As marketers, we’ve never had more ways to micro-target, to “influence,” and to reach consumers. It should be easy, right? There’s just one problem — consumers are making the conscious decision to shut us out. As of 2016, 11% of the global audience is currently using an ad-blocker. That’s a 30% increase in users since 2015 (1). The news is even worse if you’re trying to target a consumer’s phone. In the same timeframe, the use of mobile adblockers rose by 90% (1). It’s enough to make any advertiser worry.
So why are we getting the collective cold shoulder? It’s actually pretty simple: people hate most advertising. They REALLY hate it. Seventy percent of consumers, an overwhelming majority, dislike mobile advertising (2). Seventy-two percent of consumers have said they’ll actually have a lower opinion of a brand that subjects them to a pop-up ad (3). How’s that for a return on your marketing investment? Even major content providers can tell which way the wind is blowing. Popular services such as hulu, youtube, and spotify are now offering monthly ad-free plans and seeing their users sign up in droves.
Fortunately, it’s still possible to have a deep, meaningful interaction with your consumers — to form a Human Connection with them. It’s the one thing you can’t find in the latest app or marketing flash in the pan. And you won’t get one by listening to some “industry sage” with a Steve Jobs sweater and an “I’m not too old for this undercut" hairdo. Instead, it comes down to just one thing: setting aside the gimmicks and having an honest, one-on-one interaction with your customers. To form a human connection, you have to literally reach out and touch them.
While typical advertising tactics depend on holding a consumer’s attention hostage, or hoping an errant finger clicks on your link, a one-on-one approach creates marketing that people join by choice. Whether you’re giving out product samples, speaking directly on social media, or hosting a custom activation, consumers are excited to have a chance to honestly evaluate the best parts of your brand. Studies show that when asked what would get them to try a new product or brand, 73% percent of consumers said a product sample would be compared to just 25% percent for a TV spot (4). Working with some of the largest adult beverage brands, we’ve shown that, time and time again, sampling can transition consumers to become fans, and eventually, advocates of your brand.
When customers engage directly with your marketing, something exciting happens — it changes a monologue into a conversation. It’s your chance to glean valuable feedback about your product and to answer consumers’ questions immediately. On social media, where rumors and misinformation can spread like wildfire, this task is especially important because every message is amplified, retweeted, and shared. By managing the social pages of CPG brands like SunnyD and Juicy Juice, we’ve shown that by quickly intervening you can correct false assumptions and win over new supporters. It’s no wonder why 90% of marketers have said that social media gained their brand more exposure (5).
Experiential marketing offers a unique style of one-on-one interactions by allowing you to immerse consumers within the world of your brand. By creating a physical presence, you’re able to show consumers that you’re more than just a logo on a page or a box on a shelf. Every decision, from the lighting, to design and even interactive pieces creates a personality and style consumers will associate with you for the rest of their lives.
After creating Comic-Con activations for some of the largest entertainment brands in the world, we see experiential marketing as the chance to create a truly multi-sensory activation where sights, sounds, and even smells work together to tell a cohesive story. It’s easy to see why 74% of consumers have a more positive association of a brand, product, or service after attending an event. Even more impressive, that goodwill converts directly to sales with an incredible 98% of people feeling more inclined to purchase (6).
At the Sunflower Group, we’re uniquely aligned to to help you create and get the most benefit from every human connection. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, we tailor every activation to the exact needs of a brand and their target audience. As we plan an event, we take into account the unique mindset, history, and expectations of a consumer to best target them. Whether it’s cutting through the noise of the biggest nerd-fest in the country or creating an activation that makes a CPG brand feel at home outside a football stadium, our custom approach allows you to have those authentic, meaningful connections with your fans.
To turn initial interactions into long relationships, we back every activation with a full suite of agency services. From social posts that drive consumers to an event, to eCRM campaigns that keep them engaged for years to come, every element of our work is designed to turn consumers into fans and eventually brand advocates as they move through the path to purchase. This added capability can massively grow the reach of your activation as fans capture and share their own experiences. With studies showing that 78% of people feel more positive about a brand after viewing content captured at an event, our focus on social integrations brings tremendous value and increased ROI (7).
If you’re looking for new ways to grow your brand and expand your customer base, contact the Sunflower Group today and learn the power of a human connection.
4.) Sampling Advisors