(Manipulating the Monetary Paradigm of the Time/Space Continuum)
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re at the boundary of business. We’re walking a tightrope at the forefront of technology and mining the frontier of fiber optic cyberspace. Information technology, social behavior, buyer psychology, the global economy – a slew of volatile, game-changing and disruptive changes have struck our beloved frontier and are radically reshaping an already rocky business landscape. As business leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and so on, we thrive in an atmosphere of “change as a constant”, but does the rate of change seem like it’s speeding up to you?
Suddenly, our ways of doing business – the traditional, tried and true ways – feel lacking. “Slow and steady wins the race” is no longer a strong axiom (if it ever really was), buried under, “Full speed ahead Mr. Sulu!”
We no longer have time for long review processes. We don’t have time to spend examining every potential crack or flaw in a business plan. You – your business and business processes – must be extremely fast and flexible to survive in our accelerated, highly competitive world. There’s no more room for sedate family station wagons; we’d all better be driving Bugatti Veyrons.
Shifting Tectonic Plates, Anyone?
Last Monday we shared a number of links to various studies, which all point toward a very definitive shift towards digital marketing. The shift is happening across a range of areas; buyer and consumer psychology being only two of the many places affected. Our interactions as consumers are changing, as are our expectations from businesses.
The digital shift, caused by a conglomeration of forces, is not unlike tectonic plates, shifting, grinding and building pressure before an earthquake. We’re facing unprecedented challenges with rapid-fire upheaval. Taking too long to make a decision, adapt and change can quickly lose you the competitive edge.
The business world is changing. This IS the future.
A New World Order, Brought to You By the Next Generation
“Move aside, U.S. baby boomers. The Millennial generation is bigger than you and growing in influence.” As an introduction to the Boston Consulting Group’s recent study The Millennial Consumer: Debunking Stereotypes, it’s definitely catchy. Although there are other generations making their way into the world today, many millennials (ages 16-34) are hitting the peak of consumerism. -And, while they may not be the driving force of the shift toward digital, it can’t be denied that they’re adriving force.
Virtualization and the Millennial Advisory Board
Computers seldom use their full resources (network, disk, memory, CPU), no matter what it seems like to the user. Adding more applications onto one computer in an attempt to use more of its resources doesn’t work well, simply because of application incompatibility. Having 100 computers running at half their ability isn’t very efficient; businesses hate inefficiency.
Virtualization, at its most basic, splits a single physical computer into many virtual computers. This allows more applications to be on the physical computer (increasing the computer’s efficiency and resource usage) without having the compatibility issues. This also allows nifty new technology, such as cloud computing and storage.
What does all this have to do with digital technology, marketing and millennials? Well… everything.
Research shows that millennials – despite what the stereotypes say – are smart, savvy shoppers. However, they use the Internet and their online connections like computers use virtualization: to shop smarter, circumvent incompatibilities and use all available resources. Those resources include various forms of digital technology.
They spend a heck of a lot of time making important decisions, and aren’t near as impulsive as one might think. They’ve become expert data miners; they’re information seekers to the nth degree. Growing up in the Information Age, they’re accustomed to having instant access to massive amounts of data that they aren’t afraid to use.
This reach for information is as instinctive as breathing for most. It’s as simple as, “I’m a smart consumer and I’m in a store. My smartphone can help me make the right buying decisions, because I’ve loaded it up with “smart consumer” tools. All I have to do is use this app to scan the bar code for this product, and I can compare prices with other places to find the best price. I can read other people’s experiences and reviews, so I know when I’m getting a good product. I can search for coupons for discounts, too.”
The scenario above isn’t far from the actual truth. You can prove it to yourself just by watching a few twenty-something’s shop. It’s a definite eye-opening experience – a glimpse into today’s digital consumer.
What are the touch points here?
- Mobile technology (smart phone)
- Mobile applications (bar code scanner)
- Shopping search (product and price comparisons)
- Citations (review and coupon sites)
However, that leaves out other areas they may have gone to in their search for the most value (which isn’t necessarily the cheapest product, by the way). Outside of those mentioned, a millennials biggest asset is what’s become known as…
The Millennial Advisory Board
Who doesn’t know social has become a serious contender for marketing dollars? Raise your hands… Well, there’s a reason for that, and a lot of it has to do with the millennial consumer. Yes, they’re data miners, but one of the places they mine that data from is their connections. Parents, relatives, close friends, co-workers, spouses, and professionals come together into a vast board of directors to help them make important decisions.
On the web and in print, they look for feedback from those who have “been there, done that”. They’re influenced and influencers, equally able to gain insight and provide insight into products, brands, the consumer mindset and more.
The Rapidly Changing Marketing Model
Are you tired of hearing “change and adapt” yet? Unfortunately, that’s the answer to a whole bunch of questions like, “How do we survive in business now?” Our businesses survive in new world order of rapid change. Within the last 20 years, marketing has grown from traditional print, t.v. and radio to include digital arenas such as:
- SERP visibility (SEO, SEM)
- Mobile ads and mobile apps (or mobile ads on mobile apps)
- Texting and SMS ad messages
- Video advertising
- Online banner ads and graphic development
- Online coupon sites
- Review sites
- Social media platforms (to the nth power)
The days of the personal computer are fading away, replaced by “always-online” Chrome notebooks, cloud computing and insanely powerful smartphones or tablets. Our employees are always on the go, on the move, running the rat race and fighting the competition, mobilized by our increasing technological knowledge. We’re no longer chained to our desks, as workers or consumers.
Now, you’re a smart, savvy business owner. You became a business owner – and have so far succeeded where so many failed – because you saw a need and filled it. You’ve learned how to go where the consumer is and market to them based on their needs, not on what you think they need, or wish they were looking for. –And, you’ve gotten really, really good at it.
Therefore, we want you to ask yourself a few questions after following the links provided in these two articles and pouring into your own research. Where is the consumer? Where are they sharing their needs? Where can I reach them to gain feedback, and where are they most active? We’re pretty sure of what your answers will be.
The digital marketplace is calling. Are you going to answer?