Technology Is Fueling Buying Behavior Changes – Are You Up to The Task?

Multi-storied, glass-walled dispensers filled with shiny cars are popping up in every major city. E-commerce used car retailers, Carvana and Vroom have gained popularity over the past few years, and it’s not just because car vending machines are cool. Want to eat dinner in your pajamas? Meal delivery services DoorDash and Grubhub are raking in millions even though restaurants still offer dine-in seating.

These are just a couple of examples of changing consumer behavior and the savvy companies that are capitalizing on it.

The way people and businesses buy things changes over time for a variety of reasons. We are in the midst of changing consumer behavior that is undoubtedly fueled by technology.

A major demographic change is taking place. The vast majority of buying power is shifting to those who are ‘technology natives’ (those who were born into technology) and away from ‘technology immigrants’ (those who had to learn how to use it). These younger ‘technology natives’ are making purchases not only for themselves (B2C), they are also making buying decisions for the companies they own and manage (B2B).

I recently spoke with the owner of a decades-old car and limousine company that’s having trouble competing with the rideshare services Uber and Lyft. He didn’t understand why anyone would prefer to hitch a ride with a total stranger, instead of being chauffeured around by a well-dressed professional driver who might even be wearing a fancy hat.

I asked him what the process is for a person to secure a ride from his company. He replied that first, the customer needs to call their dispatcher; his company checks availability; asks for the destination, credit card information, name, and address; and finally, they confirm the time and location. In today’s world, this process is entirely too long, too ‘personal’, and is not compatible with the lifestyle of most consumers.

On the other hand, Uber and Lyft have apps that get you a ride, based on your preferences (like the type of car and driver’s ratings) in seconds, and you don’t have to speak with anyone or be put on hold.

Here are some current buying behaviors buyers exhibit:

  • Need for choices and selection
  • Preference for informal/casual setting
  • Instant gratification, including immediate answers, in-stock items, and very fast delivery
  • Online presence that does not require human interaction (no phone conversations, etc.)
  • Top of the line e-commerce software or app with built-in AI that knows or predicts our preferences without having to repeatedly fill out (type-in) forms, and recognizes us or our devices instantly
  • Electronic payments (certainly not cash and preferably no credit cards either)
  • Hassle-free returns, exchanges, or cancellations

Whether it is grocery picking and delivery, shopping online for office supplies and equipment, dinner take-out or delivery, or car buying online, this is how consumers prefer to buy. Virtually all retailers are reporting declining ‘foot traffic’, but not necessarily declining sales. In fact, we are buying more and spending more – we are just doing it differently. Smart companies that are tuned to these shifts in consumer behavior do very well!

What can you change in your business model to fit the new consumer preferences and buying behavior? At Fractional CMO & Marketing, we help clients improve their marketing and selling strategies every day. Call us, and we’ll be happy to discuss your brand personality with you without any obligation on your part.

Duke Merhavy, MBA, Ph.D.
President & Chief Marketing Officer


Old Spice: The Art of Bringing an Old Brand to a New Era

By Polly Stroup, Editor and Copywriter

Many of us have known about Old Spice cologne for years. It was the preferred gift of dads and grandpas everywhere! When the 70-year-old company decided to target a new age group, of course, there were skeptics. How could grandpa’s favorite cologne company possibly appeal to 18-34-year-olds? Its very name seemed to underline how outdated it had become. In came the marketing team to save the day! To begin with, the team reasoned, with a 70-year heritage, surely the brand could not be better positioned to be an expert on masculinity.

Guess who makes more than 70% of all men’s toiletry item purchases? If you said women, you’re right. The concept for the campaign took shape, they strategically brought in an attractive ex-football player. The first commercial appeared during the 2010 Super Bowl with the towel-clad hunk promising women he was “the man your man could smell like.”

This was the beginning of a new era for Old Spice. Within 30 days of the launch, Old Spice saw over 40 million views on YouTube, and a 107% increase in body wash sales. After the flood of responses came in, Old Spice decided to interact with their fans in the form of questions for the Old Spice man. Thousands of questions were asked and responded to by an assortment of 180 canned videos. It was an instant success with 5.9 million YouTube views on the first day alone! By the end of 2010, Old Spice had become the leading body wash brand for US men with sales up 125%.

What Is Fractional CMO & Marketing?

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The Business Journals Reports on the Necessity of CMO

By Ally Richmond, Staff Writer

In a recent article this month from The Business Journals, reporter Cathy Foster shares how the common excuse from companies who claim they can’t afford a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is often invalid. All companies use some form of marketing. Still, many say they don’t have it in their budget to hire a CMO when, in reality, they are continuing to spend money on various marketing efforts such as website design, social media, print ads, and live events. This leads to several critical problems.

The primary issue that arises from lack of a CMO is that other employees must pick up marketing duties, leading them to spend less time managing the job they were initially hired for. This means the marketing work being done may be less effective, and at a marginal cost to merely hiring a CMO in the first place. Foster shares that “the real cost of operating without a marketing leader comes in lost productivity, a lack of executive insights, and lost value from unmanaged efforts.” In most cases, a company’s sales department must pick up the marketing slack, a job they might not be qualified for, or have the time to accomplish effectively.

If the company does not divide marketing duties among their full-time employees, they might hire out various freelancers to handle different marketing segments such as print or social media, further leading the marketing strategy away from a necessary unified feel. A CMO provides a more streamlined execution, having the experience, time, and skill needed to create a consistent marketing strategy at nearly the same cost that the company would be spending to do it themselves.

Foster concludes, saying that, “companies should examine the cost of current marketing spend coupled with lost productivity, lack of sales enablement and unmeasured activities.” Foster makes it clear that hiring a CMO is the best option for companies looking for a more simplified marketing strategy. She suggests that companies get a taste of marketing leadership by hiring a fractional CMO for at least one business goal, to see how it works in the context of their business needs.

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