Marketing in the Age of the Empowered Consumer
Clinging to the old style, marketing that puts a target on passive consumers in the center of the ad ecosystem just won’t work any longer. Marketers are experiencing more and more consumer resistance that in recent days has overcome even the smartest of ad targeting options. You simply will not get past the consumer’s growing sensitivity to ads even if you can temporarily get past the technology that blocks them.
There’s no mystery surrounding the change in consumers’ attitude. Ad proliferation, increasingly jarring, intrusive, creepy, and disruptive ad types, and privacy and security scares linked to ad exposures have left consumers feeling targeted and vulnerable. In an expanding universe of available content sources and channels with technology options that can reduce consumer risk and pain they have choices. More and more consumers are making the choice to reduce or avoid ads.
While consumers gain options, marketers are faced with fewer options to reach their audiences effectively. And while they still have access to consumers, it is increasingly on the consumers’ terms. The best way to create “brandtime” with consumers is to offer them something of value. That could be relevant info, access to deals, engaging or entertaining content, vibrant communities or useful tools. When orchestrated and supported effectively those branded experiences can build over time to create consumer preference, purchase, loyalty and advocacy. So marketing still works, but we have to work it differently.
The art of persuasion, of the big idea delivered with impact and repetitively conveyed with blunt force in the form of neon ads or jingles or catch phrases was dependent on a structure that guaranteed access to deliver. This is old thinking, Marketers and the whole ad industry will need to listen and adapt — taking the scenario of passive consumers out of our heads so we can fully prepare for our future.
With over 20 years of online experience Robin Neifield serves as the CEO of Netplus, a top interactive agency, and as the trusted digital guide for CMOs. She has been widely published and quoted on digital strategy and has been a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events like Search Engine Strategies, OMMA, Ad:Tech and others where her insights are sought on varied marketing topics such as digital strategy, behavioral targeting, social media marketing, search engine and conversion optimization, localization strategies and proximity marketing, mobile gaming and email marketing. You can find her on LinkedIn, or reach her by email or phone, (610) 304-9990.