Do you run an ad-blocker? Do you consciously scroll past advertisement on social?
Consumer-behavior has changed with our advertisement culture and technology. Audiences have become heavily polarized. It’s no longer between benign indifference and brand-loyalty. It’s between love and hate.
Social has bred a generation of binary-thinking.
And the only way to survive in the future is to become customer centric.
According to multiple sources like Business Insider the total percentage of all internet users that is going to block ads in 2018 is going to hit 30%.
Let this sink in.
A third of all potential recipients of your ads, especially if its something like AdWords or website display-ads, will never see your advertisement. Even worse, as demand stays the same (or grows) but the audience-supply shrinks, online advertisement will become more and more expensive. And advertisement platforms that can’t be blocked easily because they are apps on mobile, like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn will tighten their vice-like grip on online advertisement.
But what does this have to do with being customer centric?
I’m trying to make a point, bear with me.
The Reliance On Advertising Platforms
The problem that brands will face within the next few years will be a shrinking audience-availability for lean-back digital advertisement. People will need to be engaged by active forms, organically without relying on served ads.
Additionally the emergence of new technologies like voice search and AI will shift the perspective away from positioning your brand online, to positioning your brand with service providers.
For example, if you say “Alexa, buy some toothpaste.”, how will Alexa know which brand of toothpaste to order? Will it be Colgate or Blend-A-Med?
Would you even care?
Turns out most consumers do not actually care about most of their item’s brand, i.e. they just want toothpaste (or toilet paper, onions, cheddar cheese etc).
Right now Alexa would suggest you toothpaste brands depending on “Amazon Choice” products, and that’s how it will work in the future as well. Amazon will charge your brand a premium to be positioned and “advertised” as a suggested product. If your product won’t be on that (short) list, tough luck.
You are giving all your control and leverage away to a distribution company.
There is only one way out, and that is to get your customers to actually care for your product enough to consciously order from your brand.
Invest In Your Customers & The Brand Experience
Thinking about this it becomes clear that your brand itself will decide your success in the market. You need organic “advertisement”, like in the good old days. Word of mouth is going to become king, and your brand needs to stand the test.
To do this, you need to become customer centric. You need to put your customers first not just on paper, but in practice. Their loyalty will come with an ever increasing ratio of sales, because other avenues become more and more restricted.
What we are talking about here is a paradigm-shift in advertisement as we know it. It no longer relies on crafting paid advertisement in a way you are used to.
This isn’t about a TV ad. This isn’t about crafting beautiful social media creative.
It’s about your brand becoming part of the family. It’s making your brand synonymous with an item or niche in a market.
For example Tempo tissues in Germany are synonymous with single-use tissues in general. You say “Do you have a Tempo?” instead of “Do you have a tissue?”. Or I frequently order Coke at restaurants even if they only serve Pepsi. (I will still drink the Pepsi though). If I had to order this kind of drink from Alexa, I’d be ordering Coke, not Pepsi.
Products and brands will need to become more concerned about their user experience to elicit this kind of loyalty.
Don’t Screw This Up
On the other side of the spectrum, if you manage to permanently damage your brand the impact will be felt much stronger than before.
With other advertisement avenues closing down or becoming less effective, the impact of a bad brand experience will potentially gut your business. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the power of social and how polarized audiences have become.
There is only love or hate. Like or dislike.
Everyone has an opinion, and it’s increasingly not nuanced. Consider your options.
And if you need help with your Customer Experience and want to become more customer centric, get in touch.
Also published on Medium.