Talk to any CMO or other marketing leader today, and you’ll likely hear them discuss any number of marketing challenges they now face. One may focus on a skills gap, while another may focus on lead generation or social media.
But, whether they know it or not, all of today’s marketing activities and strategies hinge on one thing: delighting consumers in an ever-connected, multi-screen world.
Within today’s environment, where driving real connections with consumers is harder than ever before, where everything is competing for the attention of consumers and where people have so much information about you and your competitors at their fingertips, breaking through the clutter and making a lasting, positive impact is harder than ever.
It’s only when marketing team members can overcome these challenges will they be able to see lasting, long-term marketing success.
Why Generating Real Connections is the Biggest Challenge to Any Marketing Strategy
Let’s take a moment to dive into how many of us spend our time, consume media, do research, etc. Consider these four key realities for a moment.
1) It’s a Multi-Screen World
There is no one screen or device that dominates the media landscape. Where can you find and reach your target audience? That all depends.
Consider these statistics from Nielsen on media consumption habits of American adults in 2018 for a moment:
- Over 4 hours a day spent watching live television.
- Close to 2 and half hours on a smartphone.
- Over 100 minutes spent listening to the radio.
- Around 45 minutes spent on a tablet.
- Close to a half hour on other internet-connected devices.
And, this breakdown can look quite different depending on other key factors like age. For example, adults over the age of 65 spend 60% of their media time watching live TV and 13% of their time on a smartphone, while those between 18 and 34 spend 26% of their day watching TV and 29% of their time using a smartphone.
Plus, no one option is homogenous in any way, shape or form. Each media option alone is complex enough for marketers to master; with now multiple media sources vying for your attention, it’s nearly impossible for marketers to be everywhere
2) No Hegemony Even on the All-Important Mobile Device
While adults in the U.S. consume media in a variety of ways, one option is clearly ascendant over all the others: mobile devices. In 2019, American adults will spend more time every day looking at their smartphones than they will watching TV, eMarketer as predicted. By 2020, adults in the U.S. will spend, on average, two hours and 39 minutes a day on their smartphones and an hour and eight minutes on tablets.
Remember, though, that mobile isn’t one thing, but really many things. Did you know that around 88% of all time spent in mobile is in app, compared to 13 minutes a day spent using mobile browsers.
And within the all-important app space, which apps are we talking about? According to App Annie, people use approximately 40 different apps every month.
So how do you determine the right mobile marketing channels to reach, acquire and retain customers even within mobile when mobile is so fragmented? It is important for marketing teams to understand the customer or potential customers to uncover their particular usage trends.
3) Worse Than a Goldfish?
For ages, goldfish have been held up as the reigning symbol of short attention spans. But are humans far behind? One recent study has found that the average person’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2018. And, separate research showed that attention spans may be declining 88% every year in the future.
To see how this can play out, consider how this dynamic works with one of the most popular B2C digital marketing tactics used right now: content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, well over half of B2C marketers increased their content marketing budgets last year. But, is time spent producing content like blog posts yielding results when people only spend 10 to 20 seconds on a webpage? Even the highest quality content may not achieve its desired results in such a short amount of time.
This dynamic plays out with video advertising as well. In the halcyon days of television’s hegemony, ads were typically 30 to 60 seconds long. And now? The best video ad conversion rates are for assets between 16 and 20 seconds.
4) Easy to Make Enemies, Hard to Make Friends
As the famous philosopher Homer Simpson once said, “To be loved, you have to be nice to people, every day, but to be hated; you don't have to do squat!” Gaining and keeping consumer loyalty and trust is incredibly difficult; yet, all it takes is one misstep for a brand to see its hard-earned reputation go down the drain.
Brand perception is critically important, but often neglected. Bain & Company found that only 8% of consumers think companies provide a quality customer experience. Largely, less than half of the U.S. populace trusts businesses overall. Further, a 2018 study of retail customers found that a clear majority - 88% to be exact - declared brand trust to be extremely important, although two-thirds said they lost this all-important trust when brands didn’t live up to promises they earlier made.
Building trust is hard. It requires constant commitment to providing real connections at every possible moment. Destroying trust is easy. All it takes is one calamitous experience. But taking the time to build trust and gain loyalty pays dividends.
How Your Marketing Efforts Can Inspire Trust and Loyalty
So despite all this, what can marketers do to cut through the noise and drive real connections with the right audiences? What does it take to stand out from the crowd and create lasting human relationships despite the myriad marketing challenges now present today?
Unfortunately, there’s no one silver bullet that can solve all of these problems. But, by working with platforms, partners and solutions that are wholly dedicated to helping you drive real connections, you can have a fighting shot at overcoming these key marketing challenges and seeing real, measurable results from your marketing strategies.
Successful brands create new paths to understand, identify, engage and acquire consumers. The most successful brands are the ones that leverage the always-on dimension of consumer behavior, access up-to-the-moment consumer insights and translate consumer insights into action — all while being authentic, honest and real. This is what’s needed to drive real connections.
About the Author
Richard Thomas is Head of Brand Marketing, North America at InMobi. He has over 15 years of experience working with some of the world's largest B2B and B2C brands. Richard's advertising and marketing career has been spent building brands by telling their stories across integrated campaigns.