Brands are seeing the rise of always-on consumers. How can marketers reach this new breed of shoppers – day or night? And what are the five new consumer types online? Catalyst magazine shares its five golden rules of always-on marketing.
Is your target market made up of early morning larks or late night owls? Or perhaps they fall into a newly defined marketing category of a social bumblebee – flitting about from channel to channel at any time of the day or night. It is probably a combination of all three.
These always-on consumers provide marketers with opportunities as well as challenges.
Tradedoubler regional director Dan Cohen explains that marketers must recognise and strategise for the rise of the omniconsumer – the shopper who is active at any time of day. “They must have a plan in place to attract the modern-day consumer, who is constantly on their smartphone or tablet device looking for the latest offers or deals on products,” he says.
Are you making the most of your marketing?
The days of traditional bricks and mortar, 9am to 5pm shopping habits are gone, he explains.“Many consumers now indulge in ‘twilight shopping’ between 5pm and midnight on their mobile devices – indicating that retail really is now a 24 hour industry.”
The multitude of devices in use presents another challenge to marketers. “Fifteen years ago it was all about e-mail. Now people are communicating with brands in a myriad of different ways – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on,” explains SDL chief marketing officer Paige O’ Neill. So how can brands market to these new omniconsumers?
Discover the five golden rules to always-on marketing:
- Identify consumer types online
It is not enough to break your customer base down into groups according to age and gender – marketers need to build up the fullest possible picture of each customer in order to target them with highly individualised messages, explains eBay Enterprise head of cross channel strategy Jill Brittlebank.
Brand strategy consultant Vivaldi released a report, the “Vivaldi Always-On Consumer 2014,” that revealed a consumer survey that demonstrated five new types of consumer behaviour.
These patterns show how, where and when different consumers behave towards brands and businesses and how they use devices, social networks, and the internet and apps.
Social bumblebees make up nearly a fifth of consumers (22 per cent) are very social online and spend over seven hours a day online. They are happy to broadcast their opinions and are the most willing to share their private data. They are very active – buying something three to four times a week and do so spontaneously. They shop from their iPad while they are out and about.
Mindful explorers (27 per cent) safeguard their personal data and reputation and look for the internet as a source of information and entertainment. They keep a low profile online and are intensive information seekers about new products or brands. They buy for a variety of reasons but always after careful deliberation.
Deal hunters (13 per cent) are entirely driven by deals and discounts. They have the most online friends. They spend the most personal time online but a lot of time involves gathering information, comparing prices and doing research. Deal hunters will not overly engage with brands.
Focused problem solvers (18 per cent) are very efficient users online that shut out the noise of social media and online advertising. They will check in on social networks but rarely – preferring e-mail instead. They are highly loyal to brands.
Ad blockers (20 per cent) make few purchases online, ignore advertising and branded content, and don’t engage in exploratory shopping . They carry out very rational shopping based on needs or good value. Ad Blockers tend to keep a small, but active circle of online friends.
- Think 24/7
Whether it’s through their mobile, offline advertising, or TV channels, today’s consumers are constantly connected and as a result they are in a state of continuous partial attention, explains RedWorks business development director UK & EMEA Guy Norwell.
“In this state of continuous partial engagement brands lose the power of engagement over one long consistent message. Instead they have to break the message into bite size pieces and communicate with their audiences on a more regular basis at a time that suits them,” he says. He points to the marketing of Missguided a female fashion website as a good example of an always-on strategy. It regularly offers free next day delivery for shoppers up until midnight, while sending out e-mails with offers throughout the night to ensure customers wake up to them the next day.”
Social media can be an important marketing strategy to engage with consumers out of hours, with software such as Hootsuite fast becoming the marketer’s best friend, says Daisy marketing director Kate O’ Brien. “Scheduling tweets and posts to automatically update throughout the morning and evening when marketing teams may be away from their desks can add value to any brand and target the different device users at their varying times of peak activity.”
Are you making the most of your marketing?
But marketers need to tread carefully as some unspoken rules around out-of-hours marketing remain intact – even in the era of the always-on consumer. Pizza brand Papa John launched a campaign that invites customers to share their thoughts on their pizzas at the point of delivery via text message. Pizza aficionados can score their overall experience, as well as provide details in their own words.
Since the launch in April, Papa John has received around 500 text messages a day from customers, says senior director of marketing Andrew Gallagher.
But he points out that the brand forbids the sending of a text message after 9pm. “Sending an unsolicited text message direct to a phone in the more anti-social hours is more likely to annoy our customers, and could have a detrimental impact on our customer experience. By waiting until the morning to send our text messages, we are not intruding and are more likely to get more detailed, honest feedback on the service.”
- Become mobile optimised
Forget your excuses for not having a mobile presence yet – they no longer pass muster with today’s channel hopping consumer. A mobile presence has become essential to ensure that consumer engagement is maximised, explains Tradedoubler’s Dan Cohen. “Retailers have to recognise that the shop window is not the only window that consumers are looking through. Even leisurely activities such as watching the TV have become far more active with the presence of mobile devices.
According to research by Tradedoubler, 69 per cent of tablet owners use their device for activity related to the programme or film they’re watching, while 59 per cent of smartphone owners use their device to buy something they’ve seen advertised.
Meanwhile, half of connected consumers use their smartphone or tablet for shopping activity every week with almost a third doing so nearly every day. One in ten early risers even go online as early as 6am to browse for the best deals around.
What’s more, UK consumers have demonstrated a clear hunger for engaging with mobile technology, says Powa Technologies chief executive Dan Wagner.”Research shows that 32 per cent of consumers have made at least one purchase a month on their smartphone – far outstripping the rest of Europe.”
But the problem for many brands is that the majority of mobile advertising strategies still rely on formats adapted from desktop rather than designed for the mobile user, says Zapp360 head of commercial development Jon Mundy. “As a result mobile display often feels poorly designed and is easily ignored by the user. It’s important to take into account the mobile experience and design around the platform, and one of the most important rules for mobile is that less is more,” he says.
- Understand daily patterns
Marketers need to understand the daily patterns of device usage within their audience, says Tradedoubler’s Dan Cohen. “In today’s real-time, data-enabled world of personalised marketing, an understanding of these daily patterns has the potential to underpin and inform highly targeted marketing approaches.”
Marketing today needs to keep up with its fast paced consumers every hour of every day, says Daisy marketing director Kate O’ Brien. “The revolutionised consumer is not only watching a World Cup game on the big screen this summer, but is also evaluating an England goal with friends over social media on their smartphone and placing bets on the final result on their tablet. We are firmly in the era of multi-device marketing and this presents an exciting opportunity for marketers.”
Webtrends director of optimisation solutions EMEA & APAC Tom Waterfall believes that early morning isn’t typically a fruitful time for most brands. “Device usage when people first wake up tends to be steered towards checking work e-mails, scanning Facebook for updates from friends, reading the news or getting in a quick puzzle game before showering.”Marketers are likely to be more successful hitting consumers during their commute, as those on public transport seek distraction on their way to work,” he says.
Since different content is consumed at different times throughout each day, it’s imperative that marketers work across a range of devices, explains Widespace head of partnership Joy Dean. “Evenings are a time when people like to kick back and relax with some light entertainment. So a synchronised mobile and TV campaign can be most effective here,”she says. The increased use of mobile devices as a “second screen” during the World Cup, she adds, makes this the perfect opportunity for marketers to adopt this approach.
- Take psychological factors into account
Marketers also have to bear in mind that people have different levels of energy and engagement throughout the day, explains consumer psychologist Philip Graves. “People’s mindsets differ enormously because we are contextual creatures. We are sensitive to our surroundings far more than we appreciate thanks to our unconscious mind’s capacity to continuously process our surroundings and our conscious mind’s very limited focus of attention.” This is due, he explains, partly to natural circadian rhythms and partly because people pace themselves depending on where they are and the extent to which they are required to engage. For example, people switch off on the train journey home, but will be energised at the same time of day if they are out with friends after work,” he says.
Carat planning director John Thomson explains that brands can tap into the opportunities presented by these different frame of mind. “Guinness mapped commuter nightlife hotspots in London and used digital out-of-home advertising to encourage them to visit bars where the brand was carrying out a bespoke promotional competition to win a trip to Dublin. The digital OOH changed on a real-time basis depending on which bar was participating on any given night and counting down to the start of the activation.”
Spredfast vice president of brand marketing and communications Amber Quist advises marketers to feed consumers content based on their actions and behaviours that will influence their frame of mind. “Provide content that’s relevant to what your audience is doing during that time – whether that is figuring out what to cook for dinner, what to watch on television, where to shop for the items they see their favourite television star wearing.”
For example, she explains a consumer packaged goods company could post a visual four-ingredient recipe on Facebook and or Instagram during the early evening hours to inspire their dinner after a long day or a retailer could send a Twitter card to a prime-time TV show’s followers driving them to a limited time sale on a piece of clothing featured in that night’s episode.
ICrossing display director Oliver Hughes says that platforms such as Twitter allows brands to take a far more targeted approach to its consumer communications than has ever been traditionally possible. “Creative and messaging can then match the frame of mind of the people they want to speak to. If it’s first thing, think cups of coffee rather than bottles of beer or if it’s late at night, focus on shorter sentences as their attention span may not be quite what it is during the day.”