There's no stopping the digital drive that our world is experiencing. New technologies are being developed every second, each affecting consumers in a different way. Although there's no way of knowing for certain without trial and error which ones will influence your customers most, here are some areas to consider:
E-commerce has taken our world by storm in recent years. This paired with the advancement of cell phone technology and mobile data enhancements invites customers to shop everywhere they go, including on their smartphones.
With both Apple and Android platforms rolling out the "mobile wallet," which will be compatible for payments with debit and credit, you can expect some of your customers to want to pay using their mobile devices instead of pulling out their physical cards.
Additionally, most major banking institutions offer mobile baking apps for smartphones. This allows consumers to check their account balances, transfer funds and even pay bills, all at their fingertips, making online shopping that much more convenient, and we do live in a era driven by convenience.
With the use of smartphones increasing, it's important that your online content, including web pages, e-commerce, blogs, etc., are all mobile friendly! If your website isn't a responsive design, you are loosing out on sales.
Many consumers use a smartphone in order to take advantage applications. Apple, Android and yes, even Blackberry, each have millions of applications that sync with their respective devices, many of which, are consumer-related. Whether it be apps created by their banking institution, favorite retailer, an app that supports an industry they're interested in, or one that follows a professional sports team, you can bet that your customers are downloading and using apps on a regular basis.
There are even applications that support retailer-based point systems and/or gift cards. The PC Plus application, for example, houses the member's "card" along with customized offers that can be loaded each week. When the customer presents his or her mobile phone at the checkout, the cashier will scan the device and award the correct amount of points. Starbucks has a rewards system app as well, but also offers the option of actually paying for your beverages with your phone. Users register their reloadable gift cards to the app and then use it at the cafe. When the card depletes, customers can reload it conveniently from their devices.
Social media continues to be on the rise among users of all demographics. Facebook alone estimates over 1.28 billion monthly users, so I find it completely baffling how there are businesses out their that choose not to have social media profiles.
In addition to ensuring you're using the right platforms, you need to regularly update your channels with interest-grabbing content. After all, the number one reason people "unlike" a page on Facebook is due to uninteresting posts.
In recent years, content has become a staple in a good marketing plan. Traditional marketing budgets are being rearranged to make room for quality content to be published online. We're beginning to see less banner ads and more content with advertisements worked into them because that's what consumers want.
Another way content marketing will have an effect on your customers is the fact that having a content marketing strategy (and putting it into action) will allow for higher search engine rankings. Content attracts more shares and links; this in turn boosts rankings.
We've all seen it: one minute you're searching for pizza on Google and the next an add for a local pizzeria pops up on the side panel of your Facebook page. With the increase in digital marketing, it only makes sense that localized marketing is also on the rise. With web and mobile use growing at the exponential rates that they have been year after year, more of these ads are becoming visible to your customers.
Eye-catching, effective and localized pay per click adds are already making considerable impact on several buying markets, make sure yours is one of them.
Consumers are naturally enticed by visual content. In fact, over 50% of consumers admit that they are more comfortable making an online purchase if they watch a product video beforehand.
Sharing videos is quickly becoming the fastest way to get your brand noticed on social media platforms. According to DigiDay, a whopping 92% of people who view videos via a mobile device share them with others.
The consumer world we have become accustomed to is evolving at a rapid pace into a "digital consumer world". By doing the research and pursuing these trends, you'll be sure to stay top of mind with your customers.
Today's marketing is all about the integrated lives of consumers. The right digital tools will help you get the right message across to the right audience at the right time though the right channels. Consumers have all the power, and brands need to reach out to them the way consumers want to be reached out to.
If you want to learn more about how to reach your audience with the right message at the right time through the right channels, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than happy to chat.
Steven Tulman is the CEO of Social Pulse Marketing Inc., a leading influencer marketing agency. He is a social media marketing and sales expert, and an entrepreneur with a passion for helping companies grow through effective online marketing strategies, improved sales performance, and overall customer experience.