What are the communication trends in digital marketing so far in 2019? To sum it up: Be adaptive. It doesn’t matter who your consumer is, reaching them and earning a share of their attention has never been more difficult because every week it seems something new grabs their attention.
For example, Millennials give brands, on average, 12 seconds of their focus before moving on. Gen Z, a whopping 8 seconds. The next generation behind them – the little ones growing up with their parents iPhone in hand – we might have time to get out a quick “hi” before they deem us irrelevant to them.
Consumers’ relevancy filters have advanced quickly, and without continuous adaptation to communication expectations for each generation, brands will fall out of the peripheral view.
Here are some of the biggest communication trends that were predicted in 2019 and how they’ve come to life in the first half of the year.
Social Channels Takeover Loyalty
62% of millennials are more loyal to brands who use SMS and OTT (over the top) messaging to contact them.
This doesn’t mean email is dead with Millennials (see our other blog post), but it does mean the device strapped to their fingertips is their preferred method of communication. We’ve seen this come to life with Facebook Messenger advertising and a massive increase in paid placements on instagram. This consumer group wants to engage with brands where they are engaging with their friends in a true two way dialogue. That makes it personal. And we know nothing will build more loyalty than a personal connection.
Mobile Optimized is Baseline
Not only will the majority of a brand’s traffic exist on mobile devices, consumers also expect you to know where they are when they’re interacting with you, on that mobile device. Location based offers deliver a level of relevancy consumers want. Look at Yelp and Around Me’s explosions years ago. Consumers want to know what brands have to offer, in their neighborhood, at any time. Capitalizing on that desire with location based targeting in your brand’s app or featuring zip code based specials via email will generate instant wins.
Personalized. To Me.
Remember what you just read about the two way dialogue? Nothing says “I see you, I get you, here’s something just for you” like personalization in communication. Today’s consumer connects with a brand that speaks to them on a variety of levels, including true data based insights around their purchase behavior. Not every brand can drill down to the individual level, but segmentation will be king in loyalty programs going forward. Mass offers and mass messages are turning into wallpaper, if you haven’t noticed that shift already.
Self Service. I Can Do It.
Despite wanting unique offers delivered to their fingertips, Millennials want to solve things on their own. Because they want a brand to feel like a human to human interaction, they’re avoiding call centers and robot driven conversations at all costs. 70% of consumers expect a self service application on a company’s website. This allows them to troubleshoot the issue on their terms, without having to pick up the phone. Creating a program that is not only relevant and personalized but also easy to use with readily available answers to questions will take brands a long way in the loyalty space.
If, as a brand or marketer, this feels lofty, don’t rewrite your entire communication strategy just yet. Start with small steps.
Tackle SMS piece by piece – do you have the right data? Do you have a valuable message to deliver? How can you slowly start to acquire this information from your existing and new customers? Build a solid audience base and start dipping your toe in the water with a test group. See how it does. Build from there.
Put time and focus into your app. Consumers prefer loyalty programs that deliver an app based experience with all of their information and offers in one place. This is a huge opportunity for brands to maximize their connection with loyal consumers and should receive attention.
Segmentation can be an iterative process. Does your audience fall within one or two categories? Start messaging to them differently. Can you track engagement and start to understand what type of content your consumers are interacting with? Start to divvy your audience up between purchase triggers and deliver relevant messages that way. Explore a survey deployed directly to your audience. Learn, optimize, and expand the program.
Consumers’ expectations are reaching a new high. By monitoring how they communicate and consume information and shifting or evolving your delivery, you’ll earn a spot in their over crowded attention span.