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Who is listening if we are not?

Lerato Senne, Insights Strategist at The MediaShop says that with the rise of technology and more advanced cellphones, human behaviour is becoming more anti-social than ever with a ‘present yet absent’ type of behaviour.There’s no doubt that technology is changing how we communicate these days. We’re constantly multitasking while losing the essence of face-to-face interactions and paying less attention to details. This behaviour is affecting how we relate to each other – and it’s not just in the workplace but in our homes as well.

Marketing one-on-one is about reaching consumers and communicating brands or products but let’s put ourselves in the mirror for a bit and become our own target market.

– How many ads did you see yesterday?
– How many caught your attention?

As marketers, we expect to effectively reach our consumers but more often than not, we are those consumers when the “marketing hats” come off. We’re just normal people with normal lives at the end of the day and a lot of us have PVR’s in our homes. We’re either on our phones when an ad comes up, or worse, we leave the room when there’s a commercial.

Imagine if everyone behaved the same way. Who are we actually marketing to? Who are we communicating to?

Sometimes we just need to look things from inside out to understand our consumers better. Here we are in the advertising and marketing industry but we’re the very same people that are quick to press fast forward when an ad comes on TV.

FOMO is a real thing – we’re constantly wondering what we’re missing when we’re not on our phones. We need to know what our online friends are up to, so we juggle the real and online world at the same time, numerous times a day. Sad but unfortunately true.

There is also parental influence to consider. How can we expect our kids to get off their phones when we’re displaying the exact opposite behaviour? Kids replicate everything that we do so what kind of future consumers are we grooming? Think about it.

There is a saying that “the more connected we are, the more isolated we feel” (unknown). The way we communicate has certainly evolved. Today we even communicate work related matters on WhatsApp all in the name of convenience.

Granted, the fact that technology and the rise of social media has had both a positive and negative impact in our lives but it has become detrimental to our communication skills and in-depth face-to-face interactions.

 The Guardian had an article late last year entitled “Have smartphones killed the art of conversation?” In the article they highlighted the drop in voice calls and an increase in internet addiction, most of it swallowed by WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Here is the link:–art-of-conversation-voice-calls-whatsapp-emojis

Here’s the crux though – consumers are engaging with media on multi platforms at the time so that’s exactly where brands need to be. Everywhere. All the time. Not too much to ask is it? My advice is to be present as continually as possible.

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