It’s no secret that marketing tools and insights must evolve with the times. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss why doing things the way they’ve always been done isn’t going to cut it if you want to not just survive in the modern marketplace, and not just thrive, but lead it.
Why? Consumer’s Lives Aren’t Static, and Neither Are Their Needs
We mean this in more than the overall sense as each generation ages. Consumer lives aren’t static and your marketing needs to be capturing every moment possible. A decade ago, we couldn’t have imagined the role cell phones would play in the sales cycle. It isn’t just kids with a smartphone glued to their hand — 91% of smartphone users will look up how-to videos and other problem-solving techniques while actively working on a task. Even five years ago we couldn’t imagine that, while mobile sessions and conversions, went up (20% and 29% respectively) the amount of time spent per page visit would drop by 18%. There’s a demand for relevance in the moment, available around the clock, and it’s because consumers have become more loyal to their needs than to brands with something to sell.
This indicates that marketers should be reaching consumers where they are, when they are. The advantages shouldn’t be minimized, not when 62% of consumers are willing to pay more for brands that can offer them this kind of a personalized experience and another 48% will purchase more often. The costs can’t be ignored, either; some 73% of consumers are “fed up” with irrelevant content. This isn’t to say that you need to forgo or abandon traditional marketing (in fact, we’ll point out just the opposite in a moment), but it does mean you need to determine the methods and channels you need to add to your marketing portfolio. It’s possible to develop a strategy that utilizes segmentation and personalization to reach customers across all channels.
How? Even Common Techniques Like SEO Have Already Evolved
SEO tactics and techniques have evolved over the years. In its early days, it was just about having the right keywords, first in metadata, then in metadata and content, then in just the content. Then algorithms started to become much more intuitive and elaborate, all to combat the abuse of “black hat” techniques, such as keyword stuffing, that would artificially push certain types of sites to the top of results lists. The algorithms could now punish abusive sites by down ranking them while offering some serious lift to those sites that played by the rules. Having regular content began to matter, and in just the past few years, having quality content began to have a big influence on ranking. Nuanced ranking signals such as page load speeds came into play. Algorithms can evaluate a range of data to offer recommendations for shopping, local businesses, and social media. The latest evolutions in algorithm came last year when Google added device compatibility as a ranking signal.
It’s important to understand that these changes aren’t shaping consumer behavior. They’re caused by consumer behavior. Consider the fact that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. If it takes longer than three seconds, 40% will abandon the page. Google uses page load times in its rankings because consumers don’t want to waste their time on sites they’re just going to end up leaving, not the other way around. Similarly, Google enacted last year’s mobile-friendly ranking signal in response to how consumers were using their devices to access the internet and make purchases. It brings the emphasis right back around to our first point — consumer needs aren’t static.
Traditional Marketing Channels Are Evolving Too
As mentioned, the increasing, evolving needs of the digital space doesn’t mean that you should ignore traditional marketing channels. Rather, it’s important to understand that consumers aren’t differentiating between online and offline experiences, especially when it comes to brands. They want a smooth, integrated, omni-channel, and cross-device way to interact with your business, and that includes traditional formats.
Some 60% of consumers enjoy the act of checking their mail, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that 65% of consumers make purchases due to direct mail campaigns and 39% will try a business for the first time due to it. This includes the generation you would expect to reject physical mail; 71% of Millennials specifically have made a purchase in response to direct mail, 90% of Millennials consider direct mail trustworthy, and another 87% prefer receiving retail information in a physical format.
In many ways, traditional marketing led the way in cross-channel marketing developments. Consider the fact that separately, the average sales uplift of radio was only 17%, digital was only 14%, and TV was a mere 13%. Using two or three of those in combination, however, and the average lift becomes an astounding 20% or more. They’re also on the leading edge of omni-channel experiences; TV entered the streaming video space even as digital radio became prevalent. They represent a shift in how consumers use different mediums even as they supplement the digital space by balancing the interactive with the passive experience while building a more specific, personalized, and dynamic interaction by integrating tools.
When it comes down to it, the reason why doing things the way they’ve always been done isn’t going to cut it anymore is pretty obvious — consumer expectations and the path to purchase have completely changed. It’s time to take a long look at your marketing strategy and consider not only why your marketing strategy needs to evolve, but which methods need to change sooner rather than later.