I blame it on Generation C: the connected customer. They’re not a demographic or an age group like most generations. Generation C is all of us. Think about it:
Did you visit Facebook today?
Did you visit a social media site via mobile phone?
Did you put a picture of your lunch or dinner on Tumblr or Pinterest?
Did you recently read a product review online before deciding to buy it?
Do you watch TV while posting about it on Twitter?
I know I did all these things (except the lunch picture). But seriously, as a marketer, I try to always remember that this generation is US – all of us.
Generation C trusts their peers—not advertising. They’re buying, sharing and browsing at work, at home, and everywhere else, using all kinds of devices. We call them “empowered” because they literally have the power in their hands. They expect—and demand—customised experiences based on their preferences. Your brand can surge to success or get crushed by popular opinion within 24-hour and it’s because of these always-on, constantly connected consumers.
It’s a total disruption of business as usual. Generation C makes decisions differently—and they interact in unique and creative ways. What used to be a simple conversion funnel is becoming an interesting journey of discovery and ultimate decision making — one that’s much more dynamic and interconnected.
I recently read a report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, Capitalizing on the Smarter Consumer, and found out that connected customers really do shop differently. This is how they put it: “They use technology to start and stop the shopping process and take days or even weeks to complete the various steps in the process, instead of shopping in a continuous linear flow.”
That’s how I shop these days. I’m betting many of you do, too. And we all expect to be able to pay and get things delivered where and when we want, and we demand service and support that are tailored to our needs. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Apparently it is. Some businesses spend millions of dollars each year on research and focus groups, just trying to understand what makes customers loyal. But why do that when we can take the pulse of our audiences directly? There are solutions out there that can help monitor, report on and respond to what social media users are saying and doing. It’s an amazing way to gain insight into buzz and sentiment.
This change is happening fast. What are you doing differently in your organisation to meet the shifting needs of Generation C? Share your experiences with me.