Dianna Mella’s video response to the Budweiser Lyric spot. Everyone wants to participate.
Trying to figure out how to approach your next marketing plan? Where to invest? What media to embrace? How much to move from traditional digital to social? Whether to put more money into search? Welcome to the club. Unfortunately no one can answer all those questions for you in a generic blog post, but here’s the next best thing. Maybe. Some observations about consumers that might help you figure it out.
1. Consumers want more participation and even control
Look no further than video uploads, comments on blogs and the hijacking of brands (MadMen, CocaCola). Consumers want a say and they want to play. They don’t even care if they get paid. (That’s the good news and bad news.) Anyway, what does it suggest? A. Embrace crowdsourcing as a way to engage them. B. Release control of your brand (you can do this). Let consumers run with it. Hey, they might take it somewhere good. C. Seriously consider building more memes into your content.
2. No one wants to do business with a company.
Do you? I don’t. People want to do business with people. Real live honest to goodness people. So what’s a corporation to do? First, learn social media and all of its protocols. It’s not that hard. Second, put a face, not a logo, at the front of the company. Third, give more employees the opportunity to represent your brand. They might do a really good job.
3. Consumers’ relationships with media are more complex than ever
Your customers and prospects are content creators, critics, sharers, and spreaders as well as viewers. Ramifications? Understand how your customers and prospects alike use and interact with media not just a brand. Learn to be as engaging in social media and community as you are on TV. Finally, take your content to your community. They don’t always want to come to your place. Plus it will save you money building another flash heavy website.
4. Everyone’s attention span is shorter
Ready for this? One 15-second pre-roll ad causes 8% of the audience to abandon the clip before it starts. A 30-second pre-roll sends 22% of the audience packing. I read Bob Garfield so I know. Perhaps it’s a good time to focus on relationships not just messages. Messages disappear; relationships last. Also, try standing for something memorable that can be expressed in many different ways. And finally, master search. Organic search especially. You need to be found.
5. Expectations are higher
The power of the Internet gave us control and introduced us to on demand. That resulted in our high expectations for satisfaction and problem resolution offline, too. The brands we engage with better get it. Remember the United guitar story? Even if United was in the right, it didn’t have to happen. Avoid a similar PR fiasco. Give your service people flexibility; let them apply their own judgment. Build better UX into everything, not just websites, everything. And finally, surprise and delight in unexpected ways, particularly when people least expect it.
6. There’s no such thing as perfect. Only perfects.
Nothing you do, say, or create will satisfy everyone. More importantly, the consumer doesn’t know what she wants. Ragu and Prego learned that years ago and the lesson remains relevant. (Watch the video; it’s brilliant.) So, think about enabling customization. Works for Nike. Create content that allows for multiple versions; there are services to help. And constantly invent to see what sticks.
7. The MP3 is good enough
Put another way, there’s a new definition of quality for everything and it’s not about production value, polish, fine-tuning or dropped shadows. Look at YouTube versus television, blogs versus the NY Times, the MP3 versus real audio. The new definition of quality is about content that’s easy, accessible, and portable. You now have the freedom to make things fast. And also inexpensively. Go for it.
Those are the trends (some obvious, hopefully some not) that I see. Got any to add?