Perception is Reality . . . Or Is It?

Carnegie Higher Ed Dec 13, 2013 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Perception is Reality . . . Or Is It?

Everybody wants the new toy. New is shiny. New is sexy. And tech-savvy teenagers are the biggest fans of the newest toys—right? From technology to online preferences, we assume they are only interested the newest, most cutting-edge, super flashy thing. But you know what they say about assuming . . .

This article by eMarketer sums up some pretty interesting research about how consumers want to get their info vs. how marketers think they want to get it.

We all agree consumers are never going to beg for ads or marketing of any sort, but ranking what they say is optimal is quite telling. Although it only accounts for online marketing, it is interesting that while marketers think that texting and mobile apps are required for their business, the data clearly shows consumers don’t want or need them to make a purchase decision.

And there is virtually no memorability for them.

Consumers want and appreciate a personal experience, to be reached by e-mail, and to see Web ads. Yes, they want to see ads if they realize it or not.

Further, personalized Web experience easily translates to “personalized” no matter what the medium. Bulk mail that looks exactly like your competitors’ or has nothing that speaks directly to the consumer falls flat. Based on the information above, savvy marketers need to close the gap and meet the needs of today’s consumers. If it is personalization and hyper-relevancy that works, shouldn’t we be focused on delivering that?

This is why I live and breathe the “Search Differently” concept. Instead of mailing out one-size-fits-all collateral and broadcasting uniform messaging online, we take what we know about prospective students and deliver highly customized and tailor-fit messaging to them. Makes sense to me, and according to this data, seems to be what they want.

I’ve been pretty vocal in the past about the continued effectiveness and need for traditional marketing. In my previous posts like “Print Advertising is Dead” and “Disney Does it Right,” I really stress my belief that the integration of old and new tactics in a personalized way is not just a nice thing, it’s a must thing.

Based on our data and industry insight like this, I’m confident that I am on the right path. But it’s not mature to say “I told you so”—so I’ll bite my tongue.

You can follow me on Twitter @meghdale; or on Google Plus as Meghan Dalesandro.

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