The 3 key personalities of the online consumer

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"Think global, Work Local." It's a phrase originally coined in 1915, with urban planning in mind. Today, almost 100 years later, it is the key to effectively building your brand and business online. The difference is that in today's marketing arena, global refers to a brand's over-arching identity, while local refers to how that brand is portrayed on specific media portals. It is no longer physical geography that counts. It is the subject matter that does. 

This means that yes, the old rules of marketing still apply. The concept of creating a strong brand and effectively positioning it in the market still works. What is new is the way in which you must edit your message to ensure consumers listen to what you have to say. 

Stay informed. To learn more about localizing effective online communication attend ad:tech San Francisco, April 19-21. Learn more.

In a broad sense, communicating effectively online is simple. Success relies on maintaining a stream of content that hits the right people with the right message at the right time. Relevancy is essential for success. Let's face it, if you're at a club on Friday night, you don't want someone pitching you their latest electronic security product. Conversely, a Tuesday morning meeting in the corporate boardroom is probably not the best place for a rant about Lady Gaga's hot new single. Different place, different expectations. 

On the internet, consumers think the same way. They act differently in locations. Offline, people act one way at the office, another way with friends on the weekend, and still another way when shopping at a tag sale. It is no different online, and that profoundly affects how you should approach the task of taking your brand off your agency's drawing board and bringing it to life in the digital world. 

To succeed, you need to think in terms of three personalities for every customer -- Casual, Professional, and Sales. How do you do this?  Read on:

No. 1 -- Localize your message:  People act differently on different websites and on different social networks. They chat and email casually on Facebook, and more professionally on LinkedIn. They are instantly more casual while browsing for their favorite gossip than while searching for new business leads. In the morning, it may be a professional demeanor. But as the day goes on, attitudes change when websites like Gawker and PerezHilton become an escape. Sales on surge around lunchtime when men and women rush for luxury bargains. But they are not about to stop shopping in order to follow an offer on low-priced server technology. So when you think of how to craft your message, don't just think of your customer, think in terms of the websites your customers visit, and develop three styles of messages that fit their mindset and your goal:

  • Casual -- better for building brand awareness and market positioning

  • Professional -- better for market positioning and relationship sales

  • Sales -- better for direct selling

No. 2 -- Stop thinking in terms of a single campaign: Because of the website's localized nature, you can no longer afford to work in the context of a larger campaign. Sorry, Don Draper, but companies cannot blast out the same tag line across every media outlet to see what sticks. To find success with creating social networks, and with online marketing in general, you need to refine your message to ensure it targets customers in an appropriate manner, no matter when they see it. This means adopting a more casual tone for social networks, providing business tips and hints with business networks, and developing a sales-driven, bottom-line approach for industry-specific, sales-driven websites. 

  • Casual -- useful on social networks where content should speak more to the general theme of the website, with only brief references to the product (90 percent relevant content, 10 percent product mention)

  • Professional -- useful on business networks where people are interested in finding tips, hints, and "how-to's" for business growth

  • Sales -- useful for direct response websites that sell products.  These should focus on product benefits and advantages, and drive a sale

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chris weigmann
chris weigmann February 26, 2010 at 5:08 PM

How do I get people who click on my ads to actually buy something and how do I know the sales are actually being made even with a tracking site monitoring the activity.