A Marketing Guidepost in 2018

Ringing in the New Year offers a fresh opportunity to pause and reflect each year. As campaigns vie for the attention of consumers everywhere who are looking to get fit, read more, and practice better self-care, the question begs to be asked: what can we, as marketers, do better? Surely there are plenty of existential answers to be explored, but quite simply, are we reaching our shoppers where they are, emotionally as well as physically?

A quick review of 2017 reveals many shifts in the way consumers experience content. Instagram allows for multi-photo compilations, Twitter loosened its character limit constraints, and photo filters continue to evolve across platforms. Social media users afraid of missing out on limited-time content had to face that ephemeral “stories” are no longer ownable by Snapchat alone, but compete for views on Instagram and Facebook as well. If that wasn’t enough, brand content is evolving to a greater degree of personalization within stories too.

Diving deeper into the trends, though, there seem to be greater undercurrents of change at play than simply shortened attention spans. In an era of cultural awareness and individual empowerment, the self-expression of consumers transcends the language that we have been using to target them. They are not simply “Millennials” or “Moms” – their identity includes an intersectionality that overlaps race, gender, sexuality, and class. With this search for self-expression, there is a growing hunger for brands that relate to their life experience in an authentic way.

Increasingly, this hunger for authenticity rejects brand content altogether. User-generated content on Instagram now generates 6.9 times more engagement than branded content, creating an environment that most values the opinions of micro-influencers and the Instafamous. These aren’t the traditional sponsorships or social media influencers we grew up with. Take Michelle Carigma, for instance, who works with brands like Adidas and Nike yet has fewer than 30,000 followers. She stays true to her passion of streetwear styles and inspiring others to live an active lifestyle, and like-minded followers are naturally drawn to her. Even though Instagram has become a much more shoppable environment on its own, Carigma drives traffic towards the Adidas MakersLab for custom, original designs that bring in an even higher basket ring.


Bottom line: In a world of Fakebooking, ghosting, and app fatigue, consumers crave connections with communities they trust. While this in no way diminishes the growth of technology like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and similar innovations, it means that we have to play differently. Experiences that are personalized and interactive will win the hearts and wallets of shoppers, in and out of store.

Contributed by: Nikki Jones, Integer Dallas

Image Source: Stocksnap