media platforms all day long, it isn’t considered promotion anymore – it’s called spamming. If you are posting content from morning to night on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, your customers will consider you a spammer and disregard your messages. 

Be empathetic Becoming a genuinely empathetic brand starts with talking to the people you hope to influence so that you can understand where you can have the biggest impact on their lives. Brands should develop content that evokes empathy because when they do, consumers are more likely to take action. They will share, respond, and even take part in change within their communities. 

When building empathy, some questions to ask your customers when are:

What do you struggle with the most? What are you most afraid of? How can we help you? 

According to YouTube stats, people are actively seeking out content that prompts a change in themselves and world around them. Procter and Gamble expressed its empathy in its ‘Thank You Mom’ campaign by depicting the struggles that come along with parenthood. 

The ad, which was released in time for the 2012 London Olympics, shows mothers in different locations and their difficulties in raising young athletes. By evoking empathy for the mothers, viewers can connect to the story, making the sporting successes of their Olympian children all the more powerful.

Now that our world is only separated by three pixels of separation, marketers must most make the most out of the various ways they can reach anyone, anytime, anywhere. The most important brands of today successfully reach mass audiences, one individual at a time, with communications that create emotional experiences while being respectful digital citizens. 

If you agree that we are separated by only three pixels of separation, SHARE this article with other people who are ready to learn more about how to market across digital platforms!

Arnt Eriksen