At a recent Locally Crafted Marketing seminar hosted by ReachLocal, Bo Pulito, strategic partner manager with Google, shared three important technology trends that are changing consumer behavior. These trends are critical for local businesses to understand, because businesses must really understand their consumers and how they are using technology in their day-to-day lives in order to reach them through marketing.
Here are three practical tips and strategies he discussed that your local business can use to to take advantage of these trends.
1) The Internet of Things Demands an Integrated Marketing Strategy
The Internet of Things is essentially bringing Internet capabilities to ordinary things, says Pulito. And it’s a trend quickly gaining traction. Already, there will be about 5 billion devices connected to the Internet this year. Within just 5 years, this will blossom to 50 billion devices.
The massive, quick growth rate of the Internet of Things is a trend that local businesses need to be aware of, because this device connectivity will impact and shape how consumers use devices and the Internet. And if you want to reach consumers, you have to understand how consumer behavior is changing.
When it comes to marketing, this trend is already making a visible impact. Our televisions, phones, and other common household devices are becoming connected first, and this has already adapted consumer behavior. For example, look at the “multiscreen” trend in which most people watch television while also using another digital devices. From a marketing perspective, this consumer behavior presents a huge opportunity.
According to Pulito, the average consumer looks at 10.7 sources of information before making a purchase decision – think of this as 10.7 opportunities you have to get in front of that consumer before they decide to buy.
This means that today, you need a marketing strategy is not siloed by where it’s being displayed. You need to think about a marketing strategy across the cohesive ecosystem – search, TV, radio, display, video – all of this needs to speak to each other and to the consumer as one cohesive message.
2) Mobile Means it’s time to Think Local
Today, mobile is becoming a central source of information. In fact, we check our phones 151 times per day, Pulito says, and though most people have other ways to access the Internet, 80% of all mobile searches occur within close proximity to a laptop or desktop. Mobile has become a matter of preference. This is a key consumer trend local businesses need to adapt to. Especially because local is such a critical piece of mobile intent.
Last year was the first time that the number of searches on mobile devices surpassed that of desktop searches. One in 3 of those searches had local intent. And the use of the term “near me” increased 33 times in the last 4 years.
The behavior of consumers on mobile devices is different than on a desktop, Pulito says. They want the information now, and to take action on it quickly. People want information about a specific business they’re trying to find.
There are many important ways that businesses need to incorporate a mobile marketing strategy, from having a mobile website to incorporating mobile into their advertising strategy to making sure they show up in mobile apps.
One quick win local businesses can have in mobile marketing?
Claim your Google My Business profile, says Pulito. This helps ensure the information in Google Maps and local search is accurate, because that is stored in the Google My Business system. One of the biggest challenges Google sees is that when this information is not right it impacts both business’ search results and traffic to their business.
3) Personalization Means Increased Capabilities for Targeting
The “Internet of Me” is an era in which mass technology now has the ability to be hyper-personalized for the end user, providing new and useful things unique to each user.
Take, for example, technology like Google Now, which is a predictive search technology trying to answer a question for you before you ask the question. For example, it will send you directions to the airport before you need to leave to drive there if it sees a plane ticket confirmation for the following day in your email inbox. It can set helpful reminders, recommend places to eat, and provide useful information – without you ever having to ask for it. This app is already available on Android phones and you can download it on iPhone as well.
This is the future of search – technology that knows what you will need or be looking for and predicts the answer for you – before you ask the question, and there are many opportunities for marketing based on the information this personalization leverages.
Today, there are already many ways local businesses can target their advertising to take advantage of this trend. One of the most powerful is remarketing (also known as retargeting), which gives you the opportunity to bring back customers after they’ve left your website. It’s one of the highest performing types of targeting that exists in online marketing, because it’s targeting people who already showed an interest in your business.
What do you think about these technology trends and how they’re impacting consumers? Do any of these influence you on a daily basis?
How have you adapted your marketing to make sure that you’re reaching consumers online?
Share your thoughts in a comment!