7 Ways to Reach Your Digital Consumers

May. 26, 2011 | by Dennis Volkmann

digital consumers

It’s not uncommon for brands to get carried away by technology trends, digital channels and social platforms, and develop their digital marketing strategy without thinking about their consumers first (actual and potential). The same thing happens with forecasts, many based on technology and infrastructure advances. So how will people’s habits change? How will consumers define a brand’s marketing strategy?

Whilst technology advances quickly and mobile web access grows exponentially, we might not realize at times that today’s teenagers are tomorrow’s adults and that the middle-aged adults which have been exposed to the Internet for at least the last 10 years will become a tech-savvy older generation, not only fully connected, but also fully active and engaged with digital channels. A research conducted by Pew research estimates 79% of all adults are currently online, achieving total online coverage seems to be a just a matter of time.

Pew research

Source: Pew Research (2010)

The current generation of children and young teenagers is even more engaged with the internet. According to the London School of Economics and Political Science (Nov. 2010), 65% of 9-16 year olds currently have their own social networking profile. It is most probable that all of them will have some sort of social profile by the time they become adults, even if they think they don’t want to. Facebook currently indicates that there are over 3.8 million UK users aged between 13-17 (13% of total UK Facebook users).

Another point to consider is how customers shop and the impact of the Internet at offline points of sale. Pew Research (2010) calculate that 58% of American adults have done research online about products and services they buy. The younger generation is already significantly involved with online shopping,  MediaTel cited (Nov. 2010), that one in three 11-14s ‘always’ refer to the Internet before making a purchase, rising to almost half of those aged 15-19. This shopping habit trend will only increase as these people become adults, with more money, more smartphones, and more autonomy to shop.

researched a product yesterday

Only after brands understand people’s needs, habits and motivations, is that digital solutions will be fully developed and lead a marketing strategy to deliver top performance. Here are some tips to improve your reach with your digital consumers:

1. Unify channels: Don’t divide consumers by online/offline and realise that they are both the same people and that your online/offline marketing efforts are all part of one strategy. Purchase processes frequently pass through both online and offline channels.

2. Insights: transform available online data (analytics, customer engagement, competitor analysis, and market search trends) into important insights that will help you guide your marketing strategy and create new solutions.

3. Qualitative data: Go beyond the traditional quantitative metrics to identify consumer habits and needs. Capture opinions, create surveys that will generate more than numbers, “listen” to your clients, develop smarter metrics, and monitor your competitor’s clients too.

4. Engage: realise that if the brand does not define its position and lead its social channels proactively, consumers will do it on their own.

5. Update frequently: understand things can change very fast and that you need to monitor and adjust your plan constantly to maintain a competitive performance and identify new opportunities.

6. The future is the present: don’t wait for the future, things already started long ago and are evolving faster than expected. Tomorrow’s trend might be already happening today.

7. Take action fast, then improve: don’t wait to build up your own data, start with what you have now plus all the data you can collect from the market. Improve your insights and forecasts as you build up your data sources.

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    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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