Consumer Experiences Become More Important

Source: Fashionably Marketing, Jun 2012

6 Trends Shaping the Consumer Experience Economy

Today, most marketers consider digital marketing to be synonymous with social media. Advertisers are discovering, however, that ROIs on social sharing and promoted posts are not the golden goose that tech companies led them to believe.

The social economy has declined. Online users’ patterns are changing: they no longer use social networks to broadcast, connect and share their lives. Consumers now seek deeper online and offline experiences for fulfillment.

“People want better experiences from devices, applications, websites and the offline services they enable,”said Chris Dixon, CEO of Hunch.

They are looking for something less superficial than what they currently find on social media sites. They want meaning and understanding. They want to be challenged.

In addition, consumers are beginning to prefer experiences over products. Rather than acquire more possessions, customers are more interested in spending their money and time on meaningful experiences, making memories and enriching their lives.

… as marketers, how can we connect with consumers who are moving from a socially-based consumption model to one of experience? What are the digital trends that can help us continue to convert prospects into sales and keep our brands on top in the new consumer experience economy?

Visual Thinking

The New Aesthetic

The New Aesthetic is an art movement that challenges the boundaries between digital reality and “the real world.” it blurs digital and real, blending computers, digital reality and IRL.  The term “New Aesthetic” was coined by James Bridle, a London-based writer and “technologist.” His blog The New Aesthetic was so successful that he was able to parlay it into a SXSW panel. James Bridle has since abandoned the project, but the concept has taken root in popular culture.

Currently, the New Aesthetic is fragmented and extremely hard to put into a coherent example that would allow a marketer to grasp its full potential.  But, because the subject matter of aesthetics relates how beauty is perceived and valued by use as humans, retailers are making strides in testing this concept as it applies to the retail environment.

In September 2011, The Future Laboratory and Campaign blurred digital and real life experiences in their the futuristic retail Sweet Shoppe installation during the London Design Festival.

Sweet Shoppe was a hyper-real, personalized and technology-enabled production that enabled guests to see, smell, touch and taste the retail experience of the future.   On arrival, guests were taken on a 20-minute curated personal journey to source their perfect sweet as an analogy for navigating the retail landscape of tomorrow. Sweet Shoppe was created to appeal to consumers in the future who will have no recollection of life without the internet, who will not distinguish between the real and digital worlds and will seek experiences that seamlessly integrate the online and the offline.

The journey combined the mechanisms of online retailing–social recognition, profile-based recommendations, intuitive navigation and filtering options–with the best of the real world, such as tactility, conviviality, intimacy and serendipity.

luxury retailer Louis Vuitton worked with Yayoi Kusama to launch the Louis Vuitton Kusama Studio iPhone application.  Louis Vuitton encourages users to “Reinvent Reality” and the world through the artist’s work, which transforms their photos using effects designed by Kusama.  The app embraces concepts of the new aesthetic movement and provides marketers a way to grasp the full potential of the movement as an experiential marketing tactic.

Calm Technology

Calm technology refers to applications that cuts down on the digital noise of high-volume data to show the user only enough information that he or she needs to complete a task. The Facebook ticker is one example. If the Facebook news feed updated in real time, it might move too quickly for the average user to even read, depending on how many friends they had. But moving real-time updates to the periphery, users have a more calm, curated and satisfying Facebook experience.

Examples of calm technology can be found in the growing popularity of social curation and discovery. Social product discovery sites such as Lyst, Mulu.Me, Buyosphere, Svpply and Discoveredd are essentially social filters that enable their communities to curate the products that are most relevant to them. Moreover, the rise of interest networks and the idea of following someone who has similar likes and shared interest topics are examples of the principles of calm technology driving user behavior. Google Circles, Pinterest and Chime.In, even location apps such as Sonar, Glancee and Highlight, can all be classified under the “term interest network.”

Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is a new field of marketing research that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive and affective response to marketing stimuli. Instead of simply using focus groups, companies are beginning to use science and higher understanding of brain function to make websites “sticky” and manipulate consumers into purchasing their products. Neuromarketing’s premise is that consumer buying decisions are made in split seconds in the subconscious, emotional part of the brain and that by understanding what they like, don’t like, want, fear and are bored by, companies can more effectively influence purchases.

The ultimate goal of neuromarketing is to blow consumer minds with products they deeply desire, thus driving their purchases. Satisfaction from certain purchases would incite product loyalty, giving brand valuable feedback to increase their profitability and business process by only creating products consumers want. Neuromarketing can be viewed as a more scientific approach to crowdsourcing.

 

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