As technology changes, so does the nature of marketing. Consumers have vastly different mindsets today than they did 50, 10, or even 5 years ago. Each wave of new technology—from Google’s latest algorithm update to lifelike virtual reality—creates new opportunities (and challenges) for your company’s marketing strategy.
So what does that mean for your company?
Let’s take a look at 5 unique marketing challenges facing today’s companies and how your company can capitalize on understanding the mindset of tech-savvy consumers.
#1 Break your target audience into strategic segments.
Companies today must learn how to effectively harness the data they’re given and use it toward segmented audiences. Although it’s good to address your marketing strategy toward your target audience, it’s better to address specific segments of your target audience.
Computer algorithms have really opened the door for improved mass personalization. People have come to expect personalized suggestions on their news feeds and search engines. That’s all thanks to predictive, machine-learning algorithms that can seemingly intuit what you’re really looking for, or similar things that might interest you.
Let’s say that your company’s target audience is upper-middle-class women ages 25-45. You might consider separating them by things like geographic region, level of education, and marital status. The point is to not have one or two big groups. Instead, hone in on a handful of detailed groups—whatever your time and budget will allow.
Having trouble weeding out your top sub-segments? Depending on the diversity of your company’s product and service offerings, we suggest tailoring your audience segments to reflect your company’s top-selling products or services with the best profit margins. Set a manageable goal for the number of segments you’re going to create. It should be a number that you’re able to monitor regularly—preferably once a quarter, if not once a month.
#2 Stop making speeches and start holding conversations.
Advertising is no longer a platform for companies to blair persuasive ads at a captive audience. Gone are the days of one-sided messages—social media has changed that aspect of the consumer mindset. Today, it’s all about how well your brand can carry the right conversation with your target audience.
The personification of brands has strengthened this concept. It’s probably safe to say that people connect with brands through technology as much as they connect with people. Consumers that follow your company on social media expect you to offer ways to engage with them, not bombard them with one-way messages that shut down the opportunity to communicate what they like or want from your company.
#3 Be subtle with “the sell” and focus on initiating “the share.”
When it comes to marketing to today’s audience, you won’t get very far by simply outlining your sales pitch and slapping your logo on it. Today’s consumers expect ads to be well-branded and contain useful content. In this case, useful means anything from informative to entertaining. Whether we’re talking about print or digital advertising, always aim for creating share-worthy material. Remember, people snap photos of everything—anything your company produces can end up on a newsfeed. That’s a ton of pressure and a ton of PR power at your fingertips.
Let’s talk social currency for a moment. It’s the intangible credit that makes society go round—especially in the social media world. It goes deeper than “you scratch my back, I scratch yours.” Two of the most-valuable forms of social currency are information and entertainment—and now, more often than not, they’re combined to form infotainment.
Social currency has the power to catapult small companies to the top, and the power to erode the foundation of large companies. Thinking of your marketing in terms of social currency will help you create share-worthy content that can double as a nice PR boost for your company. In today’s consumer climate, one of the worst things your marketing can be is a boring sales pitch to scroll past.
#4 Build more than a solid argument—build trust in your brand.
Consumers aren’t just getting smarter, they’re searching smarter. In the age of technology, your company will always be dealing with an army of so-called “influencers” that are just a click away from your consumers. From massive news organizations to individuals armed with smart phones and a chip on their shoulder, you’re bound to fall under attack from somewhere on the web.
That’s where building brand trust comes into play…
If you’ve built more than an argument—if you’ve built confidence and loyalty in your company’s ability to follow through on brand promises—then consumers are going to put more stock in what you have to say, and not the guy blogging from his mom’s basement.
And remember, trust is built through consistent quality over time. Be realistic about where your company’s reputation stands, and then build slowly from that point. Reputations are like Rome. They aren’t built in a day, but a single fire can be devastating.
#5 Go beyond differentiation and aim for innovation.
It’s not enough to just be something new and shiny. Today’s consumers are bombarded with something different every five seconds.
You’ve got to have something that’s truly better for your target consumer. That circles back to the importance of customer conversations. If you’re genuinely communicating with your consumers, then you’ll be able to do more than simply know what they want. You’ll find that you’re better able to anticipate what they’re likely to need.
Technology offers a ton of possibility for your company’s marketing. If you understand how it’s changed a lot of once-true marketing philosophies, then you can begin to formulate new strategies for your company’s branding that will resonate with today’s consumers.