I’m often asked the question “what’s the next big thing in digital marketing?”. The truth is that the next big thing isn’t one thing at all, it’s everything. As consumers we are overwhelmed with data. We reach for our smart phones as soon as we wake up in the morning to check email and our favorite news, weather and social media channels. We use Waze to get to our appointments more quickly, use our online apps to help us perform our jobs, order lunch using GrubHub, use GoToMeeting so we can still meet while we’re mobile, search product reviews and price comparisons while standing in a retail store, Tweet or Periscope our every move and check in with our social media channels…again.
It has become so bad that a recent psychological study revealed that we humans now have an attention span less than that of a goldfish, and it’s dropping. We have become information junkies, getting our quick fix and then clicking on to the next thing that captures our attention. Some would call this shiny object syndrome, or at its worse, perhaps we’re all a little ADD. We’re constantly taking pictures and videos, are completely addicted to our devices, and despite the fact that neuroscience has proven otherwise, we truly believe that we can multitask.
So how can a well-meaning marketer possibly break through the clutter and capture the attention of the target consumer? There are some key principles that apply here:
- Know your customer – do your research, create personas (target personality profiles) that speak to those target market segments and really speak to them when you write. Use the channels they want to use and information that is truly relevant to them. Psychology and neuroscience are increasingly being applied to purchasing behavior. Someone who is looking to buy a home in Coconut Grove, for example, and signs up to a realtor’s email list, probably doesn’t care about properties just listed in Westchester, unless when they signed up they told you that they want Miami area information.
- Gather data – since you can’t personally speak to every potential prospect who lands on your website or social media page, understand where those customers were before they came to you, as well as their behavior when they come to your page.
- Don’t give up paper entirely – with the rising trend in digital, sometimes a carefully selected mail piece can stand out from the crowd. Great examples are birthday, mother’s day and father’s day card WITH A HANDWRITTEN message, or certain forms of direct mail postcards.
- Adopt a multi-channel strategy – these days customers quite often are purchasing from a different channel then they research. For example, while standing in Best Buy they are pulling up company reviews on Facebook and then price checking at Amazon. They get your business card at a function then check out your web page and social media on their mobile phone, search Google maps to find where you are and then click to call you from Google maps. So is it more important to have a website, Facebook page or Google+? The answer is…all of them. While we know the traffic that came to your website, if they checked there one day and then went to your Facebook page the next and then Googled you and clicked to call, the trail becomes a little muddier. So from the perspective of your brand, you need to be in as many channels as you can effectively manage.
Connect online and off-line – Use digital media to enhance the offline user experience. Engage with a local event via sponsorships or an on-line presence, and promote the connection via social media. Send a postcard with a code to enter on a special website landing page to receive a free download of information.
Remember that devices aren’t mobile, people are, and behind all this strategy are real people searching for solutions. Be that breath of fresh air. Find a way to really connect.