This is a three part guest post by Shawn M. Miller, CXO at Smync and Author of The New Face of Your Brand: Social Brand Advocacy grows Business with Customer Community and Co-Created Marketing.
When most non-millennials think of Millennials, they have the wrong picture in their mind. Millennials are probably older than you think they are. The oldest millennial has now reached age 35 and they make up the largest consumer spending power group in the United States. Along with Generation Z, which comes behind them, they are a new culture, one that we collectively referred to as Digital Natives. They have been raised with full time Internet and device access to entertainment and communication.
Technology is an inseparable part of their life experience. And so is advertising. They have seen advertising since they were old enough to focus on a screen and are therefore immune to advertising, when they are not annoyed by it.
A recent Harris Poll commissioned by Lithium Technologies found that 74% of digital natives, (comprised of Gen Z and Millennials) object to brand advertising being in their Social Media Feeds at all. An astounding 56% of that population are cutting back or jumping platforms due to the presence of advertising. World-renowned PR expert Richard Edelman stated: “90% of marketing budgets are currently pointed at ineffective and unsustainable advertising and promotional campaigns.” This is a mission-critical problem that you and I must solve to stay in business.
On the one hand is the marketing perspective that social media represents a mass gathering of likely prospects and customers. On the other hand, those very customers and prospects demonstrate a clear feeling that social media should be an ad free zone while millennial consumers also demand that companies deliver something extraordinarily different.
“Loyalty has changed overnight,” said Ken Clayton, VP of Dassault Systems. “Customers have gone in a direction for reasons we didn’t understand. And now the experience has to speak through our products. Customers expect a personal experience,” (with integrated shareability.)
Adding to the trouble of consumers willing to leave a platform due to advertising, another glorious opportunity for prospects is the use of software to block your ads. We called them Ad Blockers.
The use of ad blocking is radically on the rise. Marketers are still figuring out what to do about the trend. Consumers using ad blockers over the course of 2015 grew by nearly 200 million.
This action cost marketers an estimated $22 billion in lost revenue. By 2016 it is estimated that ad blocking will cost publishers nearly $41 billion.
The trend will continue to grow. Currently 22.5% of web users are using ad blocking software, and the reporting shows a growth rate of 43% per year. This is driven primarily by an annoyance with advertising.
It is also significantly fueled by concerns of safety and privacy. People increasingly seek to avoid being tracked and monitored against their will when they spend a quarter or more of their lives online.
You can break through, of course, if you spend more. You can always spend more and more on paid advertising, but paid reach is very expensive and at best, limited in effectiveness. Only 1% of digital native millennials self-reported being influenced by advertising.
It is obvious that brand advocacy is the way to avoid all of this waste and turn likes into leads and social activity into sales. We trust our friends, family, colleagues and coworkers as this is the only way to reach history’s most jaded consumers.
Fueled by the global reach and 24/7 nature of social media, word-of-mouth is no longer limited to immediate circles, geography or time zone.
For the cost of one 30-second television ad, you could fund an aggressive advocacy program for many years. Advocates are more effective, more credible and far more sustainable than any paid advertising we could possibly dream up.
We hope you enjoyed this adapted excerpt from The New Face of Your Brand: Social Brand Advocacy grows Business with Customer Community and Co-Created Marketing, by Shawn M. Miller, CXO at Smync. For more information about social word-of-mouth-marketing and brand advocacy, please visit http://smync.com/.
- The Social Marketers Axis of Evil (Part 2): Disconnection - December 28, 2016
- The Social Marketers Axis of Evil (Part 1): Distraction - December 5, 2016