Here, Tim Hipperson, CEO from branding and design agency, G2 Joshua, gives us his five insights in to what agencies need to do to take advantage of this dramatic shift in consumer behaviour.
1. Nurture consumer communities. Consumers now expect direct interaction with brands via a variety of online platforms. Brands should be engaging in conversations and cultivating relationships with customers by listening to, learning from and acting upon their beliefs and opinions. Agencies should focus on developing engaging internet and mobile applications, websites, ecommerce solutions and personalised content management systems. New technology trends need to be adopted and implemented immediately in order to remain at the forefront of the industry. If agencies are not using the most cutting edge advancements, they risk coming across as irrelevant.
2. Consumers demand real-time gratification. We live in an age of impatience; nobody wants to wait for anything. Modern technologies and the internet have accelerated communication and response rates to a speed previously unimaginable. In terms of marketing, social media phenomena such as Twitter and Facebook have had a significant impact on how brands communicate with consumers. Their immediacy has led to customers expecting real-time gratification. There is consequently no longer any excuse in keeping a customer waiting; agencies need to ensure they are able to respond to customers 24/7.
3. Data analysis takes centre stage. Monitoring, analysing and interpreting real-time data should be crucial to every agency’s marketing strategy. In our constantly connected environment, marketers have the potential to gather huge amounts of information on their customers, which can be translated into valuable customer insight. Data analysts should become central figures within an agency as they will be required to manage this knowledge and become conductors of brand sentiment.
4. Creative talent. Creative teams often represent the heart and personality of the agency. However, the internet is now able to provide a wealth of unknown talent and opportunities for content and creative ideation. Interestingly, ideas can come directly from the consumers themselves. Concepts could become more casual as creative teams play with the creators and critics, exchanging thoughts and interacting informally. Using consumer feedback, the creative teams could round out additional brand advertising, content and services.
5. Consumers become media. Consumers have become a media channel in their own right. Social media has become the most influential and efficient means through which to engage consumers. Agencies must learn to get to grips with who is leading conversations and who is most connected. Furthermore, consumers are now their own channel managers. People have the freedom to choose when, where and through which channel they prefer to use, often consuming various channels simultaneously. Media selling in the traditional sense will soon become a redundant practice.
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