Ahead of his presentation at the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference on 20 July, we chatted to Chris Baldwin, Head of Marketing at Selligent, about what marketers should be doing to make sure their message appeals to the savviest digital consumers. From changing consumer behaviour, to attention-grabbing multi-channel communication, find out how this lucrative and open-minded consumer base understands the digital landscape, and what they expect from the brands they interact with.
Who Is The “Entitled Consumer?”
CB: “There is a new cohort of consumers becoming more prominent in the marketplace, who cannot be simply defined by their generation. Forget talking about millennials and Gen-Z. Consumer behaviour has changed drastically, and it transcends generational categorisation or gross generalisation.
“Digital innovation and a proliferation of channels has fundamentally altered the way we consume products, services – even marketing messages. These shifts have created an environment whereby consumers are hyper-connected and providing huge amounts of data to brands – more than 5,200 gigabytes per man, woman and child, according to IDC (2012). The acknowledgement of this data transfer, combined with disruptors in the marketplace and constantly raising expectations, has led to an environment where individual consumers feel ‘entitled’. By this, I mean that individuals are conditioned to expect hyper-personalised and relevant messages and offers. Failure to do so will damage a brand’s relationship with the consumer . Amplified by social media, we are in an era where users, not brands, wield unprecedented power.
How has multichannel marketing changed the structure of the customer journey? What challenges does this cause?
CB: “Let’s make one thing clear, there is a huge difference between ‘multichannel’ and ‘omnichannel’. The first describes the ability for brands to communicate across a multitude of channels, from email, SMS, push notification, site, social and more. Omnichannel marketing is the ability to recognise individual consumers across these channels, in a unified profile to create a journey that is not fragmented or nonsensical, but fluid, integrated and informed. It allows marketers to communicate with relevance, in the moment, depending on an individual’s unique context.
“While there are unique challenges in creating a data model which allows for this unified customer profile – it is not impossible, and it does indeed exist today. Specific challenges which I hear about frequently include legacy systems, inflexible technology stacks, team structure and departmental KPIs. While these offer unashamed challenges, opportunity lies in the ability to tackle them head-on and become a disruptor.
“With increasing opt-out rates and lower engagement across the board, traditional marketing models need to change from being channel-centric to consumer-centric. Marketers need to enhance every customer-brand interaction by looking beyond individual touchpoints, to create a holistic journey that focusses on the critical moments that have a huge impact on deepening customer relationships and creating loyalty. A new way of working is needed to engage the disengaged.”
What role does contextualisation play in a an omnichannel strategy? How will this help to cater for the “entitled consumer” mind-set?
CB: “The key to winning entitled consumers is to understand and act on personal data and use it to build marketing initiatives that create winning experiences. A Consumer-First approach to marketing is required. Contextual understanding of desires and preferences is a key aspect of consumer-first marketing, as it opens up new possibilities for merchants to deliver on needs through the smart use of data. It goes far beyond knowing who your customer is and where he is located.
“The aim is to continuously build out a rounded profile of your customer. This approach can include tracking behavioural data, transactional data, data from social media and much more. The key is to create and offer content that is both relevant and valuable for consumers – and where there is no fitting way to communicate, don’t. It is better to be silent than irrelevant.
“For marketers to rise to the challenge of meeting the expectations of the ‘entitled consumer’ – context is key. According to research recently carried out by Selligent, which involved canvassing the views of 108 senior marketing executives, 67 per cent of CMOs admitted to not taking advantage of contextual data and the technologies available. The research also showed that 81 per cent of marketing leaders are actually waiting for their competitors to make the first move! This is an astonishing number, but also means that agile and niche brands can take advantage of larger players’ inability to transform, to win market share and disrupt.
“In this era of shopper promiscuity, the battle for customer loyalty is fiercer than ever. CMOs need to embrace contextual marketing. It isn’t a fad; it’s a fundamental change in how marketers reach out and engage consumers throughout the customer lifecycle. It’s about a brand understanding the needs of a consumer in real-time, respecting their preferences and delivering value in that moment. It’s the key to tackling today’s ‘entitled consumer’.”