CMO Council: Consumers Want Marketers Wherever They Are

A report from the CMO Council finds that consumers increasingly look for brands in multiple media—and that includes physical mail and the telephone, too, not just social media.

You can’t just assume that a user is going to be on one platform or another anymore.

That’s a key finding of a study from the CMO Council, which says that omnichannel marketing, with a mixture of digital and physical approaches, offers the most potential for meeting your preferred audience. The report finds that 85 percent of consumers want a blend of physical and digital when interacting with a brand.

The council, which worked with the firm Pitney Bowes on Critical Channels of Choice report [registration], a survey of more than 2,000 people, said that this interest in being multiple places—including in person, via the phone, or through digital means like email or social media—was actually being driven by the youngest generation it surveyed. Generation Z, which the report specifies as those born after 1997, was the pacesetter for the report.

But being more places doesn’t mean being everywhere—just where the consumer needs you. The report found that 59 percent of respondents said it was “important” for a brand to use an omnichannel approach, meaning they had a less-stringent definition over what it means for a brand to be everywhere. Some have high standards, though: 28 percent say  being omnichannel is “critical.”

“Regardless of age, gender or regional location, one universal truth quickly came into view: Omnichannel IS the critical channel of choice,” the report summary stated.

Social media, of course, was the most popular channel for younger audiences, with 54 percent of gen Z respondents saying it was the most important channel for information discovery, beating out the web in general. Millennials did the same. But when it came to communications, older mediums such as email and telephone calls emerged as more important. (Older audiences, such as generation X, baby boomers, and the silent generation, tended to favor the web for discovery, though boomers tended to favor the phone for brand communication more than other generations.)

Speaking to A.List, CMO Council Senior Vice President of Marketing Liz Miller said that expectations of what younger audiences wanted were being subverted.

“What is interesting is how wrong our assumptions about millennials and gen Z were. I think we all assume that because this group is digital natives … these aren’t cord cutters,” Miller explained. “They think cords are for charging, not connecting. [We wrongly expected that] traditional channels of engagement like printed mail would be out of their sphere of thought or influence. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. These are actually disruptors for younger generations.”

(sd619/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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