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Outmoding the Chains on Your Desk

We live in a post-PC era. If you’ve never heard me say this, then you’ve probably never had a conversation with me.

Maybe it’s just that I’m a marketing guy, so I like to stay on message. Or maybe it’s that (1) I really believe this is true and (2) I really believe that everyone I know needs to see it, too—both to understand the opportunities it provides and to prepare for the challenges it presents.

Of course, I’m not implying that we’re done with PCs, but rather that digital interactions no longer keep us tethered to our desks. Over time, PCs will go the way of the landline phone: in the future, some of us will access the Internet through both a device plugged into something and a device we take with us, and others will have only that mobile device. But virtually no one will function without the mobile option.

To those of us who eat, sleep, and breathe digital, this all seems fairly obvious. But the implications of the shift aren’t so clear.

The age of ubiquitous access means that consumers interact with peers, brands, and information in every channel—often simultaneously. You’ve probably found yourself doing this: standing inside, for example, a major home goods retail store, browsing televisions while simultaneously using your smart phone to research the same products on both that company’s mobile site and their main competitor’s site—all while drinking a cup of coffee you purchased in the store café. Consuming, browsing, and researching product in store, online, through mobile. All at once. So, how does that retailer begin to engage you?

I had the opportunity to discuss that very question with many of my colleagues at our company kick off meetings last week, and the conversations were fascinating. There’s nothing like plugging into the collective power of a relentlessly and innovative team to get the creative juices flowing. We came away with lots of ideas, lots of inspiration, and lots of renewed fervor for the central focus of our anywhere, anytime Voice of Customer engine.

So that’s where we’re keying in. But VoC—while essential and foundational—is just one key link in a complex web of new implications and considerations presented by our non-line era (to borrow a phrase from David Hughes). What does the shift mean for your company? And what are you doing about it?

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