Posted June 9, 2014 4:51 pm by with 0 comments

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Millennials SDLSDL’s third report of the “Five Truths for Future Marketers” series is titled “Content Finds the Customer.” After reviewing the data, I think the title should be flipped to “Customers Find the Content.”

Think about it. Before mobile and even when the internet was new, customers were passive and advertisers pushed content in their direction. They sat in front of the TV and saw the commercials that were delivered. They opened the mail and found the store circulars and coupons. They opened the newspaper and saw the local ads.

Now, customers are in control of the feed. They skip the commercials on TV only watching the ones they want. They skip TV altogether in favor of streaming services and videos on YouTube. Mail can be stopped and is regularly tossed without a second look and how many millennials are reading the newspaper? Instead, they’re online, actively looking for the information they want and their expectations are higher than ever.

The reward for meeting those expectations? They share and they respond right away.

Here’s a real sign of the times from the report:

Millennials check their smartphones 43 times per day; your emails are most likely to be viewed the same day.

That’s great news – if your sending out emails that can be easily read on a smartphone. Also note that Millennials expect a certain level of personalization. They know you can do it so they’re not as responsive to automated email blasts. You can’t believe how far you’d get if you sent a truly personalized message out to your top customers. Susan, what do you think of the blush you bought last week? We have a new color coming in next month and I’d be happy to send it out to you before it even goes on sale. You can try it for 25% off and let us know what you think.

Millennials expect personalized content, whether it’s social networks, news feeds or music streams. 71 percent said they’re most likely to listen to music streaming services that adjust to their tastes (i.e. Pandora, Spotify) vs. non-targeted options (i.e. local radio.)

Email is only going to get you so far. People aren’t sharing emails with their friends like they used to. Now they prefer to share via social media.

On average, millennials share six pieces of content via social media a day, which has overtaken email with five shares a day as the de facto channel for sharing content.

That means you can’t rely on a single channel. You have to be where your customers are and then hope that they find you. Once they do find you, be prepared to respond right away. In the SDL survey, millennials said they liked being able to chat instantly with a company via online chat. And believe me, if they post a complaint on Twitter – even if they don’t “@” mention your company, they expect you to find it and solve their problem within 24 hours.

It may sound unreasonable but these days, the customers are in charge of marketing. You can create great content, run it across all the major channels and be a vigilant monitor and responder – but it’s still up to the customer to find, read and engage. Don’t give them even the slightest reason to ignore you, because they will.

Best piece of advice from the SDL report:

Growing a customer relationship is not always about getting the sale. You’ll need to take a long-term view, mindful that meaningful relationships develop over time.

So true. So true.