Hi Vladimer, tell us about yourself and your background?
I’m a globally renowned, multi-award-winning, digital transformation and social media influencer, Fortune 500 consultant, professor, keynote speaker, startup advisor, and mentor. With more than 15 years of international experience in marketing and innovation with a proven track record providing guidance to top executives and brands worldwide. I’m famous for my work as a tireless brand builder and I use my extensive experience to motivate my audiences. I’m ranked the No. 1 Global Marketing Thought Leader by Thinkers360. I’m also ranked the No. 2 Global Retail Influencer by GlobalData. I’m among the Top 15 Global Customer Experience Thought Leaders by Engati in 2021. I’ve won more than 200 awards and I’ve risen to global prominence since I became a top influencer on Twitter (56,300 followers), Linkedin (25,300 followers), and Instagram (10,700 followers), with a total of 130,000 engaged followers from 1142 cities and 185 countries across all my social media platforms. With persistence and patience, I’ve initiated and continued a process of self-education that distinguished me as an influencer in digital marketing, social media, digital transformation, and artificial intelligence. My work focuses on the intersection of storytelling, practicality, consumer behavior, and social media marketing.
Through my consulting, speaking, teaching, startup advising, and mentoring services companies from a groundbreaking idea into the fastest growing companies. I’ve been recommended by the top executives from London Business School, Google, KPMG, MasterCard, AC Milan, Forrester Research, PepsiCo, and other leading global brands. My clients attain record-breaking success and I’ve been interviewed by TV channels, radio shows, and podcast episodes related to social media and digital transformation. I’m a member of the CMO Council, IoT Council, IoT Premier League, XR4ALL, Amsterdam Economic Board – Amsterdam Smart City, and Sydney Startup Hub. I’ve paved the way for what the world knows about digital marketing and I’ve continuously proved myself to be one of the top names in innovation. I’ve demonstrated my talent in many areas such as social media personal brand building, public speaking, advising companies, and helping everyone in social media communities.
My book has been included among the world’s Top 50 Technology and Business Books by Thinkers360. I’ve worked on billion-dollar marketing projects with Fortune 500 brands and my strategies inspired the top brands to quadruple their results. I sit on the board of companies in Europe and provide my knowledge on digital transformation, branding, AI, and retail. I empower brands to scale, expand, accelerate their growth and drive change to their advantage. The world’s best speakers bureaus work with me including Champions Speakers UK, A-Speakers, and All American Speakers. I’m ranked by Kred and Klear in the Top 1% of global social media influencers. I’m the No. 1 speaker for preparing organizations to win in the digital age. If you wish to maximize your success I’m always the right person to inspire audiences at your event, corporate meeting, or lecture.
I built a powerful online presence through channels like social media and I’m proud to be hugely followed. I’ve shared my marketing and entrepreneurial knowledge through tweets, blog posts, YouTube videos, interviews, and keynote speeches. I’ve jumped into the conversations on Twitter and built relationships with the world’s most powerful people. The best way to succeed is to deliver results and my results always speak for themselves. I’m a huge believer in the value of hard work and testing new ideas. I continuously generate great content of the video, audio, and blog material every day. We live in the digital world. Commercials, direct mail, and magazines are water under the bridge. The business world has changed.
Entrepreneurs constantly offer me to work as a brand ambassador for their startups. I’m involved in startups that have great exposure. I provide the essential tools to move startups forward. I’m so proud that I’ve followed my passion, I’ve hit the sack at 6 AM for my growth, I’ve worked like a clock and showed an incredible commitment. I’ve been at the right time with the right people in NYC, DC, London, and Dubai. Let’s keep in mind that only 1% of professionals manage to build their personal brands and become thought leaders. I’m honored to be in this league.
Online commerce was booming in 2020; how did it affect brands’ marketing plans? – What should be the main focus for brands this year?
COVID-19 forced brands worldwide to swiftly adapt to changing consumer priorities. 37% of Americans plan to spend more online. 24% say they will not return to a shopping mall for another 6 months. 9 in 10 shoppers will continue to buy online at the end of this crisis. Between 51% and 63% plan to buy sports and fashion items online. The average revenue of e-commerce sites increased by 68%. The volume of online purchases increased by 50%. eBay revenue rose by 37% in Q3, 2020. Target sales grew 195% in Q2 2020 and Walmart sales grew 97% in Q2 2020.
The sales are projected to increase from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. 73% of e-commerce sales will be made on mobile devices by the end of 2021. E-commerce features by Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok will boost the number of social shoppers. More stores will be using AR to offer a much richer buying experience. 43% of consumers prefer companies that personalize their experience.
In your POV – what is the ultimate checklist for a good marketing pivot?
Understand your business, brands, customers, and competition. Position your product or service to the market and reach your demographic. Have an advertising tool that will help you spread your message. Improve your risk management due to increasing competition. Determine your target market, list down specific and realistic objectives. Create an action plan, a schedule, and a budget.
Have a unique selling proposition to set you apart, know exactly when your audience needs you the most, set sales goals, and know how to achieve them. Leverage digital marketing and social media to understand the marketing process.
How much has Marketing changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation in this crisis?
AI, chatbots, voice search, programmatic advertising, and content marketing dominate the digital marketing world. Interactive content is effective in educating its buyers. Brands will be experimenting with AR and VR. AR boosts the visual impact of sales presentations. 36% of internet users in the US say that social networks have become as important as other information sources for making product choices. Social commerce will continue to be a hot digital marketing trend.
With COVID-19 causing significant disruption to B2B organizations around the world, there is no surprise businesses had to realign their key focuses. CX and innovation maintain their top priority positions. Mobile shopping will dominate online sales, driving 54% of all sales by 2021. Shoppers are buying and spending more online. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with online experiences. 87% of consumers value brands that deliver relevant and timely information during COVID-19, 93% of all website traffic comes from search engines.
Google was responsible for 94% of all organic and 67% of smartphone search traffic in 2020. During the pandemic, the top 3 most popular keywords in voice search phrases are ”how,” ”what,” and ”best.” Engagement in B2B digital content increased significantly after the COVID-19 lockdown. 86% of social media consumers would recommend influencer marketing even during this crisis. 21% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that have an active social media account. Instagram’s advertising reach increased by 7,1%, 3X more than that of Facebook.
Vladimer’s checklist for CX strategy
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good customer experience strategy?
Today’s consumers expect shopping to be convenient, easy, and targeted. Accommodate customers by making it easier to locate the product they want. Make it easier for them to consume your product in the way that best fits their lifestyle. Personalizing is the defining loyalty factor. Try embracing dynamic content with customer ratings and reviews, in-depth product information, rich multimedia, product use cases, and testimonials. Invest in digital communication channels, move from solution selling to insight selling to retain customers, and shift from reactive to proactive engagement strategies.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
2020 was a hard year for many, whereas it was the most successful year for me. The pandemic revealed how crucial it’s to have a strong personal brand. When lockdown started I saw the demand for my consulting and speaking services grew rapidly. For the first time in my career, I joined the speakers’ bureaus and became a professional speaker. My personal brand allowed me to help many top brands thrive during the pandemic. When it comes to social media, I firmly believe in trying new things. Paying closer attention to new opportunities is what matters the most. You can always depend on your personal brand and I’ve spent the last 6 years building my personal brand from scratch.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events, what was your favorite one?
I was invited as a speaker by Social Media Club for Digital Talk Forum 2020 where I shared my expertise alongside marketing thought leaders including Tim Hughes, Neal Schaffer, Scott McKain, and others. I thoroughly enjoyed this event and it has been one of the biggest milestones in my speaking career. As a result, the attendees built high-performance teams, became market leaders, delivered extraordinary team results, increased ROI, accelerated delivery, improved competitiveness, and market positioning, grew revenue and income, increased productivity, drove engagement, and improved customer retention.
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future, how should Marketing Executives gear up to the changing times?
Create time boundaries and use the extra time to do something else. Try to use the video function of MS teams and any other platforms. Taking breaks is critical to your sanity.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – This metric is the score that tells us how satisfied the customers are with the brand performance.