Marketing – getting past new consumer filters

The Wall Street Journal’s European edition has an article written by Mr. Simon Clift, Global Chief Marketing Officer for personal care at Unilever, entitled “Brave New World” which notes how consumers today “live in an age in which we increasingly can choose when, how and where we receive commercial messages”. That trend is being helped by the rapidly changing format used by consumers for entertainment and even work where there is a marked desire to ” interact with companies rather than have them talk at us — whether the discussion is about brand design or understanding a brand’s point of view on the world”. Increasingly, “consumers are switching off — either mentally or physically — from the ads they see”. That obviously poses a challenge for marketers regardless of the medium used but in particular for television where the 30-second ad slot is increasingly under threat.

Mr. Clift notes that “a recent survey of marketers revealed that their No. 1 challenge is integrating their various communications — print, television and online”. Hospitality companies face that problem constantly not only in terms of synchronizing the content, look and feel of their message but in also ensuring uniformity of pricing while also ensuring that the message is tailored to the audience. But just as audiences for TV channels vary widely based on programming content the audience (and demographics) online varies vastly with the content. Online Poker is, for example, a ripe format for the younger male set who are given to risks and “the perfect place for a brand that targets men who take risks”.

Communication (in advertising) that generates dialog is evidently the way to get your ad to stand out as word of mouth advertising is “increasingly influential: 90% of consumers regularly or occasionally give or seek advice from others about products or services”. (This website has commented previously on the significant benefits accruing from word of mouth advertising). Getting guests to talk about a hotel chain’s attributes is what pivots the boutique concept and attempts to get past the consumer filters but with an abundance if not, surfeit of designer hotels flooding the markets it is going to take more than conventional chic to stimulate conversation.