Top 5 Consumer Trends Reshaping the Media Landscape in 2016

In the fast-changing world of digital marketing, one thing remains constant: consumers leave marketers stumped. In 2016, this reality is no different, and advertisers have the choice to either adapt or fall behind, throwing millions of dollars at customers who just aren’t listening.

So who are these elusive consumers, and how can marketers enhance their digital media performance to reach them more effectively?

1. They Value Experiences Over Things

Millennial shoppers are a driving force for change. According to Bazaarvoice, this generation in particular will have more spending powerthan any other age group by 2017. More importantly, 50% of Gen Y consumers – according to MasterCard – value experiences over things. Ericsson, a communication technology company, also conducted research that found that having seamless experiences whether shopping online or in-store, or talking to a customer service representative over the phone, was a top priority for consumers. In 2016, a memorable cross-channel shopping experience that delights consumers will be connected, coherent and personalized.

2. Devices are the Center of their World

Of course, creating these positive experiences is especially challenging today because, amid this explosion in devices, brands need to be able to connect the dots as their customers constantly hop between smartphones, tablets, laptops and offline channels. In fact, Criteo found 40% of ecommerce transactions involve multiple devices along the path to purchase. The savviest brands and marketers are prepared to create memorable, tailored and seamless shopping experiences across all devices and channels, including in-store, Web, mobile apps, digital ads, email, call centers and more.

3. They are More Time-Crunched than Ever

Today’s consumers are scrambling for time, which contributes to their preference for brands that emphasize experiences. As Euromonitor pointed out, urbanization has translated to a larger number of time-pressed consumers that desire convenience to make their lives simpler. On top of that, a Microsoft study showed that consumers generally lose concentration after eight seconds– meaning their attention span is shorter than a goldfish. So brands that make shopping faster and easier and add convenience to the buyer journey stand to win this year and in the future.

4. They are Increasingly Willing to Share their Data

It goes without saying that robust, cross-channel experiences, as well as the convenience that connectivity provides, are not possible without rich data. And consumers know this. eMarketer predicts that in 2016, millennials and centennials will be okay with releasing even more data. Fifty-seven percent say they will do so in exchange for promotions, coupons, discounts and product suggestions, while 31% say they share their data in exchange for information that makes their decisions easier. People are willing to share their data if marketers respect their privacy and use this information in meaningful ways that benefit consumers.

5. They Are Brand Agnostic

What this all boils down to is a shift in the meaning of loyalty. Nielson’s research showed that 78% of consumers are not loyal to any particular brand. Euromonitor International predicts the state of consumer loyalty will be a similar story this year, as “agnostic consumers flit between shops and products in search for value and novelty, presenting a challenge for brands who want to connect with them or inspire their loyalty.” Today, consumers are empowered instead of loyal. Their multiple, connected devices and access to technology enables them to compare brands and change their minds with a single click.

People-Based Marketing: A Strategic Response to the Changing Consumer

So how can marketers adapt and improve their digital media performance in the face of highly connected consumers who demand personalization, seamlessness and convenience in exchange for their loyalty? The answer is people-based marketing, an approach that leverages first-party customer data to enable brands and advertisers to recognize and target known customers across channels in real time. The result is a heightened ability to meet the needs of the changing consumer:

    • Rather than simply selling their products, advertisers can use first-party data to ensure customers have amazing experience as they transition from in-store to digital devices and channels.


    • Connecting first-party data enables brands to gain a single view of their customers, regardless of how many devices they use throughout their shopping journeys.


    • Pinpoint-targeted advertising and one-to-one experiences create the relevancy consumers crave.


  • By using customer data in meaningful, intelligent ways that improve the shopping experience, brands are in a better position to earn loyalty.

The media landscape is in a constant state of evolution, and consumers are driving the change. Right now, people-based marketing is an effective route advertisers must take to give consumers what they want at every point in the journey and realize digital marketing success.

Originally published May 24, 2016

Blane Sims

Blane Sims was formerly Chief Innovation Officer at Signal where he defined the strategy and roadmap for an award-winning technology platform serving the digital marketing industry.

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