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Does chaos theory rule our world?

Does chaos theory rule our world?

Have you ever heard of chaos theory? Maybe you’ve heard of the butterfly effect? You may have seen a movie reference to it, or perhaps a university professor? Chaos theory is not for academics. Chaos theory is not a way of thinking, a religious principal or a viewpoint. It is a reality. It’s a way of seeing the complex systems we live with daily and how to better understand them.

Have you ever missed an event, accident or opportunity and thought if only X hadn’t happened earlier, I would have experienced Y or Z?

Chaos theory is quite simple. Anything that happens now is a complex result of many things that happened before which cumulatively result in your event. You know the saying ‘hindsight is 20/20’? Looking back, you can pinpoint events that led up to what’s happening now. Looking forward, however, it is not that simple. If something happens, or a decision is made, actions taken or anything eventful, left for long enough to mature, will result in another action seemingly unrelated. We can also call it nature, balance or fate to name a few. The best one for me is plain ‘shit happens’!

Humans strive for control to predict the outcome

Understand that chaos theory explains almost everything that occurs. Any event that happens is a result of unlimited events before it. If we were able to predict events, then we can control the outcome. In order to predict the outcome, humans will create their own surroundings under their own control in order to know the outcome.

Why would we want to control everything?

No, this is not a question of making money or gaining power. Humans have anthropologically needed to control outcomes in order to survive. We needed to understand whether to control crops and food. We needed to create our own infrastructure, under our control in order to control the things around us such as safety. I can give you examples. We created roads through nature to control our travel, time and order of movement. We created kitchens with ovens to not be reliant on fire in a cave for food. As humans we realised by creating our own solutions, we limit the influence of other events on our lives and thus have better predictable outcomes.

But they clash, chaos and control

Yes, they do. Chaos theory is the way the world works. It’s how nature and the universe function and it is a completely natural result of events. The events are so complex from their own eventful source that as simple minded humans we cannot see the complexity of the prior event and just end up calling it random. But is there truly a random event? I don’t think so. Thinking about it, anything you consider to be random was a result of previous events leading up to it. We can’t see all the events leading up to it and this goes into our ‘random’ basket.

So why is this at all important?

Chaos theory as a principle doesn’t change anything. It may not even answer anything. It is a way for us to understand however, that nothing is random.

We can control our environments to have a more predictable outcome.

That’s how humans gained some level of control which allowed us to grow outside our random caveman lives. We took control; we created predictable outcomes and environments. If nature didn’t provide light and fire to cook our food when we were hungry, we created our own fire. When the valleys were too rough for the ox wagons, we created roads.

This gives humans time to learn, safety on all levels to expand

But chaos theory is still driving everything because our existence is still a string of events.

I have come to realize that’s probably why most of us are caught off guard if something unexpected happens. An accident maybe, a short notice promotion or an a unexpected reward. If you think about it, it wasn’t unexpected in the eyes of chaos. It was a result of other events and timing you just weren’t aware of prior to your ‘unexpected’ event.

But can’t we control it?

No we can’t. We can merely string together the first level of events to understand why something happened. It’s fascinating to think back on something that you experienced to single events that started at some point previously.  These all culminated at a later stage, resulting in your experience.

Left to its own devices, shit happens

Using chaos theory may help us answer questions about things that happened. Why I got divorced, why someone died in an accident, why my business is working and another similar business isn’t working.

And if it all becomes too complex, you can always fall back on ‘shit happens’

Is building your business like climbing stairs?

Is building your business like climbing stairs?

Building a business, especially during the start-up phase can be like climbing giant stairs…literally

From the word go, you hit steep vertical challenges, seemingly higher than yourself. One of these verticals is to figure out how to get to the top. Do you use a ladder, stand on something or ask someone for a hand? Once you conquer this, you reach a plateau that is usually of concern, as flat doesn’t appear to be growth, until the next vertical challenge. And so you climb the business ladder, alternating between vertical and horizontal, all the while getting higher and higher.

Further to fall, if you should, but also more steps below you to break your fall, so you don’t fall too far back.

On the vertical, don’t worry, climb straight up, there is a top. On the horizontals, make sure you move forward to the next vertical and not sideways. Sideways will get you to fall off the sides and like snakes and ladders, you will end up on the ground or much lower on the stairs.

Other people that are trying to get to where you are are also climbing. You are very rarely alone in your vision or industry. Some will stop climbing, others will push past, and others will stray off the sides.

Make sure you use the railings to take a break now and again.

“The nature of an entrepreneur is to climb his stairs not because he knows what’s on top of each step, but because he doesn’t, and desperately wants to know.”

The forgotten son of digital marketing

The forgotten son of digital marketing

The forgotten son of digital marketing

The digital marketing landscape is evolving at a rapid pace, and businesses can be forgiven for investing a lot of time and energy into social media campaigns and other digital marketing efforts.  Be careful not to lose sight of the fact that consumers are exposed to so much information on their social media newsfeeds, that if your content is not top-notch, you will get lost in the noise.  Digital marketing is more than just social media.  It is an intricate ecosystem of applications, processes, networks and methodologies that generates a huge amount of data. The value you gain from this data can be maximized with the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution.

Combined data = more insight into your customer

Effective marketing professionals understand that the value of social goes beyond ROI and conversions. Less tangible benefits, like brand awareness and market intelligence are also generated from social media.  Incorporating an efficient CRM system in your digital marketing strategy will help you gain the most from both. You will have all the benefits of social insights combined with CRM capabilities to strategise marketing efforts, create campaigns, and measure your results.

It won’t cost you an arm and a leg

If you have a customer database, whatever the size or format, you can start harnessing the power of a CRM system without breaking the bank. If you already have a CRM system, but have only been using it to send newsletters from time to time, here are some of the other powerful benefits of a CRM system that could breathe new life into your business.

One single view of the customer

Channels have increased, and there’s no way around it. Customers interact with your product or service, both online and offline. But it might be in a browser on their laptop, or on a phone. They can browse, buy, email, tweet, search, like, share, review… the list goes on! There are so many ways to interact with your customers. All the interaction is impossible for any one team to keep track of. What a CRM system will allow you to do, is store all the data that you have at the customer level, in one place.  If we were to collect all your data, put it in one place, and show you the full 360 of each of your customers, would you take it? You’d be crazy not to!

Segmentation

As you and your customer embark on this journey together, you will get to know your customer and his behavior better with every interaction.  Make use of every opportunity to add information to you customer’s profile by adding tags.  In the long run you should end up with well-defined segments, containing customers who have interacted with your business in a certain way in each segment. This enables you to tailor specific massages to specific segments, e.g. Your message to someone who is tagged as a prospect will be a call to action or special offer to convert him from a prospect to a buying customer.  Your message to existing customers will be one that is aimed at invoking loyalty and repeat purchases i.e. nurturing.  You can decide how deep you want to drill into the data and how many segments you want to differentiate, and it need not be very complicated.

As you continue to use CRM to monitor and review your interactions with your prospects, you’ll discover that CRM is a goldmine of information that helps you to communicate relevant information to the right customer at the right time.

Creating a tailored, yet automated customer experience

Now that you have used segmentation to convert that prospect into a customer, a CRM system allows you to take the customer on a journey with you.  But there’s a fine line between gently guiding your customer to buy again and barraging them with e-mails and calls, yet nurturing is vital.

The Annuitas Group found that nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. With sales cycles becoming increasingly complex, customer relationship management (CRM) systems have never been more vital.  You can set-up certain triggers to get in touch with your customer.  It could be as simple as an e-mail on the customer’s birthday, offering a special discount.  Another example is to use CRM to guide a customer through an ordering process, keeping them up to date on the status of their order. The possibilities are endless.  With some creativity, and putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, you can craft each and every interaction with your customer to suit his needs.

Knowledge is power

CRM can help you pinpoint which content marketing pieces were the most successful and which failed to deliver. Using the digital trail, you’ll know whether the increase in customer response is based on the social media campaign, the newsletter or a specific promotion. Using this information strategically can help you study each part of your marketing strategy so that you can plan, enhance previous campaigns, and eliminate those that have no effect.