@MoStew: Behind the Scenes of Marketers from Mars!

Today we're pleased to present a guest post from Morgan Stewart of Trendline Interactive, the firm behind the numbers of our SUBSCRIBERS, FANS, & FOLLOWERS series. Morgan's unique behind-the-scenes perspective on this report is sure to provide some interesting insights!

As marketers, we live, eat, breathe, and sleep marketing.  We are always on the lookout for new tools and channels to use in our efforts. 

As we started our research for Marketers from Mars, we predicted that marketers would be different from consumers in terms of both how often and why they use communication channels such as email, Facebook, and Twitter. Moreover, we believed marketers would be more proactive in the adoption of new communication tools since it has become part of marketing’s role to stay one step ahead of consumers. As we talk to marketers, we consistently hear about pressures to have marketing strategies in place for these new channels before the consumer masses arrive.  

Consumers, on the other hand, don’t have the same pressures. As such, we believed that the majority of consumers would be much slower to adopt new technologies than marketers.

From the start, Marketers from Mars set out to answer two primary questions:

  1. How different are marketers’ digital habits from the typical consumer?
  2. Do these differences result in different priorities?

While we did find that the habits of marketers and consumers are very different in many ways, we also found a few things that surprised us.

Most importantly, we found that many of the differences between marketers and consumers are tied to smartphone ownership. While nearly all marketers we surveyed own a smartphone, only half of consumers currently own one. Consumers with smartphones act a lot like marketers in many ways. Consumers without smartphones don’t act much like marketers at all.

Most marketers can’t afford to ignore HALF of the US population. Yes, smartphone adoption is growing, but there are consumers who really don’t want one—or at least not badly enough to pay for a data plan. They don’t check in, they don’t Tweet at events, they can’t scan QR codes, and they can’t use your mobile coupon. And yet, they still spend money online.

Additional surprises:

  1. Consumers who own smartphones use certain social networks (Pinterest, Instagram, and Foursquare) more than marketers. 
  2. Consumers actually call each other! A relatively high percentage of consumers report calling their friends and family to tell them about products they liked.
  3. Consumers prioritize in-person interactions over marketers. Email, website, and Facebook were the top three responses when consumers were asked where marketers from their favorite company should invest to make them more loyal customers. Fourth on consumers list of investment priorities: in-store help. In contrast, marketers thought their favorite brands should invest in things like smartphone apps, Twitter, SMS programs, and marketing content over In-store help.
  4. Most marketers would cut back their digital use if they weren’t in marketing.

The theme of this research is clear: marketers and consumers experiences, perspectives, and motivations around digital communication are different. Marketers need to be well-versed in a large variety of channels and need to innovate in these channels, but we can’t forget that consumers’ priorities are different.

So the next time you hear a marketer say, “I think this is what we should do because this is what my friends and I do…” pull out your copy of Marketers from Mars and remind them that they are digital explorers. Keep exploring, just remember to make sure your marketing speaks to your audience where they are, not where you are.

Morgan Stewart (@mostew) is co-founder and CEO of Trendline Interactive. His email marketing journey began in 1999 when he managed the development of Pampers websites and email marketing programs across the U.S., Western Europe, and South America. With over 14 years of experience in online marketing, Morgan has become recognized as one of the online industry’s thought leaders in online trends and interactive marketing. Prior to Trendline, Morgan launched ExactTarget’s strategic consulting practice in 2004 and managed that team for more than 3 years before dedicating the majority of his time to studying and writing about how consumers interact with brands across web, email, mobile, and social networks. Morgan is a regular columnist for Mediapost’s Email Insider and Engage: GenY and frequently contributes to other leading industry publications. His research is frequently cited in eMarketer and his work has been featured in leading publications including Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Mashable.

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