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A road map for keeping up with the always-on consumer

Posted by Betsy Farber on April 7th, 2014 at 11:27 am

To kick off iMedia's first ever Canadian Summit in Montreal, Geoff Ramsey, chairman and co-founder of eMarketer, spoke about how marketers can better reach today's connected consumer.  When it comes to the connected consumer, the most important point for brands and marketers to remember is that fragmentation rules. Marketers struggle to put the pieces together with mobile devices and different social networks in order to create a lock on who their consumers actually are. Fifty percent of consumers own a smartphone, but fragmentation isn't just about devices. It's about understanding where consumers focus their time and attention.

Somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of us are doing something else while watching TV, according to a number of global sources.  And according to TBD Canada, half of Canadian consumers are simultaneously watching TV while engaging with the internet in someway, be it on mobile, tablet, or computer.  Thirty-five percent of mobile users in Canada, use their devices while they watch TV and searching for information specific to the show they are viewing. Mobile users, in general, check their devices about 100 times a day. And it goes without saying, that mobile is a persistent, anywhere state channel that marketers must conquer.

The consumer attitude towards marketers, brands, and creative agencies that produce content is "a little scary," says Ramsey. There is a resistance and lack of trust toward marketers and their messages. Based on three or four dozens of sets of global research studies that tried to rank the hierarchy of trusted or influential sources and how consumers came to purchasing decisions, the overwhelming number one choice was recommendations from family and friends (80-95 percent). Number two was consumer ratings and reviews (70-80 percent), and beyond that the trust factor is around 50-60 percent for editorial content, brand websites, and ads on TV/radio/and print. The not-so trusted means that marketers use were ads on social sites, banner, and mobile ads. The key takeaway, is that traditional interrupt and disrupt ad approaches will have less and less effect, especially on mobile devices. So how are marketers to keep up with the connected consumer?

Few brands and marketers are meeting this big data challenge, and it's essential to recognize customers as they interact across multiple channels. There are four steps to take to better reach consumers:

  • Admit that you have a problem -- to what extent are you integrating online and offline data?
  • Realize that circuitous has become the new linear in marketing -- marketers need to let go of the funnel model and move toward a more dynamic "consumer journey" model.
  • Pull data together  -- to gather the streams of data from mobile, social media, and video and marry with offline data to provide an anecdote to fragmentation by delivering messages that are contextually relevant.
  • Fight multi-tasking – The goal is to present consistent messaging across every channel and device to create a more seamless consumer experience.

Smart use of date across multiple channels will be the only way to stay abreast of consumer expectations. This means harvesting smart data in real-time by aligning consumer insights and paid media that will amplify your messages. Nothing is static anymore and the always-on consumer wants you to keep up with their needs by being timely and relevant.

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