Charles Darwin wrote that it’s not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survives, but that which is most adaptable to change. We are in the middle of a period of rapid technological change, which requires rapid evolution in the way we attract and retain customers and inspire advocates.
This presents a challenge to marketers. How do we market to a tech-savvy audience? I am not going to limit this to a generation issue, people of all ages can be tech savvy, but especially adept are the ‘digital native’ population that has grown up with technology.
The way many leading organisations have used technology in their customer service and marketing has raised the bar of expectation among the public.
To market to or serve a tech-savvy audience brands need to address five key areas: Mobility, Social, Product Experience, Search and Customer Service.
Take a mobile-first approach
The future is mobile. This seems obvious but even today many organisations still do not have a responsive website design or – if their service warrants it – an app.
With their audiences spending nearly 10 hours a day on mobile devices, it is only natural that today’s marketers should focus on spreading their brand message over this platform. This is not limited to smart use of social media, native app and mobile web advertising, but also a strong focus on improvements in the mobile product experience - a topic many marketers forget is part of their marketing mix.
Added to this, Google’s search algorithm now punishes websites that are not mobile-friendly, meaning organisations without mobile-friendly sites will slowly but surely see a decline in valuable search traffic.
Evolve your social media
Social media has become the medium of choice for younger generations to consume news, entertainment and offers the ideal place for self-expression. Social platforms function not only as a connector between friends and family but are increasingly being used to keep up to date regarding the latest trends in fashion, lifestyle and upcoming events, to name a few. Users will actively follow brands they are interested in, which provides a fantastic opportunity to build up a relationship with your audience, learn from the instant customer feedback and target them with your marketing message.
The challenge lies in keeping the audience engaged. Since the consumption of social media is very high and the content usually provides short bursts of entertainment, the attention span of the audience is quite low. Organisations such as Visit Dubai do a great job at showing us on how to use social media channels in new and innovative ways while keeping the audience engaged.
The true value of social media is not easy to measure - although the correct tracking and playing around with attribution models does wonders - which is why most pure performance-driven companies neglect the medium. However, similarly to TV, the investment might seem negative at first but the benefits of building a strong brand will vastly out weight the quick wins of performance marketing over a prolonged period of time.
With the constant innovation and adaptation of technology, today’s consumer is accustomed to easy-to-use, high-quality digital products. Audiences are quick to spot poor design, buggy functionality and missing (or useless) product features. And they have no problem being vocal about the experience, and rightly so.
Offering a product that is not only aesthetically appealing but also user-friendly should be the focus of any digital company. Today’s marketer should not only be concerned about the artwork and copy testing – but show as much interest in customer research, user experience (UX) testing and a product roadmap that is based on data rather than opinions. The best thing in your marketing portfolio is a well-designed, functional product that your customers want to keep using.
Search is changing
Tech-savvy people will be adept at using search engines and know what terms to use to find what they want, but the way we search is changing. People increasingly use voice search, so organisations need to keep abreast of changing search habits and optimise for those search terms.
While short-form content is great for brand awareness and top-of-the-funnel activity, there is still a role for deep content such as long-form articles. Again, Google’s search algorithm likes long-form content and longer articles perform well on search engines.
Offer multichannel customer service
The consumer should logically be central to your customer service strategy. Using social media as a conversation platform with your audience is, therefore, a logical and necessary step to take for companies that service the tech savvy, and/ or digital native audience. Not only does this provide an easy and great user experience but it ultimately also strengthens your online brand image.
Integrated bots in messenger services in order to answer frequently asked questions is another great way of simplifying the information stream. Think of a set of hashtags the user can send within the messenger functionality, that activate an automatic response that gets sent back within the conversation window. People expect brands to be responsive 24/7, and automating at least a part of the conversation is not only cost efficient but also provides a great user experience.
To conclude, marketing to a tech-savvy audience forces all organisations to think mobile-first, focus on a multichannel, multiplatform approach, personalise and be as customer focused as possible, all whilst keeping the customer engaged in an entertaining way.
All of which brings us back to Darwin. It is not the strongest and most intelligent brands that will survive this unprecedented period of upheaval in marketing, but the brands that are most adaptable to change. Which one are you?
By Bart Visser, director of brand marketing at EliteSingles
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