One generation enters adulthood, another starts to retire, while another transitions to middle age – life and markets are constantly changing.
Gen Z – as its spending power grows it sets new consumer preferences.
Millennials – going into middle age, these folks like supporting locally-owned retailers and service providers.
Gen Xers – their buying decisions are influenced by their Gen Z children and Baby Boom parents.
Baby Boomers – the emphasis is on health and wellness and spending is personal-based.
It is important that businesses align with the values of each generation. Young consumers not only evaluate the product/service but the social practices of the businesses they are purchasing from. The new buzzword in marketing circles is “authenticity”.
*What you have just read is phony!
Communicating a Brand’s value is important, but all of this current marketing banter regarding having a narrative, showing your social concern, ‘connection’ is the new currency of branding, aligning with cultural programs and themes, etc., etc. is all bunk or old stuff that’s been around the block more times than the ice cream truck.
Brand loyalty is nothing new. From cars to coffee consumers (be they 15 or 85) have their favorite brands. Their motivation for purchasing their ‘favorites’ is based on price, service, quality, convenience, status, whatever. Being authentic, and keeping to your promise on product and delivery is, in fact, what a brand has always been – a ‘promise’.
Let’s take the green movement as an example. The green, sustainable movement as a marketing ploy has been around since the first Earth Day (April 1970). ‘Eco-sustainable’, as a product/service marketing theme, has been deployed by thousands of companies large and small for over half a century. There is nothing novel or risky in establishing your Brand as ‘eco’ friendly and given its abuse (greenwashing) and lengthy use has no market impact value.
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is all about price and selection. There is no ‘cultural cause’ regarding an Amazon purchase. It is not important that Amazon align with a consumer’s values. Inclusiveness, gender-specific, social diversity, all of the current cultural phrases that marketing gurus and brand managers cite as ‘must dos’ to connect with generational consumers are not in the Amazon lexicon.
I don’t agree that brand management must embrace the current cultural isms. I don’t believe that Gen Z’ers or Millennials buy based on cultural values or trends. These may play a peripheral role but most buying decisions (for all age groups) are motivated by price, availability, and need. Brand loyalty is based on product innovation, quality, status, and exclusivity.
Embracing cultural awareness and social causes to embellish a Brand will not equate to broader market reach or revenue generation.
Cultural and social causes are OUT. Here’s what’s IN:
– Programmatic Advertising – The use of AI to target ad purchasing.
– Chatbots – real-time chats (anytime) that are AI-driven
– Conversational Marketing – one-on-one chat in real-time with a person. ‘Immediate response’ on any device.
– Personalization – the more you can ‘personalize’ your marketing, the better: content, products, emails, etc.
– Video Marketing – the most important and popular way consumers ‘discover’ your brand and products
– CamFind – search via photos only, no text
– Influencer Marketing – getting a little old, but still of value to certain products. It’s ‘digital word-of-mouth’.
– Video SEO – Use text overlays, closed captioning, etc. on YouTube to optimize search.
63% of customers are more likely to return to a company website that has live chat
– Micro-Moments – the moments when consumers open their device and act on a need – to know, to go, to do, to buy.
– Voice Search – increasingly used, VS will become an important part of many brands’ marketing strategies.
– Interactive Content – one of my favorites. It is the fastest-growing marketing trend: Embedded calculators, Augmented reality ads, and 360-degree videos.
– Augmented Reality – used to enhance the customer experience. For example, IKEA Place. Where you can take a photo of a room in your home and then place IKEA furniture into it to see how it ‘looks’.
– Omnidirectional Marketing – a bit worn-out but still relevant. OM is using the same consistent voice and message across multiple platforms, ie. emails, blogs, websites, ads, etc.
By: Jim Lavorato