Last month we wrote about the factors that drive millennials to interact with brands – including engagement via mobile, valuing loyalty, and the “cool” factor. Brands like Starbucks who have successfully engaged with millennial customers speak to millennials in their own language and on the platforms they use, whether Snapchat, Twitter or, theSkimm. In fact, a recent study by Penn State found that when customer service agents use emoticons in their responses, the customer is more satisfied by the responses they were provided. It’s clear that the sense of social community that millennials have created amongst themselves is something that brands have to echo when they are asking millennials to not only make a purchase, but to also advocate and share their purchasing experience with others.
At Tahzoo, we describe the likeliness to purchase as “affinity.” Real loyalty is created out of a “fair-exchange” between customer and brand across the factors that drive affinity: reward, respect, and recognition. When a brand gives customers control over their experience and taps into their passion for its product, the customer’s experience will, like all great experiences, simply Flow. This is the idea behind Flow Theory, a psychological concept exploring those effortless and powerful moments of our experience where everything comes together perfectly.
(You may recall my recent blog post where I detailed the concept of Flow)
By tapping into customers’ passion and giving them control, brands can create great customer experiences that “just work.” But, the way in which brands engage with customers and drive affinity depends on the type of customer it’s trying to reach. A lot of research has been dedicated to reaching the elusive millennial demographic, but, what factors are driving purchase decisions for parents of millennials or CMOs?
The key to connecting with parents, specifically dads, is mobile. A recent study by IAB found that dads are twice as likely as average mobile users to spend more than $500 on a purchase made via their mobile device. What’s more, they are 2.5 times more likely to book travel arrangements on their phone. Hospitality companies like Starwood Hotels have recognized the massive role of mobile in travel purchases, taking the next step of the customer journey to a mobile level, by offering preferred customers the ability to gain entry to their rooms via the SPG Keyless app on their mobile devices (even Apple watches). If you know your customer has an affinity to make purchases via their mobile device, then continuing to nurture that connection throughout their journey is incredibly important when creating a seamless and consistent experience – or, fostering Flow.
While dads are mobile-first, Generation Z is known as mobile-ONLY. Born after the millennial generation, Generation Z is equally socially connected, but also more more socially conscious than millennials. According to HR service provider, Randstad, Gen Z’ers are driven to purchase when companies speak to them in a transparent and honest way. Their state of Flow will come from a place where they feel they are making a purchase that can make a real impact on their lives. They aren’t going to be driven to purchase products from brands that are over promising on results or satisfaction – the Generation Z crew will feel an affinity for brands that, like themselves, are real and genuine.
How can you apply the concept of achieving flow to driving purchasing decisions within the business- for CMOs, for example? CMOs today are more often than ever making purchasing decisions regarding technology. And, like the Generation Z group, CMOs (as marketers themselves) do not respond well to disingenuous messaging. In marketing speak, that’s the “blah blah blah” of mindless marketing chatter filled with overly self-serving messaging. CMOs are driven to purchase products from tech vendors who are genuine and realistic about how they can improve their business. As this Forbes piece explains, CMOs are poised to start making purchasing decisions regarding tech products, especially as they are continuing to rely on technology services to demonstrate the ROI on marketing efforts. In fact, according to IDC’s predictions last year, CMOs will hold up to 10% of the total tech budget by the end of 2015. With that in mind, we’ll start to see CMOs driven to purchase technology that gets the sign of approval from their CIO colleagues and also gives them with the ability to properly provide measurement, form a marketing point of view, on ROI.