The Current Situation And Digital Trends
The Digital Consumer – this term requires investigation. We need to look very closely at what is taking place in our world today, it pays dividends to be aware of what people are doing, how they behave, what specific groups are responding to out there in the real world.
Everywhere there are ‘experts’ it seems, today we are presented with commentators and people who adopt a tone of authority and they tell us how to do things. Noticed that?
They are all over the internet, these apparent sources of wisdom seem to be everywhere these days and there is a pattern – this is what I call the ‘Generic Message’, people regurgitate the content they pick up from ‘influencers’ and ‘thought leaders’ and then run with it, present their version of it to the people they in turn seek to influence.
The result of this can be seen on business blogs, LinkedIn posts, email newsletters & business group presentations all over the place. This generic message becomes the accepted wisdom, and business owners all over the world go away and try to implement social media, website and content production strategies, but the results are very mixed.
There is no ‘way’, or approach or blueprint for using social media that guarantees results. There are multiple approaches, flexibility is the keyword.
This is the big confusion about using internet resources to promote your business, and why so many obtain mediocre results from their Facebook pages, Tweets, Adwords, or whatever platform they select to ‘Advertise’.
Small business training programs are among the worst examples of this generic approach to using social media. People who are not familiar with the digital world seek out these reassuringly official providers of information – they are given a very general introduction to using the tools, told about ‘engagement’ and directed to post interesting content. Great.
The Digital Consumer, let’s take a look at this concept and try to discover what it means for us if we are running some kind of business.
The tendency has been to consider anything with ‘digital’ in front of it as being for the young.
This may have been a valid way of looking at it up to 10 years ago; the world has been moving very quickly over the past decade. Now we see all age groups are participating very strongly with the digital world – the mobile device revolution and the wide availability of Wi-Fi and increased bandwidth access has seen the vast majority of western people using social media, purchasing goods and services from their internet connections – we are all now highly connected.
To build a useful picture of this ‘Digital Consumer’ we need to call on information from different sources. Obviously we are going to get variations, and differences between the many groups of people that make up our global digital population. Can we present a meaningful profile that most of these groups share? I think we can:
The Digital Consumer Shared Traits
- All digital consumers are active researchers – they seek out and discover lots of information about the products and services they wish to purchase. They tend to share much of what they find & to then discuss it with others in arriving at a decision.
- People who purchase online do not mind waiting a little longer for delivery @ the right price and from the provider who best matches their own thinking.
- The Mobile Phone Has Become The Television* – in other words mobile devices are now what people focus on, like when the T.V overtook the Radio in the 20th Century.
- Digital Consumers use multiple sources of information, they have access to considerable information.
As a business owner you should be respecting the Digital Consumer, seeking to align your presentations with them. ‘Consumer Empowerment’ is not just a buzz-word, it represents commercial reality. Digital consumers do not respond well to overt ‘sales’ messages, they become interested in your business through discovery and consumption of content.
What Is Content Marketing?
This is where the concept of ‘Content Marketing’ comes in, your content could take the form of articles, videos, downloaded PDF’s, maps, software, audio. The idea of businesses all now being media companies is a valid one, with staff members including journalists and editor-in-chiefs becoming very common – we need to get that high value content out to our customers and ‘engage’ them (it has to be said).
The Digital Consumer is now a strong reality, it will become increasingly the type of consumer that your business will need to cater for.
Obviously business type is going to determine the nature of your approach, the format and quality of your content; one thing is certain, more and more businesses will be seeking talented content production teams as the demands for digital content grow, and the need to reach and attract today’s connected people massively grows.