Written by Senior Associate, Global Agency Marketing & Business Development, Kayla Niedziejko
Re-inventing Marketing for the Modern Day Consumer
Last week, I attended day 2 of MITX’s FutureM conference, and left with a completely new perspective of marketing in today’s society. As a recent graduate of business school, I was shocked to learn just how fast the industry has changed since earning my degree in 2015. Forget the 4 P’s—marketing in today’s world is about meeting people where they need to be met.
When I say today’s world, I’m not talking about “The Digital Age”—a jargon term that marketers love to use. If I wasn’t already aware, this conference solidified the idea that the digital age doesn’t exist as a separate entity. We are LIVING the digital age. It is ingrained in everything we do; from the moment we wake up in the morning to the second our head hits the pillow at night. The issue with marketing in a digitally savvy industry is understanding the consumer. How do we do that? Simply meet consumers, when and where they want to be met. However, that is easier said than done when the industry and technology is continuously changing.
Moving on from “The Digital Age”
Speaker David Shing (a.k.a. Shingy), AOL’s Digital Prophet, graced us with his presence in a short, but impactful presentation surrounding today’s marketing world. He centered the discussion on what he refers to as the “Slash Age”—today’s consumers are artists, bloggers, coders, fashionistas, influencers, and brand ambassadors. Digital technologies have opened so many doors, allowing consumers to be whoever they want, whenever they want – and usually within a few clicks of a button. The issue with this type of consumer is trying to target them. Just as we begin to figure these consumers out, they swarm to the next medium of choice. So what is the key to reaching today’s complicated hybrid consumer?
Breakup with “Innovation”
Step 1: Get rid of all of the marketing jargon, and create new ideas. Steer clear of words like connection, disruption, emotion, experience, storytelling, and innovation. Innovation has changed. It’s now all about creation. Our culture is shifting, so as marketers, we need to morph with it.
Step 2: Think about the amount of information today’s consumer comes into contact with every day, even every hour! It is only reasonable that there is now a surge of insecurity amongst individuals online. Consumers are turning to followers, views, and/or measurement to feel important and relevant in the media landscape. Rather than sympathizing with this insecurity, work to be empathetic. Make your consumer feel important—in order to create completely immersive experiences, put ideas in the hands of creative. Create consumer experiences that put the human being at the center of the experience, an emotion that all humans long for and can relate to.
Below are a few examples of brands/consumers that have brought creative experiences to live in their own way:
Jaguar worked to create a virtual reality experience, in a not so virtual way:
In a crowded market, personal expression is the new form of entertainment. More people die today of extreme selfies than shark attacks—why? Consumers want to make their own noise by capturing their own, completely immersive experiences.
Some are successful…
Some, not so much…
As a marketer, you can create similar experiences, in a more creative and safe manner:
Transitioning from Awareness to Advocacy
When you empathize with your consumer, you allow them to be your brand ambassador, and simultaneously your biggest advocate. When it comes to consuming the infinite amount of information at our fingertips, we sometimes don’t know where to start. Consumers tend to retract to their human instincts, and trust the opinions of their peers when it comes to brands, products, services, etc. Focus advertising efforts away from simply “awareness” and work to build relationships with true “advocates” of your business. In order to do so, start with a small story, one big enough to provide context to the consumer. Then, put that story in the hands of the human. Sit back, relax and watch it explode.
At the rate technology and marketing are changing, this information could be irrelevant within the year. As a marketer, one aspect of the job description will never change—creativity and adaptability. Always keep the ability to create unique experiences and morph with your consumer tucked away in your back pocket!