The Digital Consumer: 19th October 2009

Earlier this week I went to a CIM talk about the Digital Consumer presented by Peter Walshe, Director of Brandz, Millward Brown. Peter presented his top 10 trends for 2010 some of which I will summarise here. I found the talk really insightful and useful which you will see from my comments below:

Trend 1: During a recession people are proud of their prudence

We’ve all seen voucher codes online and email forwards about discounted products. Next year consumers will be hunting for deals online and clever marketers will take advantage of this in their pricing strategies and promotional tools.

Tuangou is a Chinese phenomenon where consumers are grouping together to combine their buying power and effect economies of scale from retailers. Is this something we’ll see in Europe next year?

Trend 2: Search doesn’t sit still

We have seen Microsoft Bing launch this year and Google becoming the most valuable global brand* demonstrating that search is where it’s at in the digital world. Google is also introducing wiki’s to searches so you can annotate and interact with your search results, as well as delivering the latest added content relating to your search- not just what optimisers can get to the top ranking.

Trend 3: Viral video and video commercialisation

The most ‘forwarded’ videos are the ones that can be personalised in some way and marketers need to get good at making this happen. Virals are effective if they are clever and different, have a feel good factor, are topical and timely and have a purpose. Virals need to relate to real issues and put the user at the centre of the brand experience.

Millward Brown has come up with a formula for predicting how many views YouTube videos can expect to generate. This research has produced some compelling numbers that can prove the value that viral videos can add to a brand thus enabling marketers to account for marketing spend in this area.

Trend 4: Even tighter targeting

This trend is already gearing up to be massive with new geo targeting where consumers are targeted via their mobile phone according to their geographical location. By offering a trial “We know you’re outside our coffee shop so why not come on in for a free latte” marketers can build brand advocacy and affinity easily in a timely manner. Social networks are also using the information they hold about their users but it’s a fine line they tread with regards to data protection and intrusion.

Trend 5: Mobile making its mark

Marketers are already using SMS but with more people now accessing the internet via their mobile phone than through their PC’s, this is an advertising route waiting to be taken advantage of. Millward Brown have proven that display screen advertising is a useful tool for creating brand awareness but as mobile screens are still so small the complexity of advertising design should be thought through fully and this route used with caution.

Trend 6: Keeping track of consumer online data and turning it into insight

There is a multitude of metrics we can use to monitor digital activity but turning that data in to something useful is a skill that may be lacking in our industry. Some of the gripping numbers Peter reported include that 14 million people in the UK are online spending an average of 23 hours per week using the net.

90% of mums use the internet daily- how can marketers use this information for targeting and segmentation?

73% of people with children use the internet each week compared to 52% of people without kids- what does this say about the way we spend our time and what can be communicated to appeal to the right people?

Trend 7: The games people play

Of the 10 most anticipated computer games of 2010, 8 of them use online interaction. Marketers may be able to use interactive games that can be personalised, to enhance their online offering and appeal to the broad range of consumers that are into gaming.

Trend 8: Brand building

Walshe reported that next year 70% of all online content will be user generated, so how does this impact on those of us that build our brands via internet marketing? Conversations need to happen with publics so that they build our brands for us via blogs, social networks, review sites… We need to be seen as transparent and honest and let our results do the talking. Our online activity needs to be supplemented via other communication routes so that consumers move through the ladder of loyalty and are advocates for us through the content they will inevitably publish to the web.

Thank you Peter and CIM
*Brandz survey 2009

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