Marketing has taken various twists and turns over the years as it tries to adjust to the rapidly changing facets of the world.
Then came COVID-19, which seemed to change the game and transform traditional views of many things, including technology and marketing.
Consumer choices, habits, and needs are changing. And it is most important for businesses to strive to understand what’s changing about the attitudes of consumers and how to market to the upcoming generation of consumers.
We understand that personalization and omni-channel marketing have become cliches when it comes to discussing the future of marketing.
However, both tactics are now so generally accepted that it is necessary to look further forward at business trends, particularly those that will shape consumer choices in the years to come.
Before discovering how to market to the consumer of the future, we first need to answer the question: who is the customer of the future?
Some facts about the consumer of the future:
- Prioritizes digital experiences.
- Demands a higher standard of social consciousness from brands.
- Is influenced by relatable engagement.
- Adopts voice technology.
Digital Experience in Consumer Marketing
There has been growing, albeit slow, adoption of digital platforms among consumers over the years. Yet, last year’s figures show a much sharper rise, primarily due to the immediate impacts of COVID-19.
This may have redefined customer habits forever.
The uptick in virtual shopping stems from the privation of social contact. Also, consumers have fully realized that digital activities are more convenient.
Therefore, in consumer markets across industries and sectors, digital experiences continue to upend non-digital activities.
The digital revolution has rightly led businesses to integrate online and offline factors into a fused customer journey.
However, with the latest turn of events, we will see more and more online-only customer journeys, which begin online and end online.
The consumer of the future is more concerned with experience than they are with product, whether digital or physical.
There is an increased necessity for the use of data analytics to understand the customer journey and tailor the experience for each user.
The marketing tools of the future would be those that enable marketing and growth teams to integrate data from various sources.
These sources (CRMs, search analytics, social media engagement, etc.) are useful for presenting a consolidated overview of customer experience insights.
Brand Social Consciousness
The latter generations of Millenials and Gen Z have a greater awareness of societal inequality. Thus, they prefer to associate with brands that contribute their effort towards achieving less inequality.
As a brand, it is no longer enough to care about making a great product and profit; you need to promote ideals that demonstrate concern for people and social issues.
According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer report, belief-driven buyers, who made up 64% of consumers, would choose, switch, avoid, and boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.
Further, the survey revealed that 78% of buyers expect brands to put customers before profits. More so, 71% said that they would lose trust in a brand forever if they perceive that the brand does otherwise.
Brands must increasingly demonstrate concern for people, particularly those in their audience demographics, and the issues that concern them.
Customer Engagement and Influencer Marketing
The A. T. Kearney Global Future Consumer Study outlines the factors leading to the rise of the influence model among the consumers of the future.
One of such is hyper-connectivity, particularly among the younger generation. Each person is connected with every other person, and constantly so.
Therefore, the impacts of brand decisions in relating with their customers, positively or negatively, get overblown.
The individual voice is more powerful than it used to be since voices can be more easily amplified due to the connectivity.
This coincides with the rise of micro-influence in the influencer market. Traditional influencer marketing has been the preserve of major celebrities and macro-influencers.
However, while those still hold a good amount of influence, obviously, younger generations are more drawn to local, more engaging influencers. These include non-traditional influencers such as bloggers and vloggers.
Therefore, influencer marketing to the consumer of the future should dwell more on targeting smaller segments. It also involves using more micro-influencers in order to connect with each portion of the audience.
Businesses should focus on building communities led by micro-influencers.
It is not about the number of followers (even though that matters to some extent); it is more about the relevance and impact of the influence a person holds.
Voice marketing has been continually hailed as the next big thing in marketing for the past few years.
Although, it has not yet made a significant impact in actual marketing trends.
Perhaps marketers have overrated the scale of voice adoption. However, as long as the number of voice-enabled IoT devices keep increasing, we can anticipate a major marketing shift in that regard.
The consumer of the future prioritizes convenience, which is a very enticing selling point for most voice-controlled devices such as digital and home assistants.
The forward-thinking business should have a strategy to capture their voice-based audience.
Voice marketing has a huge potential because of the ubiquity of voice technology, which can be integrated to not just home assistants and smartphones but also smartwatches, automobiles and other wearables, smart TVs, and even regular home appliances.
Despite the seeming confusion about jumping into voice marketing, one thing is yet certain: the voice marketing revolution will begin with search. Hence, optimizing contents for voice search should be in your SEO strategy as well.
This article has been an examination of the consumers and the future of marketing from four key facets. That is, what they prioritize, what they demand, how they are influenced, and what they use.
Understanding these key needs of the consumer is key to taking advantage of the next series of trends in consumer marketing.
A good marketing strategy combines long-term thinking with calculated planning. Marketing remains a dynamic process of fine-tuning your tactics to the yearnings of the market.