The Rise Of The “Entitled Consumer”
Power-wielding consumers have changed the game for marketers. There are the “deletists,” who, once disappointed by a marketing effort, eliminate all communication with a brand forever. There are the “con artists,” who deliberately abandon their shopping carts in order to receive discounts. And, of course, there are the “socialites,” who, immune to traditional advertising, entertain only brands that they find organically through social media. So where do you start? How to do create a marketing strategy that adds value and engages the Entitled Consumer?
Context Is Key
Context can make or break communication – and, ultimately, the relationship between you and your consumer. Today’s entitled consumers expect relevant communications that speak directly to their needs in any given moment. The technology to deliver such messages exists – but adoption remains slow. 76 per cent of marketers have failed to use behavioural data in segmentation and execution. The most common reasons for this, I hear, tend to sound something like this “our data exists in siloes”, “the email team doesn’t talk to the mobile team” and “we don’t know where to start”.
The truth is that data has always been hard to harness from different sources, however being able to gain this single view of the customer and use behavioural data to execute marketing is no longer optional. There are additional opportunities – if not expectations – for marketers to use contextual data to better reach and engage audiences through optimal channels. Failure to adopt this approach will mean you risk losing market-share to your competitors.
In the past decade or so the relationship between consumers and brands has radically altered. Richard White first noted that consumer behaviour has radically shirted, accelerated by a global recession. We have witnessed a surge towards subscription and freemium models, increasing saturation of digital marketing channels, increased competition and decreasing customer loyalty.
It’s the recipe for an era whereby consumers have huge expectations from marketers, redefined by the plethora of technology available and the volume of consumer data, they’re willing to share in order to receive special treatment. Selligent recently carried out research which involved surveying 108 senior marketing executives to understand how marketers are embracing this new reality.
A key finding of the research was that marketers are still struggling to ‘use context’ – relying primarily on high-level demographic data to understand customers, and we all know that isn’t enough. A whopping 89 per cent of marketers are tracking the website behaviour of anonymous users, however only 32 per cent are regularly differentiating loyal customers from the churning ones. Understanding this differentiation enables marketers to address these two important segments accordingly. Failure to do so can prevent marketers from delivering contextualised messaging to add real value to the customer.
So much budget is utilised on acquiring new customers, so brands cannot afford to lose hard-won customers, yet many marketers remain focussed on easy-to-access data that only scratches the surface of who the customer really is. Failure to look beyond demographics, behavioural insights, profitability and lifetime value of customers means that key opportunities to wisely engage and retail are lost.
As mentioned earlier, change and adoption can be difficult and we see this to be particularly true in larger companies with diverse departments. This may explain why 67 per cent of CMOs surveyed admitted to not taking advantage of contextual data and the technologies available. The research also showed that marketers are actually waiting for their competitors to make the first move. 81 per cent admitted they would increase their use of situational data only if their competitors started first. In this era of shopper promiscuity, the battle for customer loyalty is fiercer than ever. CMOs need to ask themselves whether they want to disrupt the competition or simply react to the competition. Embracing contextual marketing before your rivals is essential.
The Solution – A Consumer-First Approach To Engage Entitled Consumers
Failing to use contextual data results in poorly executed marketing communications – at a time where consumer attention is the most precious commodity. These Entitled Consumers are digital natives with the highest expectations of marketing – they want brands to deliver relevance across everything that they do. In other words, marketers need to earn the right to gain consumers’ precious attention.
The key is in using customer needs and expectations as a lens in which to see how your brand can engage in a given moment with contextual relevance. Whenever your brand is able to exceed those consumer expectations and still accomplish its own goals is a win-win. Such an approach empowers marketing teams to simplify and focus on the most important programs. Furthermore, embracing the right technology can help marketers to reach higher levels of 1:1 engagement at scale. Data and technology is undoubtedly important but, a Consumer-First approach is critical for success.
Recognising individual consumers across every communication channel and connecting these with existing consumer data (such as purchase history, lifetime value and location) will help marketers to improve engagement, conversation and brand loyalty – within context.