Monday, October 13, 2008

Interactive Marketing - who is the customer?

Marketers are accustomed to taking a generational look at their customers in order to find out the most fitting media mix, creative treatment, and call-to-action. This analysis matters even more for those who are in interactive marketing. Young consumers (Gen Yers and millennials) interact with digital media in a fundamentally different way than their older siblings, parents, and grandparents. Here is a closer look at Interactive Marketing:

· Gen Y is redefining the future of interactive marketing. Gen Yers internalize technology like no other generation -- giving more credence to investments in interactive channels. Compared with other adults, they're more than twice as likely to be Creators of original content (31% versus 14%) and Joiners of social networks (54% versus 22%). Like all adults, they regularly use portals for email and search but are more likely to tap other portal resources, like calendars (18% versus 11%) and video search (18% versus 7%). There are reports available on these from Forrester - The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008 and Benchmark 2008: Gen Y Comes Of Age -- both must reads for any interactive marketers who needs quantitative insights to plan campaigns and grow the overall digital budget.

· Teens multitask more than ever. Anyone with a 16-year-old knows that, at this age, relationships eclipse almost everything. So it should come as no surprise that young consumers, ages 12 to 17, engage in all sorts of social activities while engaging with traditional media channels. Did you know that younger teens multitask more with video games while older teens are more likely to multitask while listening to music and interacting with their peers? Both groups have a tendency to multitask while doing homework (sorry teachers!).

· Social media requires new rules of engagement. Since young consumers -- with their different expectations -- love social media, marketers must become fluent in the language of these tools. In the case of blogs, marketers must answer the questions, "Will we allow posts that criticize our products?" and "Do we want our customers talking about our competitors on our blog?" With desktop and Web widgets -- much more popular with youth than adults -- the question is: "How can we leverage widgets for marketing purposes?"

For Those Of You With Other Customer Segments
Not all of you market to millennials or Gen Yers -- exclusively or even primarily. There are marketing tactics that appeal to other generations. For example, mobile email has specific appeal to Gen X (the average age of consumers who use mobile email at least monthly is 37). Marketers can ready their email programs by asking subscribers about their mobile preferences and understanding how email renders on mobile devices.