The seventy7 guide to connecting with consumers

Wherever you are on the business ladder - just starting up, growing, or already established - the people that make your business work will always be your consumers, new or old. If you don’t know how to interact with them, disaster can strike, and not only in these uncertain times. At seventy7, we have expert teams that help brands plan for the future, whatever it brings. We’ve got you.

For this guide, we’ve got four key takeaways for you to interact with consumers in the right way. We’ve pulled together the best practices of speaking to Gen X (and why you should want to speak to them), how to learn from the people disrupting the market, striking a balance between bringing in new customers without alienating your loyal ones, and how to stay relatable. Come with us, if you want to learn.

Once they find a brand they like, Gen X’ers say they’ll stick with it.

Currently aged between 39 and 59 years, ‘Gen X’ have more money to spend than the bigger demographics on either side of them, the Millennials and the Boomers according to a WGSN Report. Digitally savvy, they are redefining middle age and have considerable spending influence on their Gen Z children. With this multi-generational mindset, Gen X’ers assess their spending through the lens of how it will benefit the wider family dynamic.

In the UK, 41-45 year olds are set to be the highest absolute spenders of any age group, according to a 2019 Experian White Paper. A Forbes Report states that three in five Gen X consumers agree they’ll stick with a brand once they find one they like. They are open to outsourcing decision making to the brands that they trust. Gen X’ers have multi-generational influences, both up on the Boomers and down on the Millennials.

“Three in five gen x consumers agree they’ll stick with a brand once they find one they like”

As Gen X tech literacy grows, it’s shaping a new digital bond between them and Gen Z. According to a Global Web Index Report, 36% of Gen X parents say their children have a strong influence on purchase. Brands need to create products and services that add value across the extended family ecosystem.

Connecting with younger consumers means creating real and authentic images.

By creating ‘non-perfect’ images that look like they could have been shot by consumers themselves, brands are able to achieve a more relatable and trustworthy tone. More and more brands are tapping into this trend as one of the key marketing techniques used to engage and build trust with younger consumer groups. The visual brand conversation has to be shifted, images have to look like they’re not staged, and images have to be all about real and authentic people. 

Street and candid style photography are now used as a powerful vehicle for diverse storytelling forms that routinely push boundaries. Brands must rethink the creative brief and look at it from the audience’s perspective, an audience that consumes mobile content first. Rather than sticking to pre-made visual templates and traditional approaches, brands should look to new and original ideas. Creativity can often flow best when brands offer more autonomy to the right photographer to help guide the conversation.

“Brands must rethink the creative brief and look at it from the audience’s perspective.”

With Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok actively targeting the Gen Z demographic, brands need to tailor their content to fit these social media platforms. Brands should adopt the kind of photographic and video styles that look like they were produced on those same platforms. Think vertical layouts, tight close-ups and a ‘subject as the story’ point of view.

The EyeEm Visual Trends Report 2020 predicts that more and more brands will use this visual style in their campaigns to engage with younger consumers. The ultimate recent example was when Samsung hosted the world’s first vertical gig in 2019, allowing audience members to capture all elements of the show perfectly on their phones.

A new breed of brand is driving a more intimate customer experience.

Think Casper, Harry’s, Warby Parker, and Glossier. These new Direct-To-Consumer brands are positioning themselves as challengers and seeking to disrupt by providing high levels of innovation and exceptional customer service. These start-ups are competing with some of the biggest retail brands, and they’re doing so by rethinking not just the product, but also the retail model. For these disruptor brands the end-to-end user experience of selection, purchasing and customer service is as important as the product itself. Rather than simply selling products, the new D2C brands invest in building awareness and telling unique stories in order to reach new audiences and bring in new customers.

“Toned-down content humanises new D2C brands and makes them more approachable.”

New D2C brands create a customer experience that can’t help but be shared on social media, serving as both user-generated content and customer advocacy. Smaller teams create content on a par with major advertisers, and talented creatives positively impact the bottom line. Toned-down content humanises new D2C brands and makes them more approachable. Creating innovative marketing campaigns is a necessity for the new D2C brands, as they are up against established big-name competitors.

They succeed by having a personal and authentic approach to their customers’ needs. Authenticity then catches audience attention, leads people to talk about it, and ultimately increases brand perception. The benefits of disruptive D2C marketing are clear, as through this direct approach these new brands are creating stronger relationships with their consumers.

Market to the masses, as well as to existing customers.

Consumers can be divided into non-buyers, light buyers, medium buyers and heavy buyers, with non-buyers being just that - individuals who do not buy from a brand. Light, medium and heavy buyers are simply classified by how much of a brand’s product they buy. In many cases almost 80% of a brand’s buyers are ‘light buyers’, according to the Percolate, Brand Building for the Modern Marketer Report.

Maintaining sales and growing sales means striking a balance between targeted marketing and mass marketing, with the latter reaching more ‘light buyers’. Targeted brand campaigns tend to be focused on a smaller select audience of existing customers, delivering shorter-term sales increases.

“A brand’s lightest buyers are delivering approximately 50% of sales”

Mass campaigns tend to be more emotional and creative, leading to increased brand awareness and longer-term success. Light buyers heavily dominate the customer base of most brands. For the most part a brand’s lightest buyers are delivering approximately 50% of sales, collectively making them very important to the business.

To maintain sales and grow a brand, marketers must target the light buyer masses, as well as focusing on existing customers. Targeting light buyers can be most productive, as it’s almost impossible to target light buyers without also reaching heavy buyers. Though brands take pride in having distinctive brand buyers, the demographic profiles of customers tend to be almost identical.

Simply getting existing customers to buy more often, and to buy with 100% loyalty to a brand is unrealistic, as no brand commands 100% loyalty.

We hope this was useful towards building, growing, or simply changing the way you speak to consumers. Want more insights, or a guiding hand from seventy7 experts? Get in touch with us and we can help you find your perfect strategy. If you want the latest industry trends, get the seventy7 newsletter delivered straight to your inbox, we round them up, so you don’t have to. Sign up here

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