From one CEO to another, I often find that most business owners don’t really know today’s consumers. Finding the right channel to reach your perfect customer can be crucial to the growth of your business. Many industries and businesses still operate the way they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago. It can be important for all business owners, whether they’re running an ice cream parlor or a manufacturing plant, to realize that the way consumers behave is changing dramatically.
Here are the top three consumer behavior trends I would encourage every CEO to plan for in 2016.
Consumers Are Mobile
CEOs should be prepared to meet the needs of the new mobile consumer in 2016. While B2C businesses have already become accustomed to the fact that their customers are mobile, most B2B businesses still believe that consumers only research while at work or on their desktops. Many U.S. adults using smartphones or tablets more than PCs to do research for products or services. That means consumers as a whole are going mobile.
I've seen this in my own line of business. Clients want webcam meetings, apps and streamlined communication. I even have clients who want to text instead of going through formal emails!
Consumers Are Social
For 2016, going social is a must, not a choice, if you expect to reach potential customers. Today’s consumers seem to be looking for social proof. As a small-business owner, it can be important to join consumers in this move to social. Businesses have no choice but to adopt social media as another channel of information for consumers.
I must admit that social adoption can be challenging, especially if you’re running a business with limited resources. I know it took me a while to realize I was missing out by not being active on social platforms. Even today, drafting that perfect social strategy can still be a challenge, but we’ve come a long way and can now be at ease knowing that we’re doing a good job trying to reach and engage both current and prospective customers on our social channels.
Consumers Are Visual
While content consumption has been growing, consumers are now becoming increasingly visual. That means consumers now seem to prefer images, videos and infographics over other types of content. You should appeal to the way today’s consumers receive content. Making videos, visual presentations and infographics can be an effective way to convey your message to your customers.
Whether it’s a product review, new product launch or educational content, video and visual content are gaining popularity, especially with the growth of smartphone and tablet usage. While making videos is no easy task, businesses should realize that a video can go a long way in making the right impression on a prospective customer and may be well worth the time, effort and resources.
In my experience, people are more likely to watch your one- to two-minute video than they are to read a long document explaining your business. At our company, we’ve started to use video for anything and everything we can. From making internal training materials to educational content for our clients and prospects, video is the new way to communicate to our target audience.
As business owners, we have to adapt and change to meet the needs and demands of our customer base to be successful. Regardless of what type of business you run, going mobile, social and visual should be a must for 2016. Get a head start by planning how to better reach and serve your customers on mobile, social and visual platforms.
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