Reaching consumers in the era of “wanting less”

Consumers crave a simpler life, according to Shar VanBoskirk, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst who recently discussed the future of digital marketing at the Forrester Consumer Marketing Forum 2017 event.

I couldn’t agree more. According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, “adults 18+ spent over 73.5 billion gross minutes consuming news in an average week.” No wonder why my eye won’t stop twitching.

Yet, as a professional in the media industry, providing a simpler online experience is easier said than done.

Rising content consumption has primarily been driven by mobile. In comScore’s State of Digital report states, “Growth in digital media usage since 2013 has been driven almost entirely by smartphones.”

We know that mobile devices have significantly and permanently changed the way we live our lives. Particularly influencing where we’re spending our time digitally. The intimacy of the mobile user experience has disrupted how we process, consume and expect our online experiences to be, personal.

The personal online experience that we desire doesn’t exist, yet, and according to Forrester, we’re still about 10 to 15 years out from a personalized user experience online.

So how do marketers reach a population of consumers who are sick of the noise, overwhelmed by content and desire a simpler online experience?

Marketers can start to uncover answers using data. These numbers will provide the insights needed to hone focus and lay the groundwork for a strategic plan.

In my article, The Secret to Social Strategy, I discussed the importance of tying your strategies on social media back to your business objectives. This holds true to all media, but first requires taking a step back to evaluate how each individual medium can help achieve your business goals.

Try to understand the intimacy of the consumer journey. What mediums are they using? How and when are they using them? Why? To answer questions like these you must have an in-depth understanding of who your target audience is. How do you do this? Through data.

We live in a big data world that demands intense data mining to draw strategic insights. Ultimately, these insights will lead you to a deeper understanding of your target audience, laying the building blocks to your strategic plan. And in an era where more content leads to less attention, marketers need to realize that having a focused strategy is paramount.

Call it hyper-targeted or personalized or creepy, data mining leads to a more organized and cohesive online experience.

The final result? Less is more. Especially when it gives consumers and marketers an experience that provides value, a relevant interaction that results in a positive outcome.

Stephanie Steineck is a Digital and Social Media Strategist @ Brew: Creative Media in Minneapolis.