May 4, 2017
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4 Reasons The Future Of Digital Marketing Belongs To The Consumer

Back before every brand had a website, when digital marketing was still something that late adopters were warily checking out from the corner of a squinted eye, one of the prime selling points that us digital marketers tried to drive home for potential clients was the equalising effect that digital technology had on the promotional playing field. It was the horseshoe hidden in the glove of the small brand hoping to hang with the big boys.

The logic was that on the internet, all brands, whether big or small; young or established, are playing on an even field. You didn’t need to be as big as Coke or Nike for the amplifying effect of online marketing to make you look like you deserved to be in the same ring.

It was true then, and it’s true now.

The difference is that, nowadays, the trickle-down effect of advancing technology, as well as the astounding proliferation of social media, has put unprecedented promotional power into the hands of the average Joe.

#1 Accessible Tech Makes Pros Out Of Proles

It has long-ceased to be the case that one needs a king’s ransom in start-up capital in order to generate near-professional quality content.

Damn near everyone has a video camera in his or her pocket, in the form of a smartphone that comes standard with the feature. And everyone who does also has access to free basic video-editing software in the form of mobile apps like this, this or this. They might not enable the man on the street to Michael Bay his way to the Golden Globes, but for no more than the basic modern cost of living, they enable that man on the street to create influential content that grabs attention and spans the planet.

For the average Joe or Joanna with a bit more time and resources on their hands, and the dedication to do something with them, open-source software like Blender for 3D modelling and animation, or GIMP for Adobe-level image editing mean that the professional-level tools are available to anyone with a system that can run them.

Combined with a quick visit to the Youtube school of “an instructional video for every skill” and you have throngs of consumers with mastery of the skills to produce anything from recycled memes to fan-made tributes that put the professionals to shame.

Even that is setting the bar higher than it is in reality. A few spare minutes a day, a free WordPress blog, and the ability to string a sentence together is all the average consumer needs in order to emulate the digital marketer.

#2 Too Many Voices To Be Heard

No matter how hard it may try, no brand is ever going to out-produce an internet that has something to say.

You could employ a team of 100, working round-the-clock to produce as much content for your brand as is humanly possible, and 95% of it would still be drowned out by the background hum of the internet on a slow news day.

Consider the recent damage done to the United Airlines brand as an example.

After forcibly dragging a passenger from a flight that the airline had overbooked, a smartphone video of the incident went viral, and the internet responded in familiar fashion:

 

 

You can search long and hard, but you won’t find any promotional materials put out by United that come close to being as memorable as the two examples above (just two of hundreds), and when you include online reviews, blog posts and this Facebook page, it becomes clear that United’s PR people haven’t a prayer of shouting loud enough to be heard over the sound of user-generated criticisms.

United Airlines’ history of customer service is hardly glowing, and it might be impossible at this point for them to leverage any goodwill whatsoever. However, for brands that haven’t yet committed promotional suicide, the greatest brand advocate is the creativity of the forthright consumer.

When your message is drowning in an ocean of voices, it might be time to consider getting the waves to talk for you.

#3 Consumers Trust Consumers

Here, we hit on one of the greatest strengths of user-generated content: people do not trust what brands have to say about themselves.
People trust people, not brands.

As this infographic illustrates, consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that has received positive online feedback from their peers.

This is a trend that is only going to become more pronounced as time wears on and millennials entrench themselves as the target market of choice for any brand that wants to survive (and thrive) in the digital age.
Why millennials? Well, they’re the group that’s coming into their prime, with regards buying power, and so they’re the group whose attention we all want.

And the good news is that millennials are proving to be the most brand-loyal generation yet.
The more complicated news is that they are also far more wary of being sold to – as the first generation of digital natives, they are more resistant to traditional advertising tactics than their forbears, and necessitate that brands revise their entire marketing playbook.

The answer to this quandary?
Build a community around your brand, leveraging loyalty and engagement by focusing on – you guessed it – user-generated content.

#4 Social Media Amplifies Voices

At the end of the day, whether we’re talking about video reviews on Youtube, hate/love pages on Facebook, or just customer complaints on Twitter, it’s all user-generated content and it all has the potential to get attention and shift opinion.

We’re living in a post-Trump, post-Brexit world, and if 2016 proved only one thing, it is that Twitter knows better than CNN, and Facebook has the scoop when the BBC remains clueless.

Maybe if Hillary had had this sort of user-generated PR, the vote would have reflected the polls

Whenever someone doubts the efficacy of social media in spreading influence, remember that every major poll had the Brexit failing and Trump losing by a landslide, while predictions based on social media got both bets right.

Whether that means that social media (and, by extension, user-generated content) predicted the outcomes, or was a driving force behind them happening, the fact remains that if you are involved in digital marketing, you cannot long afford to ignore the power of user-generated content.

Conclusion

Your consumers are not just consumers, they are brand ambassadors and advocates, and in this day-and-age, they are the most powerful form of promotion available. Be good to them, be honest with them, and seek their engagement as equals on the platforms that they utilise to communicate with their peers.

If possible, encourage their involvement in the promotional activities your brand engages in, and engage the expertise and creativity of a generation of digital natives to your brand’s benefit.

Contact Wetpaint today and find out more about fully integrated digital communications that speak to the modern consumer.

Comments

    Vee

    Love the example on United Airlines. Very true!

    Shruti Joshi

    Hi Regard
    Thanks for sharing. I am working on the digital marketing platform, Really great information I was facing some problem regarding my Website performance and my clients complaints about targeting consumer and regarding Digital Marketing Services your Information helps me a lot to improve my steps for marketing Strategy thanks a lot again.

    MadHatter

    It’s almost like every consumer is going to become a marketer in his own right.
    Tomorrow holds a lot of thrills and threats for the industry.

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    Gaurav Heera

    Well thanks for sharing your thoughts and services, I really appreciate it.
    Digital marketing is an evolving and taking over traditional marketing I see digital marketing is a revaluation of the twenty-first century, everybody wants to be on top and earn money in minimum time, that’s a good thing but we have you be ready for every change and being updated with digital marketing with digital marketing trends, We have followed our clients research and analyze their quarries on search engines. We have to tell the consumers what is good for them and where it will be available for them.

    Strat Team

    Hi, Gaurav,
    Thanks for the input. We’re almost completely agreed. The only addendum I would make to what you’re saying is that I don’t believe that we have to tell the consumers what is good for them, we have to identify what they know is good for them, and tell them where to get that.
    Consumers have never been more informed, or more prickly about their interactions with advertising.

    At the end of the day, it’s just two different approaches though, and only history will know for sure which view is the right one.

    5 Ways to Take Your Digital Marketing to the Next Level With User-Generated Content | Wetpaint Advertising

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    jeff thomson

    It’s true in online digital marketing and all kind of marketing the consumer trust on people who use brand more than a brand

    Mac Bryan

    Social media is the best platform in online digital marketing which can boost the things so fastly.

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