3 Attributes of Today's Consumer

3 Attributes of Today’s Consumer

With the rise of online consumerism, it is crucial for businesses to understand their customers, and what they want in a product. Plus, in a digital age where anything and everything can be found online, the proper marketing tactics must be implemented to have the desired effect on the target audience.

 

Take a minute and imagine the world we were in 10 years ago (it’s hard to believe 2007 was 10 years ago). Facebook was still competing with MySpace for traffic, Amazon was primarily known for selling books, and the iPhone was just released. Back in those days, the way we shopped for products was drastically different from the way we shop today.

 

Today’s Consumer Is…

 

Curious

“Curiosity just might be the most important desire a content marketer has to elicit in a story.” Consumers enjoy browsing the internet for the latest and greatest products. With digital ads tailored to these consumer searches, websites have the ability to project their ads through social media outlets which then propels the consumer to respond to the click bait. “Curiosity impels us to do things beyond functional need. It makes us explorers, discoverers.” The social media powerhouse – Facebook – is notorious for using this tactic and marketing products based on what the consumer has previously searched. While this seems like an invasion of privacy, it is also how many people attain their desired products. They wish to know the best product available, where to buy it, and what’s open now. Information is power, and consumers have it.

 

Demanding

Consumers are now in control and they have a high expectation that their experience will be individually tailored to their demands. They are better informed due to the advancement of technology which makes it easier for them to acquire knowledge about a product. Consumers know what they want and are on the hunt to find it within an attainable price range. “This one, single device that we keep in our pockets can be used to review products, check prices, share purchases, request coupons – and sometimes even to purchase products from one retailer’s online channel while standing in a competitor’s store.” Consumers can research products and services thoroughly before deciding to buy. With various outlets and companies to receive products from, using digital searches is a main way for consumers to know what to buy and where to buy it. Companies have to be adapting to consumers evolving needs. Bottom line, today’s customer is better informed and harder to please.

5 Customer Demands:

1. be on our side

2. be personally accountable for our desired results

3. be proactive

4. solve our problems

5. be innovative in responding to our needs

 

Impatient

We are living in the era of impatience. Velaro recently commissioned a single-question survey of over 2,500 Americans and asked, “For customer service, how long are you willing to be put on hold?” 6 out of 10 said one minute or less. Another third of the respondents said 1-5 minutes.

Consumers now enjoy increased levels of convenience, simplicity, and knowledge. Smartphones have connected consumers instantly to markets and information no matter where they might be, which allows them to find answers to almost any question, at any time. Fetch and YouGov conducted a research poll that reports 41% of respondents say technology has made them more impatient than they were five years ago. Among Millennials, the proportion is 45%.

The bar is being raised for fulfillment services with speed and flexibility both expected as standard. It’s 2018, almost everyone has bought something from Amazon one way or another. Amazon Prime, with it’s free 24 hour shipping, has only aided in the grown impatience of consumers as they want their product to be delivered yesterday. According to Google the average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. In this digital, high speed world, we are the epitome of instant gratification.

 

Whether the consumer is curious, demanding, impatient, or all three, the rapid popularity of online consumerism does not seem to be slowing down – and neither does today’s consumer.

Twitter as a News Source

Twitter as a News Source

With Gen Z-ers on the rise, strategies and tactics everywhere are adapting to how the generations work. One peculiar thing that sticks out to me, but I think is often overlooked about this generation, is the look to Twitter for news.

 

We know that traditional news sources have been on the decline for a while now: just look at traditional newspapers versus the internet and television. Since the major increase in internet popularity and use around, I would say the 2000s mark, the newspaper market has been steadily decreasing. Newspapers were forced to require online outlets of their publications in order to keep up with the flow of instantaneous (and in many cases free) flow of news and information happening. When smartphones hit the game about a decade later, things got even harder for traditional print.

 

However, another shift in the news source spectrum has occurred in recent years that I think gets overlooked: Twitter as a primary news source.

 

Twitter.com is an online social networking site that started in 2006, became one of the ten most visited sites in 2013, and currently has over 100 million monthly active users. While Twitter started as a social media site for people to share blurbs and thoughts in under 140 characters, it has since become a hub of information in all different ways…

 

When I personally start my day, I turn to Twitter first. Not only is it where I get a good laugh at jokes and see what my friends are up to, but I also get a pretty instantaneous look at current events and news. And under the umbrella of a now 280 character limit these blurbs are (at first) mostly just facts and not so much opinions.

 

Sure, traditional news source and media outlets have Twitter accounts that they use – and that’s definitely one of the ways Twitter helps in being a news source. But more than that, Twitter compiles “Moments” that are collections of tweets from news outlets and citizens that accumulate into one tweet slide show that highlights what is happening with a specific event or topic. And along these lines, Twitter is also a whole new way for citizen journalists to shine. While we all know citizen journalists have their pros and cons, they are still crucial to stories being told to the public.

 

A quick fact to throw in here: those who use Twitter may recall that in the Parkland, Florida shooting on February 14thof this year, students who were in the classrooms on lockdown took to Twitter almost immediately to share their experiences and update what was happening from their points of view. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the incident, students also took straight to Twitter to take a stand and plan a protest on the topic of gun control.

 

A similar instance happened in the 2013 Amtrak Metro North train derailment: citizens who were there took to Twitter to discuss their experiences. This kind of access to citizen journalists and the public is, in my opinion, vital to a news cycle.

 

Businesses even take to Twitter to announce big news – just take a look at IHOP’s recent bold move where they took to Twitter to announce their new rebranding: IHOb, International House of Burgers. Many other businesses also jumped on this media frenzy to throw in their two cents on the beloved chain’s brash name change. Whataburger Tweeted that they’d never change their name to “Whatapancake,” and Burger King even temporarily changed their name on Twitter to “Pancake King.” In fact, here’s a whole article on how multiple businesses clapped back at IHOb with jokes after their name change announcement.

 

So, next time you’re looking for news and want it in one place from all the major traditional outlets and some citizen journalists – give Twitter a try. While it may not be what everyone thinks of when they hear “news source,” it could be worth the shot!

IHOb - Marketing Stunt or Marketing Genius_

IHOb – Marketing Stunt or Marketing Genius?

In the past month, the media has been in a frenzy over something so simple… IHOP (International House of Pancakes) is changing their name to IHOb (International House of Burgers… Burgers?)

 

Before they revealed the inspiration behind their new name the company offered up a guessing game to see if people would guess what the new letter stood for. One of the most common answers was International House of Breakfast, which makes much more sense than burgers, and people were shocked to hear what the new letter stands for.

 

As a ridiculously brilliant marketing strategy, IHOP (or IHob…) took the media world by storm. Even other food chains are commenting on the name change, therefore bringing even more attention and press to IHOb.

 

 

All of these tweets and changes also made a huge break in the media therefore giving IHOb even more publicity.

 

Before anyone actually thinks this name change is happening, Forbes revealed that “shockingly, once we got the official word, it turned out to be merely a publicity stunt designed to highlight the chain’s new focus on meals other than breakfast.” As absurd as the internet is taking this name change, it is doing EXACTLY what it is supposed to be doing… generating buzz. Some people find the name chance comedic genius while one site even deemed this marketing strategy “a new wrinkle in the dystopian hellscape of viral marketing”. Ouch. But, just like all media, in about a weeks time nobody will even be talking about it anymore.

 

Forbes brings to attention to the essential concept of branding – a name is not the same thing as a brand. A name is what we call something. A brand is something different entirely—and far more meaningful.

 

“In an era when brands are spending millions or tens of millions of dollars to stand out from the crowd, what you’ve seen IHOP do is take a moment in time — a small event, the addition of a menu item — and made it a pop-culture event, that’s PR at its finest.”

– Carreen Winters, chairman of reputation and chief strategy officer at the public-relations agency MWWPR

 

Louise Pritchard of Pritchard Volk Consulting offers a more in-depth differentiation as she and her business partner discusses your brand story – your brand or brand story is not a marketing stunt or marketing materials, it is the essence of who your business is.

 

As far as marketing is concerned, IHOP’s recent name change is generating vast amounts of buzz. While the “burger” reveal left a lot of people confused, IHOP accomplished exactly what they were after: drawing attention to an increasingly popular non-breakfast item that’s always been on their menu.  says that “time will tell is the stunt will actually translate to sales, but there is absolutely no denying that, in theory, the campaign was incredibly successful. Consumer conversations show that IHOP popularity has skyrocketed since the announcement, turning the brand into a trending topic.” IHOP posted the announcement of the name change on Twitter, and even went further to include a quiz prompting users to guess “what could it b?” Various interpretations were presented, and IHOP even bantered with celebritiespro sports teams and news outlets, saying things like, “the blot thickens.”

 

While yes, IHOP will not actually be changing their name to IHOb and it was all simply a marketing troll – it was clever, it generated a lot of buzz for the company, and judging by the influx of IHOP being mentioned in media, it worked.

 

Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Many women have the same struggle as I – balance owning a business with being a mom (not to discriminate, this can apply to dads too!).

We feel pulled towards giving 150% to our businesses while having children that need us to care for them, take them to school, dance, sports, etc.

#thestruggleisreal

My daughters are 9 and 13, and I am now the “mom Uber” going from school to dance four days a week (and multiple times each day) to church, all week long. I’m not complaining – I have looked forward to this since they were babies. However when they were born I never imagined owning my own business. The freedom and flexibility of owning my own business is something I won’t ever leave. I love being able to still be a mom and a business owner.

During the school year, it’s easy – work while they are in school, and while they do homework, and maybe a little after bedtime. The summer is something different. We have a slew of things on the schedule for the summer – VBS at church, dance camp, church camps, a trip to the beach, a trip to Texas – wow, I’m already tired just typing all of that! Working from a home office, I am fortunate that I can do more than some 9-to-5 office moms can do (props to them and how they fit in all in too!).

But all boils down to balance.

Let’s get something straight – there is no such thing as work/life balance. It’s a myth. Life is all about balancing and managing what season of life you are in and this is an ever-evolving thing. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

Here are some things I do to balance owning a business and being a parent, and maybe one or a few of these will help you!

Set a schedule.

This is very important. Know when you are going to work, and when you are going to put on the parent hat. This could be different every day of the week – and in the summer. Set the tone with your children so they know when mom (or dad) will be working. I will admit, there are times that I cannot do it all, so there are friends and babysitters that pitch in. It’s okay to admit that you have help. We’re not Superwoman (or Superman).

Set expectations – for both your clients and your kids.

If you are going to be on summer vacation or having to work different hours because of school activities, let your clients know.  Be upfront about it – they need to know when they can contact you. Also, tell your kids what you expect from them during school breaks, after school, and the summer. With your schedule, tell them when you need to be left alone (if they are older) for a period of time each day or what you expect of them if you have a conference call. They need to know that even though you are home, you still have a job.

It’s okay to bribe every now and then.

I do this more than I care to admit. We have a pool & waterpark we like to go to in the summer. I tell my girls, during the summer, if they let me get my work done, then we can go to the pool that afternoon. This especially comes in handy if I have a big conference call. The reality is that sometime we do what we have to do to get it done. It’s easier during the school year because they are gone from 8am-3pm, but if I am chaperoning a school trip, expectations need to be in place.

Enjoy the time.

Yes it may get crazy working with kids around, but your kids are only kids for so long. If you need to take a day and just be a mom (or dad), do it and don’t feel guilty. Next year your kids will be a year older and may not want mom or dad around, so soak it up as long as you can! Chaperone school trips, go to honors day and school parties, take a mental health day and go to the beach. Make sure to spend quality time with them. It’s so hard to believe how fast my girls have grown up in the seven years I have had ME Marketing Services. Blink and they will be all grown!

 

How do you find balance and manage it all? Share what you do so we can all learn from each other!

 

 

 

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Social media (and digital) marketers are a dime a dozen.

 

They’re everywhere and many people think they can aptly manage a business’ social media accounts with no prior marketing experience whatsoever.

 

About 75% of the social marketers I got to know when I started my business seven years ago are no longer doing social media/digital marketing. Some were given other opportunities, and some just couldn’t cut it.

 

I hate to see businesses fail and people give up. I know how much time, energy, love and money go into running a business. However, there are some who just are not cut out to be business owners in any arena.

 

Harsh, but true.

 

But let’s circle back to area of social media marketing. This is an area of marketing that takes a lot of time – you have to dedicate time to always staying up-to-date with the latest changes (and there have been TONS in 2018 alone), what platforms people are using, and various ways to integrate into the overall business plan.

 

Some are good at it and some are just trying to keep their head above water. So, why is that? Here are five reasons social media marketers do not succeed – hopefully we can take these reasons and use them to show us how to succeed.

They do not take the time to educate themselves and fall behind.

Social media is ALWAYS changing (think Facebook this year alone!) and it is a lot to keep up with. If you are not dedicated to staying up on the latest trends, TOS (Terms of Service) changes and new features, you can bet your competitor is and they will take advantage of that. If you follow any of the big names in social media, you will see how they keep up with everything. Now, they may have a team that does it for them, but they do know what is going on.

 

Here are some great resources I use to make sure you stay on top of it:

 

They have no marketing or sales background/experience.

Okay, I know I’ll take some heat with that statement, but not everyone is a born marketer. I know people who have decided to start handling social media for businesses because they REALLY love to post on Facebook or Instagram. Next thing you know, they hit the streets running with no idea what they are doing or any sense of what marketing really is. Their graphics and captions are full of misspellings and grammatical errors. Out there in the world, I’m sure there are successful people in this industry with no marketing experience, but let’s admit it, that’s not common. Who I’m referring to are people who have no idea what to do in a sales call or that social media marketing is more than just posting to social accounts.

 

They could never figure out who their target market was.

This is something a lot of business owners struggle within this industry. Do you want to serve everyone or one particular niche? Many just float along until they just give up or get fed up. This is why you need to have a social media strategy and define your ‘why’ and ‘how’. Doing just those two simple things will set you on the track to success.

 

Something better came along.

This is the scenario that fits most. A better job offer came along and they completely abandoned what they were doing (including leaving clients high and dry). Who can argue with more money and a stable paycheck because, let’s face it, when you own your own business, there is no such thing as a steady paycheck.

 

Poor client management/relationship skills.

This, unfortunately, I’ve seen first hand from clients coming to me because they were unhappy with who they were currently working with. I can guarantee just about everyone working in the social media marketing world has had this happen to them – you get an inquiry from someone who is unhappy with their current social media marketing company – or marketing company handling this as a part of an overall marketing package. Communication skills are VERY important in this field. No communication skills = no clients.

 

To avoid this, stay in constant contact with your clients. Ask them what you could be doing better. Getting continual feedback from your clients will not only strengthen your relationship with them, but you will be killing it in the customer service area.

 

There are many reasons and circumstances that would keep someone from making it in this field. The five reasons listed above can actually be applied to more than just the social media marketing industry. I do truly wish all business owners the best and want everyone to succeed.

 

Why do you think people either don’t make it in marketing – or simply give up? I’d love to get your feedback!

 

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