As marketers – and as consumers – connecting the dots between previous and future behavior is the key to appreciating a good offer when we see one. And today, that’s not as simple as recommending a fun pair of boots after I bought designer jeans. With our offices, mobile devices, and homes all connected and talking to each other, being on time and on message is increasingly complicated. I recently sat down with our CEO Michael Caccavale to talk about the challenges and opportunities that marketers can uncover when we look at the smart home market.
We used to live in a world where if you wanted something the same day, you’d go to the store to get it. With same-day delivery, fast shipping, and things like drone delivery on the horizon, the days of having to leave your house to pick up something are numbered. But while logistics teams are busy developing ways to meet these demands, marketers still have some fundamental problems to solve at the top of the funnel.
Coming off of the holiday season, retailers have an opportunity to look back at what worked – and what didn’t – and refine their plans for the new year. And while the holiday retail spike can provide a lot of insight, it’s important to look at the broader view to understand the entire year. Our CEO Michael Caccavale and I took a look at eMarketer’s consumer behavior roundup and discussed some fundamental considerations that marketers simply cannot overlook any time of the year.
We’ve long known that social media is a deep data mine. It’s a space where (digitally speaking) communities gather, where people give of their personal information, and where companies can deepen their relationships with consumers through relevant content. That Facebook, our once favorite cat video- and baby photo-filled distraction from work, has become the central focus of election tampering signals a significant shift in our perception of social media as purely “social.” It is, in fact, a very powerful tool. Our CEO Michael Caccavale and I recently discussed this in more depth.
New service offerings powered by an army of new brands have begun to appear in homes and small-to-mid-sized businesses across the United States. In addition to known services such as cable and wireless, increasingly we are seeing streaming content, web-based media channels, home automation and home security, even large retail brands penetrating the walls of the consumer’s home.
Over the next twelve to eighteen months, US energy consumers will enjoy an exploding array of choices when it comes to bundled and a la carte services. As the landscape of energy providers and their product offerings diversify, consumers gain the flexibility to adjust their service plan and even to change their energy provider altogether, if they feel they are not getting the service they expect. There is time pressure, particularly for traditional energy suppliers who have, unlike their new competitors, typically invested little in agile marketing strategies. The energy company’s CMO has just one chance to execute an agile marketing strategy in advance of the coming upheaval in the market -- one chance to align the brand identity across all channels, create the ideal messaging for each segment of the target market, and cast a wide (but intelligent) net.
Smart grids and domestic alternative energy production are changing the rules of engagement between energy customers and their suppliers. At the same time, deregulation and a new set of diverse domestic digital media service providers entering the market demand broader and more intelligent marketing strategies. These changes create instability in a market that has been stable for many years. It forces the suppliers, particularly the energy suppliers, to abandon business practices that have long been serving them and adopt a more flexible and agile growth model, an uncomfortable position, particularly for the larger organizations in the sector.
Do you still receive postcards in the mail from cable, media and energy companies offering you a better deal? If you are like most people, you toss those postcards directly into the recycling bin. An increasing majority of utilities customers are more comfortable with and prefer Internet-based applications for information gathering, service selection, billing, and support. Yet, for consumer energy providers, there is still need for direct mail campaigns when they are part of a broader multi-channel marketing strategy.
It used to be that the household electric bill was a simple recurring monthly statement. Regulation gave customers confidence that they were being charged a fair price for their energy. The monthly price fluctuated in a predictable way. Customers got into the habit of setting up a recurring direct debit from their payment account and then not really thinking about it again. But forces are at work now that are causing household energy consumers to pay more attention to the details on their bill and to sense the fluctuations more acutely. So, don’t think your customers aren’t paying attention to the electric bill. Your customers are actually getting increasingly interested in the details of their bill.