This post is part of the September blog series. With FutureM coming in October (do you have your pass yet?!), we're thinking a lot about marketers and consumers, and this series reflects that. We asked our writers to answer this question: "what is it going to take for marketers to catch up to consumers?" We'll be sharing several posts each week of the month. Stay tuned for diverse viewpoints and creative answers to this question. This post is by Seth Lieberman, CEO of SnapApp. Seth has more than 15 years of online marketing experience. When he is not immersed in social media marketing, you can find him at home in Brookline with his young family or indulging in one of his many hobbies, from gardening to photography to music to woodworking. You can reach Seth at @sethwlieberman or slieberman at snapapp.com.
The relationship between marketers and consumers is a lot like dating. The harder marketers try to chase consumers, the less likely consumers will want to be caught. With the help of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology, as well as social media and digital engagement tools, however, marketers don’t have to catch consumers anymore. Instead, by listening and interacting on social channels, keeping tabs on interests and key information in CRM systems, and designing marketing programs to keep consumers engaged, marketers can connect with their target audience to drive real, lasting results. It takes a great mix of technology and knowhow, but for marketers to succeed, these five questions need to be answered.
Who? Who consumers are is more than age, gender, location or any other demographic information. Consumers, aka people, have personalities, likes, dislikes, and other quirks that make them more or less likely to connect with a brand depending on how they’re approached. Social media can unlock consumer trends, CRM systems can give you insights into a customer base, and engagement applications like personality quizzes can flush out specific character traits, but it takes putting all these things together for marketers to really know who their audience is.
What? There are some things consumers find more compelling, interesting, or sharable than others. To identify what these things are, marketers need to use whatever tools they have available to uncover these browsing habits. For larger companies, marketing automation and social media analytics platforms can be an answer, but for smaller teams, sometimes a little social media MacGyver-ing with free services like Klout, or Bloglevel can still yield enough insights on what’s working and what’s not.
When? Timing really is everything. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 1:00 to 3:00 pm EST is generally the best time to post social media updates. Why? Because for the east coast, people are just getting back from lunch, and on the west coast, people are winding down before their break. Because social media is all about people, trends, especially when it comes to timing, are tied to common human behaviors. Clearly, understanding these behaviors and timing out messaging accordingly is key for marketers.
Where? Just as there’s a right time, there’s also a right place for marketing communications. The right channels, however, aren’t always the most popular, but the ones where consumers show signs of being open to engagement. If your target audience is interacting, liking or following other brands in a channel, chances are it’s a safe venue to communicate. If, however, you’re seeing rants, heightened privacy settings, or little to no activity among your targets, that channel will most likely be ineffective.
Why? Consumers don’t care about products or services just because they exist. There needs to be a link to a compelling experience. As a marketer, you’re probably more apt than anyone else to listen to marketing communications – not because of what’s being marketed, but because you yourself understand everything that goes into that message. Fortunately, thanks to the conversations people have every day on social media channels, and tools like polls or surveys where you can ask questions directly, marketers can find the answers to why consumers should care and tailor messaging accordingly.
When it all comes together, marketers have all they need to connect and resonate with consumers – as opposed to capturing and conquering. For a long time, the idea of scaling one to one relationships between brands and their consumers was a far-off dream, but today marketers now have all the necessary tools to make this dream reality.