Marketing as usual is not going to be an option in 2016. Consumers are becoming less forgiving of brands that disappoint them and they are willing to use hashtag activism on social media to rally others against brands and companies that disappoint them.
Over the past year I have led a lot of research with consumers on a variety of topics and the key findings indicate that consumers are becoming smarter than marketers and are fact checking every sales pitch. Among the other key findings..
1ne: Millennials are more individual than past demographic segments and should not be lumped into a single set of “characteristics”.
2wo: Consumers are willing to forgive some brands for missteps, Starbucks, for example, but other brands, McDonalds, are seen in a negative light despite trying to please customers.
3hree: Consumers are more willing than ever to switch brands based on price.
4our: When a customer voices a concern or problem with a product via social media, brands need to respond and to respond in Internet time. If they don’t, they risk losing customers at a time when they can ill afford to lose them.
5ive: People, in general, are sick of ads. They are cutting the cord and switching to online streaming and get angry at websites that interrupt them with irrelevant ads. The rise in online ad blockers should be a wake-up call to everyone.
6ix: Just because a consumer has converted to a customer does not mean that they want to have a “relationship” with your brand beyond the basic brand promise.
Is mass marketing dead? Not really. A new ice cream product can probably reach the right consumers with a mass marketing campaign, but marketers have to better understand the difference between “interrupting” and “informing”. Other brands, however, need to listen more and talk less to understand the microsegments of consumers who become customers.