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Carlsberg’s Sharma on the three key changes in consumer behaviour

“Even when consumers have moved on and their behaviours have changed, the fundamental of marketing is still the same, it’s common sense,” said Priyadarshini Sharma, international brand director of premium brands at Carlsberg Group.

Speaking at Marketing’s Big Data & Digital Innovation conference, the branding veteran pointed out three key changes of consumer behaviour in the digital age.

Shopper empowerment

“There’s plenty of fish in the sea as far as shoppers are concerned. Consumers are given so many choices; they have been spoiled by the whole online space since the early 2000s.”

She noted that consumers could now easily access information such as ratings, reviews, unbiased opinions of real users, and different price options from varies sources. On top of that, consumers can now shop anywhere – from offline to online.

“All this has made shoppers extremely empowered and demanding, urging marketers to step up their game to provide shopping experiences that can satisfy them.”

Retailers

“Retailers are on a fishing expedition as well for the best deal,” she said.

“Normally retailers these days know what products brands have launched elsewhere; they know what the prices are like, what the margins are like, and they want them.

“Retailers have their own agenda as well. So if you are not able to supply what they want, they are able to find other sources to get the products they want.”

For marketers to engage with retailers, she suggested they bring knowledgeable solutions to the table – whether in the form of shopper insights or creative marketing programmes that help them to sell.

The digital revolution

In the midst of the digital boom, media fragmentation has earned a prominent place in marketing communications.

“With all the channels consumers are on and all the sources they can get, they don’t need to be stuck in front of a single consumer ad; in this sense, receptivity has suddenly become very important.

“If we fail to target consumers when they’re receptive to our promotions and communications, they can completely ignore us because they realised that they do not have to listen.

“Media fragmentation has made that possible as there’s no one way to reach the consumer, they have to be willing to communicate and to engage with us.”

One of the culprits is the rise of multiple devices.

“Modern households now have more devices than they have cushions.

“There are a million ways that consumers can access your brands. These variety of touch-points can, of course, open great opportunities for marketers, but at the same time provide great challenges as marketers are tasked to ensure the consistency across these touch-points, and to make the experiences across multiple touch-points as frictionless as possible.”

To this, social media can be a double-edged sword.

“Social media is where consumers are. They prefer to get opinions from people like themselves rather than from brands. Social media is now emerging to be a powerful vehicle for brands not just to drive engagement, but also to track consumer experiences on the brands.

She cautioned that bad customer experiences with products can go viral quickly on social media.

“As a marketer we need to manage social media much better by handling negative comments and creating a method for people to have conversations.”

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