How can we react to changing consumer purchasing habits?
The consumer has changed. With the advent of smartphones, tablets, apps and social media, no longer do they head out to their local shop to buy a product; they head online to see what comparable products are available, where they are being sold and who has the best deal.
We are in the age where price comparisons are at our finger tips, purchases are considered with an expectation of added value and we go shopping while commuting to work (who wants to spend time shopping on weekend?!). Consumers are impatient, price sensitive, tech savvy and, at times, unforgiving.
Not only this, but they are also being bombarded with messages and options on a daily basis and it is imperative that businesses stand out, if they want to stay ahead.
So how do businesses keep up with this new breed of consumer? How do they beat their competitors to the conversion?
They embrace it: embrace the new technology available to them and give the consumer what they want, or even better... “Give the consumer what they don’t realise they want.”
In this evolving landscape, if you don’t react quickly and t remain open to change, then you will miss out.
Embrace Content Marketing
Content marketing is not new, but it is the future of marketing? Traditional marketing methods are simply not working as well as they used to – we can fast forward through ad breaks and skim a magazine without even registering the adverts.
As the consumer gets more and more sophisticated, so must our marketing techniques and that is where content marketing steps in. The more relevant and valuable we make our marketing to each consumer, the more successful we will be.
How do we make our content more relevant and valuable?
- Embrace data: With the vast amount of data that is collected now, from apps to website signups and social media, as marketers, we are in a wonderful position: not only do we know what consumers want, where they want it and when they need it, but we can also give it to them!
- Embrace emerging tools: If we utilise emerging tools, along with the data we’ve collected, we can produce automated and dynamically driven campaigns that are even more relevant on a consumer-by-consumer basis.
- Make it local: With such a vast amount of marketing being consumed on GPS enabled mobile devices, we have a unique opportunity to hone down our campaigns to the local level. We can send information, offers and incentives directly to consumers based on the location they’re in at any given moment.
- Foursquare, for example, is a wonderful platform for this, tapping into the sensibilities of the impatient, price sensitive and tech savvy consumer described earlier, yet it is surprisingly underused by businesses and marketers.
- Understand that value isn’t always a financial consideration: it comes in many forms and a good content marketer will explore all of them. Sometimes it can be as simple as making it personal. There can’t be many people who haven’t noticed, or bought into, the Coca-Cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.
Embrace Social Shopping
Social media is a wonderful and powerful marketing tool, that can see new audiences reached and new customers gained and it’s changing the landscape for both businesses and consumers.
The boundaries between marketing platform and sales platform are blurring. Where once you would use your marketing to drive the consumer to your store (whether physical or virtual), the marketing platform is now becoming the store.
With technology such as Amazon Cart, (shopping via a Twitter hashtag!) and Twitter’s rumoured ‘Buy It’ button, the decision to buy is being made by consumers without even navigating away from their Twitter feed.
These technologies may be new and so you may feel that you have time to procrastinate about them, but this isn’t just about future proofing your business (although that is reason enough), this is about being there at the start of the revolution and seizing the opportunity... It’s about standing out!
Embrace Your Customers... Metaphorically at least!
As businesses, the ball has been in our court for some time, but we are rapidly seeing the emphasis move to the consumer. We need to go to them, on their terms, with what they want. If we don’t, we just fall into the sea of unopened emails and discarded flyers. And perhaps worse than that, if we don’t, someone else will.
Mobile apps and social media have levelled the playing field – if you get your digital shop front right, by embracing content marketing, embracing social media and embracing your customers, then you can leave your competitors behind.
Good digital strategy will be the deciding factor, in a world where customers aren’t just price sensitive: they are time sensitive too.
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Joining Maximizer Software in May 2012, Anita lends her expertise to the delivery of all marketing communications and PR. With a Diploma in Direct Marketing and more than 14 years marketing and commercial experience, Anita is responsible for the strategic planning and implementation of a diverse portfolio of marketing tactics, specialising in...