Does this sound familiar? The alarm goes off on your Smart phone, you hit dismiss and blink repeatedly adjusting to the light as you unplug your phone from the charger. Lying in the warmth of your bed, yawning and dry mouthed, you check your emails, sorting through newsletters, spam and urgent information. As you walk to the bathroom, you check your twitter feeds to see what you have missed from those you follow in the time zone ahead of you. You Retweet and reply while going through your morning grooming rituals, then put your phone on Pandora while you take a shower. Once you are dry and it is safe to touch your electronics again, you eat your breakfast while reading your RSS feeds and watching videos at YouTube on your iPad, absorbing all the information, leaving comments, then Retweeting and sharing on Facebook.
Sound like your morning?
In this new world where information is spread virally in a matter of minutes, iPads have replaced the newspaper, marketing is all done through social media and entire businesses are run from a smart phone, you have to ask yourself: is my business in the right place? Let’s look back at that typical morning of a Millennial (those born in the 80’s and 90’s).
When the alarm goes off, the first touch is with email; newsletters, spam and information pertinent to the reader. Within those emails is talk of technology, networking, events, information sharing and advertising. People sign up for newsletters, coupons and join mailing list for things that are relevant to their interest, hobbies, families and business. They get the information sent directly to them, rather than hoping to stumble upon a deal, event or new information by chance in a newspaper or television.
While grooming through the morning, Twitter occupies the mind. Reading the tweeter feed of the hand-selected individuals is all a part of the sharing processes. Telling others where they are through foursquare, giving 140-character reviews on a meal or service, ranting about an amazing or terrible product, or just sharing their mood connects people in ways they never were able to before. Geography has become merely a hiccup in connecting, versus the incredible inconvenience it once was. Twitter builds relationships and allows an insight into the worlds of those we would never have been able access in the past.
A Millennial would never consider showering in silence, so Pandora’s free radio, which creates customized playlist based on artists and songs you like, is the perfect solution. Like all public radio, they have to get their money somehow, so Pandora has commercials about every 3-5 songs tailored to your phone’s area code and includes advertisement for whichever business is randomly chosen to sponsor your next few songs.
The post-hygiene portion of the morning, where your Millennial stuffs their face with colorful cereals and Pop-Tarts, is where the real advertising takes place. Blogs, also selected by the reader based on what they are interested in knowing more about, is where businesses sit back, listen and let the people work for them. Blogs have replaced the newspaper by offering a more unbiased and unfiltered perspective on people, politics, pop culture, technology, products and every and any other topic that can be talked about. The world, not just Millennials, craves information; they want to be informed and entertained and they want to be informed and entertained now. Blogs are the gold mine for expertise, commenting, sharing, arguing, and seeing what it is that your consumers want.
Technology and social media have opened up a whole new world for the consumer. That’s right: the consumer. Consumers no longer have to be subjected to products and information they don’t want to know about; they get to pick what they want to know about. The consumer has also never been smarter, more informed, or more opinionated. Before anything is bought or a place is visited, a simple Google search is done to read reviews on the product or place in question, to see not only if it is worthy of their businesses, but also to see what their customer service is like, what’s good to eat or good to do there and if there are any social media specials available.
Businesses are now at the mercy of their consumers; it is now businesses’ responsibility to be involved in the community that their customers belong to, listen to their needs, answer their questions and connect with them beyond their products and services. It is now the responsibility of businesses to make sure they don’t get deleted from inboxes, that they have retweetable information, informative blogs and a reason to be followed.
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