1. Is there a gap between marketing and consumer?
How long will traditional marketing still work? What channels can we use to communicate effectively with those customers who know or do not (yet) know our brand, product, service? How do we build a bridge to the new type of consumer - the consumer digital?
These are the questions which marketers put themselves every day in marketing departments. Their torment is understandable given the changes technology has brought into our personal and professional life in recent years.
Traditional marketing often proves ineffective and requires its integration with digital marketing. Their weight varies by industry. Effective communication channels are already via the mobile phones, because in Romania 53% of people access the internet on their mobile devices.
2. What do digital consumers do differently?
If globally 62% of consumers are digital consumers, who rely on technology to go through at least three stages of the purchase process, in Romania this percentage exceeds 40% and is growing rapidly.
Digital consumers – what they do differently? In Romania, 62% of digital consumers inform exclusively online to search for the product or service they want. Accessing reviews from multiple sources, they check companies' marketing messages and choose the channel on which they wish to purchase - online or offline. Digital consumers’ buying decision is 56-67% based on advice given by friends and acquaintances.
Another extremely important aspect that marketers must consider is that, in Romania, only 21% of consumers are influenced by loyalty to the brand in the purchase decision. 32% of them are quality and reliability-oriented in their purchase decisions, and 90% will give negative feedback if the quality is below expectations.
What else is different now? We already see an increasing proportion of generation Y among consumers, from now on, also of generation Z. Millenials and Gen Z have a well-established presence online and communicate a lot in real time. Studies show that 45% of these young people generate content on their vlog/blog or personal social media accounts, while 32% are interested in sustainability and corporate values in deciding what and where to buy.
3. So, what options are there now for marketers?
On what should we base the relationship with these consumers to be a sustainable one? The answer is obvious: on authenticity, values, transparency in information, empathy, involvement and communication.
With the help of technology, marketing has the option to create User Generated Content campaigns to facilitate customer engagement. Platforms such as tintup.com allow companies to integrate this type of campaign in the most effective way in their current practices.
Another option is to use channels that facilitate real-time communication with consumers and the best example is Snapchat. Very few companies in Romania, among those who could benefit greatly from using this channel, develop campaigns on Snapchat.
The option which is best manifested in Romania, but nowhere near the potential it has, is related to the use of brand advocacy platforms (eg. influitive.com). Thus, the most enthusiastic consumers of a brand can become influencers or brand ambassadors in a structured and measurable manner.
All the above options are part of the new direction called Authentic Marketing. Authentic marketing is the way to digital consumer, which is built on confidence supported and validated by an open relationship with them.
Authentic Marketing starts to question that every company should begin with, namely: who are we? Authentic marketing is based on a genuine willingness to communicate openly and consistently. This approach presupposes the active involvement of consumers in generating content, in co-creation and open innovation, and especially in communicating brand values proactively. In Authentic Marketing, communication has a very human, tone, as well as an offhand and fluid structure.
4. Bringing it all together
Yes, maybe there is a gap between the customer and marketing – one created in decades of campaigns that were not telling the truth or the whole truth – but we can bridge it using Authentic Marketing. This approach includes: agility, giving up control, user generated content campaigns, brand advocacy, using real-time marketing. That’s because, at the base of Authentic Marketing are the common values of the company, consumers, the community to which they belong and their consistent support.