By Maimun Mustafa
In the 15th century Germany, goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, which allowed us to share large amounts of information quickly and in huge numbers. If you jump a few hundred years forward from this event (which ushered the Age of Enlightenment) you are in the time of the modern-day smartphone which is a million times more powerful than the Apollo 11 guidance computers! What does it infer? The infinite media revolution is here and marketers need to level up their game to stay relevant and engage with consumers. Nevertheless, prior to exploring the tactics to come out on top in this game-changing new era, it is important to understand the concept of limited versus infinite media.
The Limitation Game
We have come a long from the traditional printing press but marketing had operated on the foundations of the limited media era since its inception in the late 1800s. To understand the concept, consider that even half a century back, consumers came across a relatively finite amount of commercial efforts to grab their attention i.e. marketing noise. Consumers would usually be exposed to the few jingles on the radio, adverts on television or the newspaper, and perhaps the occasional billboard on their daily work commute. As the noise was fairly limited, advertising, in turn, was fairly expensive. If you could afford the television slot buyers could trust that you were probably fairly reputable.
Fast forward to today – if you are a marketer who is working on an instagram post for your brand, you have to compete with influencers and ameteur content creators who have access to the same tools to vie for engagements from the end user’s feed. Now quantify occurrences like these by the estimated 30+ billion connected devices that are able to not only create media on their own but distribute and consume as well. Therefore devices now lead the creation of media in the globe and by doing so, are transcending us from a society in which only those with the capital to publish to one that is a completely distrusted one. Centralized media is becoming a distant memory of the past as we welcome a brave new world where anyone can publish anything.
Finding the Right Note in the Noise
As we discussed noise isn’t what it once was. Nowadays, in the age of infinite media, there are 3.5 billion people (half of the world’s population) who have a mobile phone – and each of these people have the ability to make, share and consume as much content as they can infinitely comprehend. What this means for enterprises is that they should not simply fall into the trap of creating more noise for the sake of it – this no longer works. The future is to focus on content marketing which involves meeting “people where they are” as opposed to a push to gain their attention. It is about fulfilling their desires at that moment. In order to make sure you’re as valuable as possible, you need to create a series of experiences that encompass all of a client’s needs.
Marketing used to revolve around companies telling consumers what they thought they wanted to hear. Nowadays, it’s about providing customers with the experience that they’re looking for. Along with this shift comes a change in the type of media. For example, if you needed to look up something only a few years ago, your first option would be to go through the local directories. There everyone would see the same information. Nowadays googling is the preferred norm and all queries receive customized solutions. We have essentially ascended from a static media environment to a dynamic one. This dynamic nature of the media environment has also affected the optimization of media. In a static world, media was designed around attaining views. The more people (eyeballs) that viewed the content, the better were conversions probabilities. In today’s dynamic surrounding, the only media that peaks is the content that is the most engaging. The underlying algorithms for media will only target the customers that will engage with it or else not. Simply put, consumers don’t need more things trying to grab their attention; they require solutions to their problems.
The Rule of Five
Thus we must acknowledge 5 core differences between the limited and the infinite eras stressed by Mathew Sweezy, Director of Market Strategy at Salesforce before as we try to motivate buyers. First, there has been a disruption in the weightage of media creation. Individuals took over businesses in creating media. Second, the environment has changed to a dynamic one from static. The more customization around the consumer the better. Third, we do not measure on eyeballs anymore but on engagement. The goal is for people to interact with the brand not just achieve the highest number of audiences, Fourth, the tactics of today stress on context as opposed to simply grabbing attention. Finally, instead of marketing messages, in the infinite era the emphasis is on creating experiences.
Putting it into Context
In the surroundings of this new “infinite media,” world customers design their own experiences. Marketers need to create a link between someone’s immediate wants and the experiences a brand can fulfil for them. This ‘context’ of filling this gap is essential as we try to motivate buyers. Sweezy break’s context down into five key pieces. It’s available, it has to be permissioned, it has to be personal, it has to be authentic, and it has to be purposeful. These five key aspects have to be present if we look at any great contextual consumer experience.
Making it Available
Getting through to the right person at the right time is key. Identifying proper target groups rather and ensuring they are exposed to your content is more important than trying to attract the attention of the masses.
Keeping it Permissioned
Ensure that you have the consumer’s express permission to contact them. Once you have this, you can then use any data you’ve acquired to make their experience as personal as possible. You can give these out in the disclaimers with your site’s cookies or app’s end-user license agreements.
Keeping it Personal
Ensure that every experience fulfils their specific individual need and is delivered in a personal way. Add chatbots to ask questions and localize your site with language variation options.
Remember to keep your brand’s voice authentic, trustworthy, and empathetic. Generic sales like tones are not generally welcomed in this day and age. Show that there is a human side to you and your brand.
Show that there’s a wider objective behind the experience. A great example is the Shashosh Shundor advert of Dove Bangladesh focused on the women who are facing the COVID-19 pandemic head-on. Even though Dove is a beauty brand, it commemorated the human stories of women and aligned their brand with ladies who are struggling in this difficult time. Strategies such as these which are customized to the status quo help from connections with customers and thus encourage them to align with the brand.
Customer Journeys are the New Campaigns
To create a fantastic experience for each and every customer out there unlearning classic marketing campaigns can be a start. Instead, opt to look into individual customer journeys. Campaigns target to the greatest numbers possible down a funnel approach. On the other hand, customer journeys are created and optimized with the consumers’ perspectives in mind. Professionals guide the consumer on their personal journey with the company’s brand. Initially, focus on the main aspects of identifying key points along your customers’ journey, be engaged and leverage them. Then work with your audience either by being an active part of the community or by finding ways to co-create your products with them, or better yet, both. Finally, focus on creating a great customer experience at every step, and influence the consumer’s choice of brand. Finally, keep turning customers into advocates and continue the turn of the cycle turning.
Focus on creating experiences that transform how consumers interact with your brand. Rather than simply being a source of goods and services, make your brand become a trusted partner that can be relied upon to help individuals successfully navigate the buyer’s many life challenges. Consumers are stuck in the pandemic may want to try on a dress before they purchase it from an online shop. An augmented reality extension by the store could help them see how it looks prior to purchase. These kinds of value additions customized to the needs of the day can just be the edge in shifting consumer loyalty.
Big Data and Automation
Marketers should make sure that they leverage data and not just hunches to deliver seamless experiences to all customers. The brand professional must be vigilant to all lucrative technologies such as big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence that can better help them understand consumers and drive improved understanding of the customer journey. With the right contextual frame and usage of technology, the marketer can motivate and make their next big sale.