As consumer habits have changed, it is our job to evolve to deliver the customer experience that our customers expect. In this podcast, we outline the four ways we can meet this new challenge and discuss how it affects marketing and advertising at large.
Episode Show Notes
Introduction to Consumer Habits Have Changed
(0:00 – 4:37) Introduction to Iterative Marketing Podcast: Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where, each week, hosts Steve Robinson and Elizabeth Earin provide marketers and entrepreneurs with actionable ideas, techniques, and examples to improve marketing results.
The topic of this episode revolves around the evolution of consumer habits and the implications for marketing strategies. The conversation, applicable to all marketing and advertising forms, centers on understanding this consumer transformation. Four notable trends we’ll discuss are the increased importance of content over the source, preference for information aggregators over authorities, attraction towards personalization, and the revolution of instant access. Additionally, the digital world has amplified the impact of word-of-mouth. These trends necessitate reevaluating marketing strategies to meet clients’ desired customer experiences.
The resources discussed on the show can be found at brilliantmetrics.com, which includes a blog and a LinkedIn group for community interaction.
The Internet Effect
(4:37 – 7:12) The Role of the Internet: A significant factor behind our changing consumption habits is the internet. It has not only made us all connected but also ensured that the connection is always on and carried with us all the time through smartphones. Today, most people have smartphones, and being without them, even for a short duration, can make us feel disconnected.
Overload of Information: The 24/7 connectivity provided by the internet and smartphones has led to an overload of information. We are constantly bombarded with content from various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and news apps. This continuous stream of information, though readily available, can be overwhelming.
Changing Interactions and Information Sources: The availability of information at our fingertips has changed how we interact and source information. The use of traditional sources of information, like phone books, has drastically reduced. The shift to digital sources is evident as even the size of phone books has gotten thinner over the years.
The Impact of Technology: Overall, technology, especially the internet and mobile devices, has fundamentally altered how we obtain information. Our consumption habits have transformed, adapting to this digital revolution.
Shifting Media Consumption
(7:12 – 14:32) Choosing Content over Source: Traditionally trusted sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, and phone books are being replaced by digital sources like Google Maps and Siri. Consumers seek real-time, updated information, focusing more on the content rather than the source.
The Transformation in Entertainment Habits: Social media channels, DVRs, and streaming services have replaced traditional entertainment methods. Consumers prefer on-demand services, choosing what they want to watch and when. The array of choices can be overwhelming, leading consumers to rely on platforms to filter content.
Adjusting Marketing Strategies: Marketers are focusing less on advertising in authoritative publications and more on aggregating information sources like Facebook and Netflix. The goal is to show up in consumers’ social media feeds where they are most likely to engage. Blogs are no longer viewed as go-to resources but are used as content for distribution to other channels where consumers seek their information. While some blogs or sources may still serve as go-to resources for a niche audience, capturing a consumer’s attention is more challenging due to the wide array of options available.
Personalization and ‘The Amazon Effect’
(15:24 – 18:52) The Amazon Effect: Consumers have grown accustomed to personalized recommendations based on their shopping history, largely due to companies like Amazon. There’s a thin line between convenience and intrusion. Brands sometimes need to dial back their data-driven recommendations to avoid appearing creepy. Once consumers have experienced personalization, they expect it from all their favorite brands. Incongruent experiences feel off. Brands need to smartly use data to deliver personalized experiences both online and offline.
Adapting Marketing Strategies for Personalization: Marketers need to utilize information provided by customers to personalize content and create the best experience. Content should be segmented to cater to specific customer needs. Consumers should be provided with relevant content depending on their stage in the sales cycle.
(18:52 – 24:45) Increased Desire for Self-Service and On-Demand Access: Consumers are used to handling many tasks independently and at their convenience. This includes everyday activities, such as pumping gas, to larger purchases, like buying a car. The internet has facilitated this trend, allowing consumers to do research and make purchases on their own schedule. Modern communication methods also reflect this trend, with many people prefer texting or messaging over a direct phone call.
Adapting to Consumer Expectations: Marketers need to create an experience that matches consumers’ desire for self-service. This includes providing accessible and relevant content that enables consumers to learn about products or services at their convenience. Brands should infuse their content with their brand identity, creating a “human” connection despite the lack of direct human interaction.
Ensuring Consistency: Brands need to ensure a consistent brand experience, whether customers interact with them online or offline. A positive online brand experience can be negated by poor offline interaction and vice versa. The personalized experience offered to customers should feel human and reflect the individual’s preferences and needs, despite being facilitated through digital channels.
(24:45- 30:23) Amplified Word-of-Mouth Through Digital Media: Digital platforms have amplified the effect of word-of-mouth, making it easier for consumers to share their opinions and experiences about brands. These conversations may take the form of product reviews or discussions in private channels known as “dark social”.
Understanding Dark Social: Dark social refers to conversations about brands happening in non-public or private digital spaces. These can include private messages, chat apps, and even social media platforms where privacy settings prevent public tracking. While dark social conversations cannot be easily tracked, marketers can still influence them by providing consumers with the right language to discuss the brand. Continued advertising to existing customers can help reinforce desired brand attributes and messages, turning customers into brand advocates. However, measuring the impact of this strategy can be challenging.
Dealing with Product Reviews: Marketers should recognize the value of both positive and negative reviews. Negative reviews can offer opportunities to address and rectify issues, providing an opportunity to display responsiveness and commitment to customer service. Encouraging customers to leave reviews and redirecting negative experiences toward customer service can help improve the brand’s overall reputation.
Summary of Key Takeaways
(30:23 – 31:52) Content Distribution Matters More than Location: The focus should not be solely on creating content but also on effectively distributing it to places where your target audience consumes information. Leveraging content aggregators can be a great strategy to reach a larger audience.
Personalization: Consumers today expect personalized experiences that are relevant to them at every touchpoint in their journey. Using the data you have about your consumers to deliver personalized messages can lead to a more engaging and satisfying customer experience.
Customer Expectations for On-Demand Interaction: Today’s consumers expect to interact with brands at their own convenience. Ensuring that your brand is available for interaction across multiple channels, at the time and in the way that suits the consumer, is vital for a positive customer experience.
Word-of-Mouth in the Digital Era: Word-of-mouth has been amplified by digital media, making it a critical part of brand reputation management. Managing online reviews is one aspect, but it’s also important to equip your advocates with the right messaging. Be mindful of the ‘dark social’ conversations happening in private channels, even though they may be hard to measure.
Join Us Next Time
(31:52 – 33:18) Conclusion: Adapting to shifts in consumer behavior is essential to delivering the customer experience that our customers now expect. In this episode, we’ve broken down four strategies that can help us navigate these evolving challenges.
In our upcoming episode, we’re diving into how technology and data are changing advertising. With these new tools, we can better understand our audience and see the direct impact of our efforts. It’s about working smarter, not harder, and focusing our energy where it truly counts. Join us as we explore this fascinating evolution in marketing.
Have a great week and we’ll see you next time. This concludes this week’s episode. For notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to the Brilliant Metrics newsletter.
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