February '19

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16 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2019 is poor first impression. This is followed very closely by a poor product experience, especially with service and support. They understand and appreciate con- sistency, so create a uniform, recognizable experience across all touchpoints, starting with your brand's type—the language in which every message appears. UNDER THE INFLUENCE Your best customers are brand advocates and influencers. As a marketing side note, treat them as your most expert consultants and content creators. Your audience will understand and appreciate the consistency. The marketing keywords/phrases and static/dull images won't work. Use images/ words they can attach value to rather than your features and benefits. Also look for opportunities to identify and work with your influencers/advocates. Remember, they've grown up in an era of Snapchat, Instagram and constant connectivity. Traditional ad campaigns won't disappear, but marketing needs to focus on expanding their horizons and the possibilities by fea- turing user-generated content (UGC). Consumers of all ages want to see real people and read genuine reviews before they're ready to commit, and this is espe- cially true of teens/tweens. According to eMarketer, 68 percent of Gen Zers and 53 percent of older con- sumers say they are more likely to buy a product after seeing it featured in an image provided by a real customer. The focused approach is not only cost- effective, but can help build your team of brand advocates. Create shareable, branded content and leverage chatbots. The mobile messaging space is perfectly suited for the hyper-per- sonal, relevant outreach that people expect. eMarketer reported that 90 percent of consumers want to use messaging to com- municate with brands. In addition, there are other equally effec- tive ways for companies to tell their stories and engage teens (actually all ages) that are beginning to gain traction with marketers and smartphone users. NewsDriver is one of the new breed of marketing/PR tools that enables companies to deliver mobile-first stories to a carefully selected social media market. Unlike news/press services, it allows com- panies to develop a message that meets mobile device users' needs—educational, informational, entertaining and targeted. And it can be tailored to work for virtu- ally any product or any audience—con- sumer and B2B. Then, it can be precisely targeted for specific social media delivery. Marketing communications efforts like this to a well-defined prospective audi- ence almost seems like an invited message for the individual, so it's interesting rather than intrusive. SEE YOU SOON Marketers must take advantage of tailored solutions like this, but be careful not to abuse them or you won't be "invited back." Keep in mind that Gen Z was born/raised on digital—and they know how to use it! Constantly monitor and measure brand equity. Consumer acceptance and disapproval move rapidly these days. Live with the fact that what people want today might not be the case tomorrow. True, unlike their older counterparts, it is more difficult for them to walk away from their technology. Similarly, they are the world's first gen- eration of truly digital natives and have developed their own set of characteristics, mannerisms and trends. It won't be long until they're running things and you'll be... old! ANDY MARKEN is owner and president of Marken Communica- tions Inc., a marketing and com- munications consultant firm located in the San Francisco area since August 1977. He is the author of more than 400 articles on management, marketing and communications and a frequent speaker at management and marketing confer- ences. Experience includes strategic, market planning and execution with communications/ internet firms, as well as in storage, storage man- agement and video solutions. Strong video content is needed to reach Gen Z members where they visit most. "Mobile first" has quickly become the mantra of today's marketers that are developing messages with strong graphics, minimal copy and (for added emphasis) in- cluding video links so Gen Z viewers spend more time with the product's message. Teens Rising

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