Today’s commercial environment is a lot different from how it was half a century or even a couple of decades ago. A new generation of customers has taken prominence, whose shopping habits have even affected the older generation. They are now using new technologies that have changed the way we interact with our customers, for better or worse. Customers are a lot smarter in their shopping habits, and no longer connect with generic advertisements and heavy-handed marketing strategies.
Customers Tune Out Noise
In addition to traditional forms of media like radio, print, and radio, customers now have access to the Internet, smartphones, and other forms of digital communication. This has ramped up the noise level to the point that customers have to tune out messages, or risk being overwhelmed by the deluge of information. Traditionally broadcast one-way marketing communications have a harder time getting through, just because customers are now more selective about what they pay attention to.
To compensate, businesses have to learn to create more compelling and eye-catching content, and to learn how to use the various communications channels effectively. Email marketing, for example, is strongly associated with spammers and con artists and can easily turn into over marketing. And yet there are email marketing campaigns that do cut through the chaff, and make it through to an interested customer. They accomplish this by being aware of the customer’s prejudices against email, and working to stand out by sending out well-crafted content that the customer will find attractive and valuable. You have to learn the rules of your chosen medium if you want your message to stand out.
More Customers Are Doing Their Research
The days of customers being spoon-fed information are over. With all this access to information, customers are now taking the initiative and reading up on your products and those of your competitors. They are educating themselves on issues surrounding your product, and making informed choices on which product will be right for them.
Not every customer is doing this of course, but enough of them are making a big difference in the way we market. We have to be ready to supply them with the information they’re looking for. Content marketing is an excellent way to satisfy your customers’ craving for information. In addition to giving them information they need to make an informed purchase, it also cements you as a thought leader in your industry. Also, being impartial in your content marketing increases your stock with customers, as it shows that you’re more concerned about them than you are with shilling your product.
Customers are More Vocal
Thanks to new communication mediums, customers now have more direct access to businesses and a greater voice when talking to fellow consumers. If the customer was diligent enough, they’d be able to send feedback straight to a company president or CEO, or express their views of a product to thousands of people at a time. This wider reach can be a positive or a negative, depending on how the business reacts.
Vocal customers are a godsend. They are freely giving you information that your marketing and sales team would kill for. It would be foolish not to act on it. This is especially true if the feedback is negative. Very rarely do you get to know why customers are unhappy. More often than not, the average consumer would just stop using your brand and not tell you way. Treat every customer communication like the golden opportunity that it is. If you can win them over, they will turn into your strongest advocates.
Customer behavior is changing, and that means your business has to change to. You are not losing opportunities, but rather gaining new ones. If you can move with your customers and deliver what they find important—information, engagement, and value—then you’ll be well-placed to succeed in the modern business age.