As 2016 dawns it’s important to remind ourselves who we as marketers are trying to reach. Our audiences aren’t sitting back and accepting the messages that they encounter.
They are constantly connected, highly opinionated, and ready to broadcast those opinions in whatever way they think will get the fastest results. Whatever feelings they have about your products (or your marketing), they’re likely to share them and share them loudly.
They’re probably comparing your products and services across multiple sources and devices, which means you’ve got to have a consistent message that’s available when and where they want it.
The good news is that this new consumer is a creature of habit. If you can work your way into their rituals and routines, they’ll hang on to you for the long haul.
For more about this new ultra-connected consumer, check out this brilliant infographic by Reuven Gorsht:
Connecting with the Always Connected
Remember, the vast majority of adults check their phones constantly throughout the day, with 63% of women and 73% of men not making it more than an hour without a peek at the screen.
Half of us check in with our phones just before bed and right when we wake up.
This constant lifeline to the digital world can be maddening if you’re trying to interact with someone in the real world, but it’s also invaluable to marketers.
If we can connect with our audience through the digital media that they’re already habitually interacting with, then we can speak to them morning, noon, and night. No need to wait until they go looking for our product or message.
Expectations of Immediacy
The flip side of this, however, is that if/when our audience has a problem they expect us to be there to help them.
This means we’ve got to have a social media and content marketing strategy that accounts for 24/7 expectations from our audience, even if our company can’t be available 24 hours a day.
When it comes to purchasing, modern customers expect up-to-the-second data. In fact, 89% indicate that having access to real-time product availability would influence their buying behavior.
The same goes for post-purchase interactions.
If they reach out via email or social media to talk about a purchase, your customers expect to feel heard. Make sure you acknowledge their input and take any action that you can to show that you care what your audience has to say.
Authenticity Over Advertising
Last, but certainly not least, your audience is looking for companies with whom they can feel an authentic, meaningful connection.
It’s no longer enough to just make something cool, your company needs to be seen as doing something cool at the same time. Remember, 88% of consumers think companies should be trying to improve society and the environment while trying to achieve their business goals.
In this same vein, the majority of modern consumers are no longer receptive to advertising in any form. Three quarters say that companies don’t tell the truth in ads, so they’re looking for information elsewhere.
Common sources are helpful online content (92% have more confidence in the information that they find online than in information gleaned from other sources), social proof, and online reviews (70% of consumers consult reviews before a purchase).
The End of Marketing As Usual
We can no longer continue to produce the same types of marketing materials and expect them to resonate with this evolving audience.
Marketers need to embrace the shifting, always-on world in which our customers live.
For many of us, this means adopting an agile approach to marketing, which lets us react swiftly and meaningfully to changes in audience demands and/or market conditions.
Whatever your strategy, make sure you’ve got the needs, rituals, and ever-rising expectations of the modern consumer at its heart.