I See Dead People
Yesterday, while walking down my street, I nearly had a head on collision with a zombie. It’s an increasing phenomenon that is affecting drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike. This wasn’t the kind of Zombie you’d see in the Walking Dead, it was the kind that has a smartphone in his hand.
Marketers find this zombie walker syndrome problematic. Zombies pay little attention to their physical environments and stimulus. They walk, heads down, and ignore most of the ads that marketers paid to surround them on the street. Day after day, a regular consumer (aka zombie) is exposed to 3000 ads. Since the majority of these ads aren’t relevant to them, it’s not hard to imagine why a consumer ignores the thousands of “buy now!” messages screaming for their attention. Most of the ads aren’t relevant to their needs or positioned in the space that they spend more of their media time with. A modern customer has everything she needs to make an informed purchase decision through their network of friends, online, at their fingertips, on their mobile device.
The Modern Consumer
Google recently published a study on consumer behavior called the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT, for short. One of the key findings of this study is that the average consumer uses ten sources to research their next purchase, double the number of sources they used one year ago. The authors of ZMOT suggest that owned and earned digital media assets play an important role in helping consumers decide on purchases. As Gen X and Y (Digital Natives) age to fill the main 25-54 year old buying demographic, it’s imperative that marketers to add new digital sales and marketing assets lacking in their current toolbox.
Everyone Gets Old – Including Millenials
Today, Gen X and Y make up the majority of the core 25-54 year old buying demographic. As such, the way they consume media is changing faster than marketers are adapting. Increasingly, these generations are becoming an important part of the media production and consumer influence landscape. Getting the right people (Gen X and Millenials) a seat on the marketing bus, creates a very real opportunity to revert consumer zombies back to engaged, interested and heads-up brand partners. The theory is supported by research which demonstrates that the person who invests in an idea increases their connection with a positive outcome by a factor of five to one. Some marketing pioneers have begun experimenting with creative solutions that recalibrate push-message marketing tools to pieces in collaborative storytelling systems that encourage customer participation and build brand loyalty.
The Modern Marketer
Modern marketers are telling their brand story through multi-media narratives. They use paid traditional mediums to distribute plot lines that are progressively developed through additional online content, accessible through any digital or mobile device. With this ecosystem approach, these marketers are encouraging consumers to participate, share and contribute to the overall story. In this way, all media is becoming social, local and mobile (SoLoMo).
Growing Body Of Evidence
There are a number of case studies to support this novel type of campaign. Jay Z and Bing Decoded, Audi A3 Art of the Heist, Batman’s Why So Serious and this Levi’s After Dark campaign are all excellent examples of this growing trend of combining paid traditional marketing with consumer earned and company owned media.
Emotion Before Logic
The consumer decision journey is an emotional process and consumers are emotional about the brands they love. Stories are provide the emotional vehicles for brands. By redeploying marketing investments that encourage consumer participation and reflect new media usage behavior, modern marketers are beginning to reveal a powerful new way to differentiate brands and drive bottom line results.
This blog was inspired by the great people over at Altimeter who are constantly investigating the changing brand-customer continuum. I’d encourage you to have a look at their work here
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