The Human Element of Digital Marketing
March 26, 2019
Authenticity has become a bit of a buzzword lately. It signals a pronounced shift in consumer experience – buyers are craving more than a low price tag to convince them to purchase a product or service. More than ever, consumers are craving an “experience”; they’re seeking out products with a more personalized brand that feels relevant to them as an individual. This can feel scary in the automated and data-driven world of digital marketing. We have the power to customize our online appearance to attract an uber-specific market and user, but conversely that sets high expectations that we do so without appearing forced or falsified. It’s also difficult to pinpoint which customers to “target”, what our website homepage should say to appeal to them, or which blog article we should share on social media to engage the most readers. While we’ve been honing our skills in Google Analytics and trying to understand what “geo-targeting” means, it turns out that we all have an advantage in digital marketing that we may not have realized before. We know our customer.
The Millennial “Experience”
Let’s focus on one market that may seem terrifying at first: Millennials. Millennials have an annual buying power of 200 billion dollars a year. Their status as the most “lucrative” market can be overwhelming, especially considering that their buying habits are ever-changing. They invest in different industries than older generations: spending less on cars, renting instead of buying a house, not buying paper napkins. Research shows that “Millennials support businesses that are dedicated to improving their customers’ lives with informative content. They appreciate thought leadership and expertise.” Let’s use Toms shoes as an example: not only do they have great sneakers; they donate a pair of shoes with every pair you buy, and more recently, have decided to diversify their giving model to support and raise awareness for contemporary social issues. Their “One-for-One” campaign has evolved over the years into a multi-faceted giving program, summarized with the slogan: “We’re in the business of improving lives.” In the customer’s eyes, it’s not just about buying a pair of shoes, it’s about supporting an organization that helps a certain “cause” that appeals to you, such as bullying prevention, access to clean water, or supporting creative entrepreneurship.
By simply writing a blog about your product or service or detailing some key aspects of your mission that sets you apart from your competitors, you’re able to attract consumers “organically.” You’re starting a conversation with the consumer, inviting them to be a part of the buying process, instead of just throwing targeted ads out into the abyss, and hoping the statistical analysis proves in your favor.
Here are some tips for key things that younger generations may be seeking when they are searching for a new business online – regardless of industry.
1. Tell a Story
More than ever, customers want to be part of the conversation. Whether it’s having their name on a can of Coca-Cola, selecting specific products for their monthly subscription plan, or picking out a new pair of sneakers, younger consumers want to feel like they’ve been heard. Instead of your website content reading like a monologue, write as if you’re responding directly to a current or potential customer. With any digital campaign, keep your “user” in mind: who is buying your product or service? What might they search for? What would they like to learn? What do they want to see?
2. Be Transparent
Research shows that the most visited page of a website is often the “meet the team” page. Customers love to see faces behind whatever product or service they are thinking about investing in, regardless of the industry. If you are involved in the local community or have employees who regularly volunteer in certain sectors, make sure your customers know about it. Regular updates to content, whether it be through a blog article or shared news resource, can also be effective in helping your business feel more approachable. Transparency also draws us back to authenticity, and any successful brand-consumer relationship must be based on trust.
3. Be Relevant
With the fast-evolving digital world, it can be tempting to just throw a large net over the world wide web and hope that you catch a couple fish that may become potential customers. However, it’s much more cost effective to keep those previously discussed “users” in mind. In the end, it all comes back to “how well do you know your customer?” If you are confident in what your customer is looking for and where you may fit that need, you will be able to more directly market to consumers who are already looking for your services.
4. Pay attention
After running through the above tips, you now have established your target audience. You know your customer, you know what they are looking for, what experience they may prefer, and how they could find you. While Google Analytics can be very helpful in studying consumer habits, or seeing which pages are most viewed, it can’t do anything. Pay attention to how your consumers are acting and reacting, how they respond to social media posts, what they think about that new video on your home page. By simply demonstrating that you are listening, you’re already one step closer to building a better brand-consumer relationship.
Ready to get started on your new consumer-focused marketing campaign? Give HighRock a call to get started.