According to Forrester Research, we are now in the “Age of the Customer.” Today, being the customer’s first choice is the only remaining source of competitive advantage, and competition is fierce. To win, companies must be obsessed with their customers, focused on understanding them and engaging with them better than anyone else. In a report describing the new digital buyer, Marketo tells us that today’s buyer has the upper hand when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Because she is tech savvy, brand sophisticated and wise to the ways of marketing she expects a lot. Buyers want to be informed and possibly even entertained, but never bored, or worse, irritated.
Marketo points out three major trends that have emerged out of the recent and rapid evolution of buyer behaviors across email, social, and the Web.
- Buyers are more empowered and are increasingly self-directed when it comes to making purchasing decisions. They have broad access to resources and proactively gather information across a number of digital channels, often developing brand perceptions before they ever interact directly with a brand. Consumers can access detailed specs, pricing and reviews about goods and services 24/7 via their smartphone. By the time a buyer comes to you, he’s probably already made his purchasing decision.
- Buyers know how to opt out. Those who take the initiative to unsubscribe from your emails may be only a small portion of those who opt-out. Many others might be “passively opting out” by simply ignoring the emails you send. The truth is that as we all get better at tuning out the everyday noise, traditional marketing techniques are becoming less and less effective as buyers get more tech savvy.
- Consumers have higher expectations. Today’s buyers expect companies to keep track of their purchase history and communication preferences. They are looking for a unified and personalized experience across all of your touchpoints; your website, social media and photo platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), email marketing, etc. They want to find the information they are looking for in the medium that is most convenient for them at the moment. Additionally, buyers expect you to recognize them, which is why it is critical to capture and store data over time and across channels and then feed them the exact information they want at the moment you interact with them.
Most importantly buyers expect you to be relevant. This means know who your audience is and what they want from you, especially in your email marketing. Impersonal and poorly timed messages may make your subscribers think you don’t know them or what they want and they will opt-out.
- Private label/control brands now comprise roughly 25% of all retail sales dollars, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association, thus decreasing the importance of national brands. (marketingprofs.com)
- According to a recent Aberdeen report, 95% of best-in-class marketers are using video as part of their content marketing mix. These best-in-class marketers are seeing an average 4.8% website conversion rate with video — double what marketers who are not using video see at an average of 2.9% conversion. (gobrightcove.com)
- Mobile apps grab over half of US internet users’ time spent with digital media, and app retention and engagement are up. Based on research by Localytics, push notifications may be helping to drive higher app interaction and lower abandonment rates. The analysis, which looked at activity on the Localytics platform, found that app engagement—measured by launches—was 88% higher on average among mobile app users worldwide who had enabled push messages. (emarketer.com)
- 72.4% of consumers say that they are more willing to buy products when offered information in their own language? (marketingprofs.com)
- A recent study from ShareThis found significant differences in the types of content categories most likely to be shared on various social networks. Of the 5 major social networks studied – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn – Facebook dominated with 81.9% of the total shares generated. Interestingly, though, of the most-shared articles on Facebook, only 36% were deemed to have positive sentiment, as opposed to 47% negative (with the remainder neutral). Reporting from Contently shows that removing articles from BuzzFeed (the most-shared publisher on Facebook), Upworthy and ViralNova resulted in an even more negative sentiment: a majority 57% of the remaining top articles shared on Facebook had a negative sentiment, versus just 30% positive. (marketingcharts.com)