While the world watched a tough, passionate 16-year-old from Sweden take on the very real and pressing issue of climate change, I kept thinking about the impact to brands. After all, an estimated 7.5 million people across the world participated in the climate strike, and many others supported virtually. The end result is that whether brands like it or not, eco-consciousness is now firmly on consumers’ minds and their awareness is sure to increase as the effects of climate change continue to be felt. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity to brands that wish to address their customers’ increasing eco-mindfulness, but have yet to do so or don’t know where to begin. The good news is that there is much to be gained by embracing this growing environmental awareness with brands positioning themselves as purpose-driven. There are three important lessons that brands can learn from Greta Thunberg.
Let me start by saying that I’m not a flavor expert, food engineer or coffee pundit. I am, however, a coffee lover and brand expert. So, when asked about my thoughts on whether the pumpkin spice latte and tea craze is waning, I had to give it some serious thought. After all, one can’t argue that pumpkin spice drinks haven’t been a smashing success. When first introduced, it was the perfect seasonal drink, bringing all the smells, images and experiences of fall to consumers’ palates. This alone requires props. Beyond that, there are still many pumpkin spice fans out there, but as with all things brand-related, staying fresh is the name of the game. That is, perhaps, the biggest hurdle for pumpkin spice’s staying power. It is beginning to feel tired and over-used. As such, it is time for coffee and tea companies to step up and launch exciting, new flavors that offer pioneering tastes and experiences to today’s customer.
Recently, I was on the phone with a prospective client. We were discussing our firm’s approach to the market which focuses on valuing the customer and creating a personal connection with them. As I continued to rattle on, I was interrupted by a question, “what does creating a personal connection have to do with a B2B customer?” I have to admit that the questions stopped me in my tracks. While my mind went to “because your customer is a human being and wants to be treated as a unique individual” regardless if they work for a B2C or B2B business, I realized that the question was sincere. It struck me then that in some industries, there is a perception that the goal should be to preserve a business as usual stance. The logic goes something like this: You have a product or service that other businesses need, you send them the sales sheet on all the benefits, and they make a decision based on those said benefits. The truth is that marketing has evolved – and, yes, even in the B2B world – your customers want you to understand their specific needs, value their unique wants, and understand who they are – personally. This is the reality, so holding firm to how things used to work quickly results in your company lacking relevance. No one wants that. Here are the top changes to the business to business customer behavior and how your company can utilize them to flourish.
We all know them. Those brands that look like they are stuck in time. Their colors don’t look current, neither does their style, typography, and imagery. Their messaging looks like it was written for a different era and their packaging… Well, please don’t even get me started. Now this is an extreme example, but there are many less egregious instances out there. While we all know companies who suffer from a time warp affliction, even brands that feel relevant to today’s customers can fall into the trap of appearing stale in the fast-paced, ever-evolving, digital marketing world. Often a quick review of a brand’s social media pages can be the tell-tale sign of a brand that needs a refresh. The good news is that this is one of the easiest platforms for staying relevant because of the simplicity in updating your messaging. Here are 3 ways to identify if your brand needs a present-day refresh.
Personalization in marketing can mean different things to different people. Some think of personalization only as it relates to email marketing and simple things like using your customers first name in your email messaging. Others think of personalization as curating products that are of the highest interest to your customer through your ecommerce store. Some think of personalization as the straightforward approach of eliminating unnecessary information to improve the customer experience. At Think, we view personalization tactics as an extension of a YOU-centric marketing mindset that puts the customer’s needs, wants and desires first.
Content Marketing has become a bit of a buzz word… and for good reason! Consumers are craving marketing that delivers value, and what better way than through enticing, educational content? While there are numerous forms of valuable content your brand should be using to engage consumers (video, quizzes, expertly planned social media posts, just to name a few), one of the most powerful mediums is blogging.
Your Customers Don't Care! Why a YOU-centric Approach is Key to Winning Customers in Today's Cutting-Edge Brand Landscape
The single biggest marketing challenge today may well be brand differentiation. Now more than ever, it can be difficult to differentiate your products from your competitors in the eyes of the consumer. And can you blame them? One look at any major retailer's shelves or a quick search on Amazon, and you will see a virtual sea of products that all seem to have similar attributes, features and benefits. How does a brand separate themselves and develop true brand recognition and loyalty when there are so many products that are perceived to offer the same thing? This is why effective marketing has become so difficult. The customer is overwhelmed with choices and confused by the apparent lack of differences between products. A YOU-centric marketing approach meets this challenge.
The world of digital marketing never rests. Rather, it is in a constant state of evolution. That is why sophisticated marketers know that they have to stay one step ahead, or at a minimum, stay relevant. The end result is that many marketers dabble in a bit of this and that to determine what is working now, and while we agree that it is important to test, we have noticed that some of the marketing strategy fundamentals seem to be going by the wayside. A perfect example of this is paid search. Some brands seem to be ignoring paid search marketing in the pursuit of other mediums such as social advertising, and while we at Think Media agree that social advertising should be part of the marketing mix, paid search is still the most effective way to drive conversions.
Capturing your customer’s loyalty can be a tricky task. Loyalty is largely earned based on giving your customer the experience, product, and service that they have come to expect. And in a digital, Amazon Prime world, customer expectation continues to increase. Even when you do all the right things, your customer won’t necessarily turn into a repeat customer or a brand advocate. This is why many companies seek out loyalty programs which reward customers for their repeat purchases as a way of enticing loyalty and giving more to their high frequency purchasers. This isn’t a bad approach especially because your best customers deserve a little love.
Our Think Media founder, Shahla Hebets, moderated a panel discussion about Mastering your Influencer Marketing at Expo West's 2019 Digital Marketing Summit in Anaheim, CA. If you didn't have chance to attend the Digital Marketing Summit, watch the full panel discussion below and subscribe to our YouTube channel!