Your future customers are behaving very oddly

WommaMany in the B2B world are dismissing social media as something "kids" are doing.  Or are nodding at their B2C brethren and saying it’s their problem.

Maybe today that’s sort of true.  But guess what your future customers are doing.  Yup — building a new habit of using social media. Do you suppose that’s going to just go away?

Social networks have changed the way that people interact with each other and with media, according to an April research report released by Fox Interactive Media. The research found that the 70% of Americans aged 15-34 who engage in social networking activity are doing so during the primetime hours. According to the research data, these social networkers aren’t just dabbling; they tend to use social networks more than they use other forms of communication and entertainment. According to the report, a majority of social networkers choose interacting on sites such as MySpace as their favorite activity online or offline ahead of television viewing.

Other findings:

  • 40% of social networkers say they use social networking sites to learn more about brands or products, and 28% say a friend has recommended a brand or product to them.
  • 69% of users say they use social networking sites to connect with existing friends and 41% say they use the sites to connect with family members.
  • More than 31% of social networkers say they spend more time online in general after starting to use a social network.

Here is the question for marketers.  If the 17-34 year olds are already engaged in social media, do you suppose they’re going to unplug when they hit 35,40 or 50?

Imagine how differently we will talk to the next generation as they approach retirement.  Are you already seeing this in your work?  If your product or service targets the mature market — how does or will this affect you?

Source: Word of Mouth Marketing Association

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9 comments on “Your future customers are behaving very oddly

  1. Lewis Green says:

    Good post Drew. I do believe that social media needs to be part of a marketing mix, and have it in my toolbox. To date, I am still looking for clients ready to use it in their marketing efforts. But you are right: Those of us using and growing the tools today will be those best able to help others use them tomorrow.

  2. Interesting insights Drew.

    Tons of VC money and engineering talent is going into Social Media companies here in the Valley. I don’t think it’s going away. (I just hope I don’t sound like 1999.)

  3. jaynie says:

    great recap, drew– thanks.

    would you have a link to the original Fix study– I’d love to peruse the whole she-bang.

  4. Thanks for this information, Drew. This is a challenge, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity for businesses and organizations that really want to participate in the conversation online. That’s difficult for big companies, but very easy for small organizations with a human touch. A character like the Coca-Cola Polar Bear might have 10,000 friends on MySpace — but the executive director of a small nonprofit, who has 25 influential MySpace friends who care about the organization, is getting just as much (or more) out of social media.

  5. Lew,

    Without a doubt, we are positioning ourselves to be ready to help clients with social media.

    But the clients need to recognize the need. That’s what I find fascinating about this data. Many businesses are dismissing social media today. But what they need to recognize is that their customer in 5-10 years will have grown up on this stuff. And it isn’t going away.

    Drew

  6. Roger,

    Agreed — the tools are going to get even more diverse. But more important in my mind is that the generation of MySpace users will be the business leaders in 10-20 years.

    Their comfort and reliance on social media is not going to go away. So we’d all better be ready to communicate differently with them.

    Drew

  7. Hey Jaynie,

    I did not see the entire report. I just read excerpts that were included in a Marketing Sherpa article.

    Sorry I can’t point you to the whole thing.

    Drew

  8. David,

    I think in many ways, social media is one of the great equalizers. And in fact, as you suggest, may actually give smaller companies the edge.

    The question is — who will be smart enough to harness that power?

    Drew

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