Connecting with tomorrow’s customer today to build your business.

Cian McDonagh
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On: 18 Oct 2018
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Mobile apps and channels

Tomorrow’s customers are here already and they’re the ones you can’t see.

Relatively recent changes in consumer behaviour, such as researching purchases online rather than in-store and expecting the option to communicate by text rather than call, represent an enormous shift which requires action if we are to attract and engage our future customers.

Consumers now like to experiment; they are less loyal and more dynamic. They are more likely to try different communications channels (e.g. WhatsApp, Twitter, web chat) and have more of a tendency to change providers and preferred brands. Consumers reward brands that engage with them and they are more likely to make quick decisions with brands they trust. They are quick to change direction if they are not happy with a service or find a better deal elsewhere.

Although these changes have been driven by the digital age, there’s no need for businesses to panic and jump on any digital bandwagon that’s passing. Sure some aspects are digitally enabled, i.e. making interaction with your customers more seamless and available over multiple channels, but most are just good old-fashioned marketing practices. The key principles remain broadly the same as they’ve always been: create awareness, incite consideration and drive conversion.

The key principles remain broadly the same as they’ve always been: create awareness, incite consideration and drive conversion.

Creating awareness has perhaps become more challenging in the digital age. With messages bombarding people from many digital channels, it’s harder than ever to gain the attention of the people you want to engage with. One way of making gains in the “attention economy” is to understand the ways in which marketing – although built on the same principles as always – has changed. Whereas it was previously focused on making people want things, the knowledge “tomorrow’s customers” have of marketing and their reluctance to be sold to, means that rather than making people want something, marketing is now about making something people want and then telling them about it.

Consumers are better informed than ever.

They no longer rely on sales people or even advertising, but instead proactively conduct their own research, both online and among their peers (through customer reviews, for example). By the time they are ready to engage with your brand, they are further along their buying journey.

They’re also harder to locate. Trying to second-guess where and how they will want to engage (whether via Facebook or Twitter, WhatsApp or Snapchat, or whatever tomorrow’s new channel will be) will see you chasing your own tail for little or no reward. Far more effective is to engage their attention by providing them with information of value and relevance. This means that, once again, even as you aim to engage with “tomorrow’s consumers”, you can return to today’s tried and tested principles:

  1. Define your objective.
  2. Let that objective decide your strategy.
  3. Allow that strategy to influence your choice of channel(s).

Once you have chosen your route to meet your customer, you should also ensure you give them your relevant and valuable message in a way that suits the channel they’re receiving it through. Your aim is to cut through the clutter, but not through standing out like a dad on a dance floor.

The old adage that “if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door” has now become “if you give people relevant information, they will seek it out.” Tomorrow’s customers are here. Tell them something they need to know today.

For more ideas on growing your business, see Three’s: