This may seem like an odd title since my last post was Essential SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) Tools and How Walmart is SoLoMo. While I do feel SoLoMo tools are necessary, just as important is a different mindset. Here’s why.
Recently I heard Mitch Joel talk about five new movements. He specifically chose the word movement to highlight the stark contrast with the often used term ~ trend. Let’s take a look at the definitions for a moment.
- Trend- currently popular; general tendency
- Movement – the act, process, or result of moving
So, a trend is something that may or may not happen while a movement is fact based; in a movement, something has changed and now we must do something about it.
A movement implies a magnitude of change that calls for a response—like the old adage, it’s “do-or-die”.
As a set up to his talk, Joel emphasized the need for a different marketing communications perspective to address new movements like mobile and social. (Note: I am deliberately choosing the term “social” rather than “social media” in an attempt to elevate the conversation about a discussion of specific social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.)
These movements have created a great deal of uncertainty for many companies. Many have simply tried to use their same approach by broadcasting on these new social platforms, only to fail.
Recognizing that the market has undergone a real transformation–a movement—not a passing trend—is critical for Marketers. For example, if marketers aren’t convinced that consumers will embrace mobile devices as a preferred mode of purchase, why bother with mobile marketing? It will take a paradigm shift to inspire change.
So what does a different perspective look like? Let’s begin by defining today’s customer and their preferences and behaviors.
A Different Kind of Consumer
The proliferation of smart devices and social networks have given birth to a hyper-connected consumer. This consumer thrives within the intersection where Social-mobile-local overlap, it’s a place that provides a differentiating kind of consumer experience.
Previously marketers would conduct some consumer research to figure out how to communicate their product or service features and benefits to a target audience, and then they would often compare their product to the competition and then close the deal. In this new space, these consumers may know more about your product or service than you or your employees.
In the new marketing landscape, focusing on the consumer experience has taken on new meaning. It requires much more context than simply defining some product benefits. This can be tricky because there certainly will be the need for understanding the utility your product or service offers; however, we are now in an environment that allows consumers to engage in a dialogue with you and others.
Reaching this new consumer requires answering questions like:
- Who are my target customers?
- Where are they and what kind of information are they looking for? Hint: they may want to know more than just your product/service specifications. Find out what kind of challenges and obstacles they face in finding and using your product or service – help them solve these challenges.
Content is an increasingly important tool that enables marketers to stay connected to prospects and customers. In addition to generating your own unique content, you’ll want find out How to Curate Content Like a Pro; Bob Geller my fellow contributor shares some very helpful insights.
Customer Preferences–Convenience trumps risk
I recently read an interesting article presenting the results of a study indicating consumers were willing to accept risk in return for convenience. Stated another way, consumers are interested in utility–how can your product or service make their lives more productive or enjoyable?
In this survey, a significant percentage of respondents had been victims of online fraud, yet they planned to increase their use of online services.
Brands certainly have to take security very seriously; however, and equally important, is ensuring your product or service offers the kind of utility consumers will choose and use.
Customer Behavior–Understanding the Path to Purchase
New research indicates the way consumers find products and services is non-linear. Consumers use the Internet and their social networks for researching and recommendations.
Have you audited your path to purchase answering questions like:
- Where is there friction? Meaning, where are we making it more difficult for consumers to find and use our products or services.
- What other alternatives are available to our customers? How do we trump the other alternatives, or what is our unique selling proposition?
Positively connecting with consumers on an emotional level early along their journey significantly increases the odds a brand will be in the final consideration set. Helping consumers with information and resources is one way to connect.
Understanding the SoLoMo customer and learning their behaviors and preferences just scratches the surface to gaining a new SoLoMo perspective. To help you dig a bit deeper, be on the lookout for my article next month where you’ll find 5 tips to Creating a SoLoMo Perspective.