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The Secrets to Engaging with the Modern Consumer

Millennial Magazine - modern consumer

The average consumer is fundamentally different from how they used to be a few decades ago. Business strategies have changed a lot over the years, and it all revolves around consumer behaviors. Companies need to find ways to engage with the modern consumer, picking on things that people see as important in current times. 

Believe it or not, but this is where a lot of businesses struggle the most. They use outdated methods or techniques to engage with their customers, and then wonder why nothing is working. It’s all about learning everything you can about modern consumers and what they deem the most significant things in a company. 

Today, we’re going to explore the secrets to targeting and engaging with the modern consumer. What tactics and techniques should you use? If you keep on reading, you’ll soon find out…

Go digital

The modern shopper has more technology at their disposal than shoppers of yesteryear. This technology allows them to do most of their shopping and browsing online, across multiple devices. Even elderly people have started doing this, with many of them having a tablet that they use to do their shopping on. It’s more convenient, it’s quicker, and it is often cheaper as well. 

With that in mind, businesses need to recognize the need to go digital. This applies to your methods of selling; you need to sell online and have digital selling channels open for customers. But, it also applies to your marketing and advertising approaches. If your customers are likely to be shopping online, you will do a better job of reaching them with digital marketing strategies, such as:

  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Display advertising
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing
  • Content marketing

The list goes on, but you will only find modern consumers and engage with them if you’ve gone digital. Some traditional marketing methods do still work, but the majority of consumers are found in the digital realm, so you need to have a strong digital strategy in place. 

Social proof

What is social proof?

Well, the definition of it is that it’s a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. Put into simpler terms, it refers to instances where people do things based on the behavior of others. In a business sense, it can be simplified further by the example of seeing a long line of customers outside a shop. Passers-by will see the line and be influenced to stop and have a look at the shop, possibly even joining the queue. Why? Because they’ve seen loads of people lining up outside, so there must be something good about the shop. 

Social proof has a massive role to play in the modern business world as consumers are so heavily influenced by what other people say or do. The most obvious example of social proof is through reviews or testimonials. You display instances of customers having a positive experience via your business, and it influences others to give you a try. Conversely, if people have a negative experience of a company, it makes others want to stay away. There are some telling stats to back this up, such as 89% of consumers checking reviews before they buy something, and 79% of shoppers trusting online reviews. 

Essentially, if you want to target and engage the modern consumer, you need to have a lot of social proof. Start with reviews, but continue to find ways of proving to others that you’re a good company. Adding awards or certifications to your site are two other ways of generating social proof. These tell consumers that governing bodies and other important organizations value your business – which has a positive influence on their shopping habits. 

Be more human

More and more, consumers want to shop at businesses that feel less corporate and more human. According to a study from a few years ago, if a brand is presented as human-like, shoppers are more than twice as likely to love it, and 1.8 times more likely to recommend it to others. 

Why is this the case? There are plenty of theories surrounding it, but the most obvious one is that human-like businesses seem more trustworthy. Consumers feel like they are talking to human beings like themselves, rather than being told a lot of corporate drivel from a corporate machine. It’s easier to form connections with human-like brands, and you trust that they have your best interests at heart. 

How can you be more human? A combination of tactics can be done, and the first is to ensure that you have humans handling communication. Don’t let your social media feed be flooded with scheduled and automated posts; have humans write your tweets or respond to comments. Make it feel like your business is just another person enjoying the online world. Another popular tactic is to use corporate video production to show people what your business is like behind the scenes. It helps to break down barriers, showing all the humans working for the company, what they do, how they work, etc. Consumers form a better connection with a company that does this as it feels really personal. 

In the past, people were used to businesses being corporate machines with no heart. Now, it’s reached a point where modern consumers want human interactions – they want to feel important, rather than just another sales lead. 

Use your voice

It wouldn’t be harsh to say that the modern consumer is more intelligent than the ones of the past. Perhaps that’s not the right way to put it…consumers are more aware of things these days, and they hold businesses accountable. Before, there was a relationship between consumers and businesses that was pretty simple. People would just buy things and accept them as they were. 

Now, we expect more from companies. You have shopped at different companies based on their attitudes to certain things. You have avoided companies that seemingly don’t care about important global topics. As a business owner, you need to realize that consumers are counting on you to do the right thing. This means being an ethical company, but it also means using your voice. 

The consumers of today and tomorrow know that businesses have a massive influence on the population. After all, you run advertising campaigns that reach thousands of people all the time. You might have massive social media followings; you have a big platform. So, if you don’t use this platform to bring about positive changes, consumers won’t take too kindly to you. On the other hand, if you use your voice to talk about pressing issues and raise awareness about things that are in the shadows, the modern consumer will have a positive opinion of your business. 

Whether this means campaigning against climate change, raising awareness about sexism in the workplace, and so on. The point is that you talk about these issues, bring them into the public eye, and do your bit to help the fight. Shoppers trust businesses like this, and it earns their loyalty. 

Great customer service

This treads along a similar line as the human point, but it’s more focused on your customer service practices. In the past, consumers had a more lenient view of customer service. Again, perhaps that’s not the most accurate way of putting it. It might not have been that they had a lenient view, it was more a case of not having a platform to complain about it to the masses. With the rise of social media, anyone can complain about a business. One tweet can be seen by thousands of others, which has a negative impact on the business. We’ve already spoken about the power of social influence, and many consumers might be put off using a company if they see lots of tweets about how poor their customer service is. 

Consequently, you need to deliver excellent customer service that keeps everyone happy. You should always respond to queries and complaints as promptly as can be. You need to have people speaking the same language as the customer, making it easier for them to talk to customer service. Finally, you need various methods of customer service, such as:

  • Phone lines
  • Email
  • Live chat
  • Social media
  • In-person

The modern consumer has more questions than ever before, and they need the answers ASAP. With good customer service, you can engage with them and keep them interested in your business. 

Realistically, if you look at all these points there’s an underlying theme: trust. It’s all about employing ideas and tactics that build trust between your company and the consumer. Modern shoppers are more skeptical than they used to be – they’re always worried about being ripped off or falling into a scam. So, if your company can work on generating trust with consumers, you are going to be successful. The best ways to do this are by following the tips laid out above. You will start engaging with modern consumers, finding it easier to convert them to customers!

What do you think?

Written by JR Dominguez

JR Dominguez is the technology, finance and music editor for MiLLENNiAL. When he's not writing, you can find him day-trading stocks, playing video games, or composing commercial scores.

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