Article re-posted from MarketingProfs.
Advances in social technologies have made the voice of the consumer more dominant in today’s marketplace. Consumers are vocal about their needs, wants, and preferences. They crave relevancy, personalization, and a platform to be heard.
These new consumers want control over how, when, and where brands engage with them and to what extent. This shift will be the most important trend to impact the consumer market over the next decade and beyond.
Marketers should consider the following when planning to reach current and future consumers:
- Have a plan to continually stay familiar with new technology.
- Track changes in how consumers are using technology to interact with brands.
- Pay attention to consumer preferences—especially how they are interacting with new technologies across multiple industries and devices.
- Understand the brand’s customer base, such as who they are, where they are, and how they shop (in store and/or online), what they like, and motivations affecting their decision-making.
Also essential is having a clear understanding about the capabilities of mobile devices and social platforms. Today’s children are learning to interact with these tools as early as two years of age. They are born with technology at their fingertips and on demand. Understanding how a brand should be reflected on these devices and platforms will be imperative for future success.
Once a plan is in place for keeping up with technology and consumers’ use of it, marketers should be cognizant of the following considerations for strategic marketing in the future:
1. Deep and True Integration (Singularity)
It’s important for marketers in all disciplines to understand and master integration in order to remain in the game 10 years from now. This does not mean integration just in terms of communicating via multiple channels or by engineering different systems to work together. Rather, the concept of singularity better describes future marketing integration. Already, consumers are piecing together their experiences with a brand, across all channels, to form one continual and cumulative idea of that brand. They’ll continue to move in this direction toward one interface, one digital platform, for their media needs. Although introduced to their respective platforms a bit prematurely, Facebook’s social in-box and Google’s integrated apps indicate that consumers will invariably want their interpersonal communication (email, texts, tweets, updates, voice, etc.) organized in one place.
Another example is how consumers use iPhones or other mobile devices. They can place phone calls, send emails and texts, communicate on social networks, play games, watch videos, listen to music, etc. As the market moves closer to singularity in terms of hardware and interface, and as consumers integrate deeper, more consolidated communication tools into their lives, marketers will need to adjust communication of the brand experience accordingly.
2. Evolution of Consumer Targeting and Segmenting Methods
Similarly, traditional ways of segmenting sets of audiences and the categorization of consumers for marketing will be defused. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that everyone wants to be included and counted. Communities, departments, geographic borders, strata within a given social system, and language barriers are all structural conventions of the past. Whereas they influence the interplay of individuals within those systems, as technology proliferates (for good or bad), the influence of structural conventions and the structural conventions themselves, fall away. Marketers will need to find a different way to speak to audiences, audiences that may not have a defined demographic or socioeconomic makeup.
3. Data and Measurement as the New Creative
All this being said, the collection, handling, and deciphering of consumer data and campaign success data will fundamentally change. Programs that measure campaign performance, as well as traditional sets of data that are used to segment audiences, will have to become more intelligent and sophisticated. Where information is collected, how and what is considered as useful data is changing and becoming more complex. Consequently, the analysts and marketers that break down data to identify trends and opportunities in the marketplace will have to get very creative. New types of data will be important to consider; however, things that cannot be measured in quantifiable terms will most likely become stronger factors in making decisions. The CMO of the future is a cross between a philosopher and a mathematician, a master of logic and a devotee of irrational abstraction.
In conclusion, marketers are entering a new age filled with exciting complexities, challenges, and opportunities. Staying on top of all the technologies while keeping an eagle eye on how consumers are responding to shifts in the marketplace is the key to building success well into the future.