The Always On Customer – Digital Trends 2014

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Digital Trends for the Always On Customer 2014
Recently, I keynoted at a marketing summit for Ultimate Software, a Fortune 100 Best Company to Work for winner. At Ultimate, their focus is always on people – whether employees, customers, or prospective customers. As a B2B human capital management technology company, they thrive and grow because of that focus so it was no doubt that when we brainstormed the theme for the keynote, it would be about people, in this case, their customers.
Who are our customers in 2014?
Whether it’s consumers or businesses you’re selling to, we know a few key facts about them:
1.    Customers want to feel loved.  That love can be delivered in many different ways, they want to feel like they matter.

2.     They are consuming content everywhere. Laptops, desktops, smartphones. Heck, they even sleep with their phones!

3.     They have attention spans less than a goldfish! That’s right folks. You have 8 seconds to capture a user’s attention on your web site. However, if you’re marketing to goldfish, you have a full 9 seconds (“Not Quite the average: An Empirical Study of Web Use,” in the ACM Transactions on the Web.).

So, now that we know our customers are dying to feel loved, spending a ton of time with mobile devices, and have tiny attention spans, what are the digital trends for this year and how can we leverage them to make a connection with these people?

Digital Trend 1: mobile is transforming the customer experience
Stats
·      In 2013, Gartner reported that for the first time in history, mobile device sales outpaced PCs.
·      More than half of c-level execs feel comfortable making businesses purchases through their mobile device.
·      A Google study reported that half of all B2B-related tweets happen on mobile devices, and 83% of executives are posting to business-related social media sites.
Examples
A great example of how this trend is being utilized is by Personality Hotels. A new app, launched Jan 2014, allows customers to check in on a Smartphone or a feature phone without ever having to wait in the lobby. And it’s a win-win because increased customer convenience makes them feel loved while Personality Hotels now has a tool to market to customers while they are on property, increasing share of wallet from their guests.
Key Takeaway
You cannot ignore mobile in your marketing plans.  
Digital Trend 2: content is still king this year. context is queen.
Stats
·      93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing
·      The use of infographics has grown 13% in the past year, the largest year-over-year increase to date.
·      Putting the right content on the right channel is where you’ll see the biggest wins. Don’t ask someone to download a whitepaper on a smartphone. Give people something smaller and easier to digest on that screen.
Example
Sungard created a zombie apocalypse marketing campaign on how to move to the cloud for IT professionals. The campaign was highly successful as it yielded three times more downloads than expected.
Sungard used a trendy topic in a timely manner (right before Halloween), they were featured on several niche sites, and they measured success by more than just sales. 
Takeaways
Create engaging content that has personality and carefully time its delivery. Measure your success by shares as well as sales.
Digital Trend 3: native advertising
       Native ads are viewed 53% more than traditional ads.
       They have an 18% higher purchase intent after viewing than banner ads.
       And guess what? They are 13% more likely to be shared as compared to regular banner ads.
Publishers and technology companies alike are figuring out how to offer native advertising solutions to marketers. So far the Forbes Brand Voice platformand the Sharethrough platforms have my attention.
Takeaways
Look for opportunities to ingrain your content with your key publishing partners. Native advertising is less intrusive and creates less user-experience disruption.
Digital Trend 4: programmatic ad buying
Programmatic ad buying may sound complicated but it’s worth testing because it promises to be cost effective, constantly optimized, and highly targeted.  It’s a system that defragments a complex media landscape. It aggregates inventory and applies algorithms to determine where your ad dollars will be most effective, which will reduce the need for human oversight.
Have you used any of these trends in your marketing?  
Click here for the full presentation on Slideshare!