Not in Retail? Consumer Habits Still Matter

Last week, we looked at the results of Deloitte’s annual Back-to-School Shopping survey. Results indicate that, although they’re nowhere near ready for spending freely, consumers have adopted a less pessimistic attitude about their finances. Retailers were especially pleased with this news, since it indicates a fundamental increase in consumers’ willingness to spend money.

But what if you’re not in retail? While the survey results may be interesting, do they really impact you as a marketing professional? Particularly for those in B2B marketing, consumers’ retail spending habits may seem a bit irrelevant, or at least tangential to overall marketing strategy. But any marketing professional can gain insights from these results.

Marketing is about People

We all know our target markets. Your target market could be married women over 50 who own multiple cats—or it could be Fortune 500 companies that need accounting consultants. Either way, a person somewhere is responsible for making the choice to purchase your product or service. Even in the B2B marketplace, where all prospects might fall into disparate demographic categories, the targets are still all people.

Our challenge as marketing professionals is to reach those people with compelling messages that will inspire them to trust us—and ultimately to patronize our businesses. Therefore knowing about consumer habits, attitudes, and preferences makes sense, regardless of your individual industry or focus.

Lessons from Back-to-School Shopping

This year’s trends in shopping indicate not only an increased willingness to spend money, but also an increased use of multimedia to enrich and inform the shopping process. For marketers, this means it’s important to follow the ABC’s of 21st-century marketing:

  • A is for Authenticity: Customers increasingly crave transparency and authenticity from corporations. And that doesn’t mean a corporate blog. Customers want a personal connection with brands and they also want to know that their social networks recommend those brands. Consumers turn to mobile apps and social networks with more and more frequency, looking for reviews, feedback, and recommendations.
  • B is for Balance: That explosion in social media and mobile apps has led many companies into “shiny object marketing,” where they abandon traditional marketing tactics for the Next Big Thing in the marketing universe. But the most successful marketers know that they must maintain a balance of traditional and online marketing strategies if they wish to maintain brand awareness. After all, consumers still watch television, open mail, and read magazines, so it makes no sense to completely discard traditional marketing and advertising practices.
  • C is for Choices: We must always remember that every prospect—and current client—has choices, and those choices are growing ever more accessible. Illustrating point of difference—and taking steps to improve accessibility—are critical for successful marketing. Even components that may seem to have little relation to marketing can work to support marketing efforts. In other words, if you think search engine optimization is just for the IT department, think again. The right SEO and landing pages facilitate prospects’ discovering you online.

What’s your take on how the marketing landscape has changed? How do you believe it will evolve in coming years? Share your opinion with us! If you’d like to write a guest blog, please email [email protected].