Consumer expectations are rapidly evolving, argues Doug Nicol in this guest post, which looks at the how marketers will need to rapidly evolve for a more transparent digitally-focused world.
It’s an exciting time for creatively minded and curious marketers with a strong sense of inventiveness about the future.
Everything in our world is evolving and you can can either be an agent of change or a whining victim who talks about how it used to be.
If you are a mono-skilled, blinkered and not particularly interested marketer, the next three ideas will confuse you. If you are excited about the possibilities these and many other emerging ideas give us, your best is yet to come:
1. Consumers who expect to be paid for digesting your marketing messages
With 50% of 18-25 year olds in the US using some type of adblocking, consumers are getting savvy about the value of their data and their buying power. A new industry is emerging around getting on the adblockers’ white lists (brands who are allowed to beat the blocker).
You will either pay to get on the white list or if your brand is seen as a contributor to society in some way you may allowed on the list for a lot less.
New experimental business models are emerging – take people.io, an app that monetizes consumers own advertising consumption. Basically you choose what brands you are willing to hear from and then they pay you for your time to listen to their communications messages.
Ensuring your brand is in shape for this new world will be an important part of our jobs in the not too distant future.
2. Content environments with no paid advertising
The most exciting emerging content environments are refreshingly paid ad free.
Live streaming food community, Nom, launched last week and has cleverly overcome one of the challenges people have in using live streaming apps, namely mainstream users are not sure what to do in their live stream.
By having a focus on the cooking vertical everyone gets the use case. The content is user-generated and has high levels of live engagement from viewers (emojis, polls, tips that change the recipe mid stream).
Another example is the new Quartz app delivering news content through a messaging interface more like txt meets Slack than any conventional news site.
In both cases there is no conventional advertising, you jump in as a brand and experiment.
3. Customers who know what your margin is and what you pay your suppliers
Although this is still the preserve of ‘social good’ brands, big brands need to prepare for greater scrutiny about how they make money and how they treat the little guys.
Online retail brand Everlane breaks down the prices for each individual garment into: materials, labour, transport, taxes, hardware plus their total margin (it’s around 50% on average). In addition, they show photos of their factory and workers in Hangzhou, China.
Marketers need to first of all know what their margin is and then think through the opportunities and threats to the brand from consumers who ask awkward questions.
This week, here at SXSW it is clear that no one has invented best practice for dealing with this stuff; you won’t find it on a course, the book has not been written.
You need to get stuck in, learn new things, new skills. The lazy marketer will say that’s not really their job; it’s someone else’s.
The people who will own the future will have the enthusiasm of a curious five-year-old and the zeal of an entrepreneur who wants to succeed in business.
Doug Nicol is creative partner at The Works