Consumer behavior is changing, a leading online expert says, and marketers need to use technology to understand those changes and to profit from them.
Google’s Jo Chick (yes, she said that’s her real name) took to the stage at the Nationwide PrimeTime show recently and delivered a powerful keynote address.
Looking out at a ballroom packed with independent furniture retailers, Chick offered up the kinds of insights that you might think would be reserved for elite retailers. Google’s strategic partner manager has been with the company for seven years, is Oxford educated and speaks authoritatively about the rapidly changing digital world. The retailers in the room listened closely to her presentation.
Chick did some myth-busting in her talk, in the process giving the retailers valuable lessons about how they can navigate through what can be a confusing online world. Key takeaways: Video wins, engagement is critical, and ads must be relevant.
Myth No. 1, she said, is that consumer attention spans are getting shorter. But, she noted, 81% of video viewing sessions capture people’s attention.
Myth No. 2: Consumers pay attention to all screens equally. This is not true, Chick said; we view content in two very different modes: Lean-forward mode (when consumers are more engaged with their screens) and lean back mode (when consumers are less engaged).
Myth No. 3: Even if people pay attention, they’ve learned to tune out ads. Again, that’s not true, Chick said. Ads that are relevant to the viewer or feature people like them get three times the attention of other ads, she noted.
As part of its partnership with Nationwide, Google presented a dozen sessions at the PrimeTime event in addition to Chick’s keynote address. In addition to telling retailers how they can reach new customers through Google AdWords, the sessions talked about the importance of video. “Companies from the most modest single store business to the largest multi-store operations are winning with digital video,” Google said.
Translation: It’s time for retailers to get serious about digital video.
Chick wrapped up her talk with a point that may challenge conventional thinking. She urged the retailers to outsource their digital marketing to experts so that the company owners can do what they do best: Run their businesses.
While that advice could be expected, coming as it does from a company that is full of digital experts, it could reflect the fact that the digital world is so complex and is changing so rapidly that only digital experts can lead the charge these days.
Conventional thinking might hold that companies should build up their own on-staff digital expertise, as those skills are obviously growing in importance and companies could view those skills as so vital to their success that they have to own them by keeping the expertise in house.
But Chick suggests another course: Go outside to get the critical digital help your business needs.
And her talk made a powerful case that Google would be a good place for retailers to look for that help.