Americans take a break this week to celebrate their country's 238th birthday.
Should marketers? Not really.
Thanks to technology, there are marketing opportunities at every moment of every day. "Happy Fourth, Sally. Enjoying your burger? Here's some software your company may want to munch on." OK, that was tacky.
But as we do in fact toast to ourselves and our independence, we thought we'd pick the brains of some pros about marketing to Americans:
Americans Vs. Others
In marketing, is there a difference in an "American" marketing message vs. a message to other target audiences in other countries?
Absolutely, said Paige O’Neill, chief marketing officer of SDL.
"Marketers must make language and localization a priority when engaging with consumers," O'Neill said.
"Going beyond traditional translation, there are nuances with every culture and region that marketers should take into consideration when communicating with customers."
Such as? If your customer is American and speaks English, send him promotions related to the Fourth of July, but not Boxing Day.
"This may seem elementary," O'Neill said, "but you’d be surprised to see how many brands don’t include region and culture as important criteria for their personalized communications with consumers."
Kyle Lacy, director of global content marketing & research for the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, told CMSWire that in its 2014 Mobile Behavior Report, they discovered American consumers access their smartphones more between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., while tablet usage increases after 6 p.m.
Another study, the 2013 Executive Summary, which analyses the online behavior of consumers in the UK, Australia, Brazil, Germany and France, shows that Brazilian online consumers spend their mornings checking emails (46 percent) and their evenings on Facebook (24 percent).
"Based on this data, marketers should adjust their global marketing strategies to reach American and Brazilian consumers across multiple digital channels and devices during specific times of the day," Lacy said. "As marketing is becoming less siloed by channel and messaging is more 1:1, customer journeys are the new campaigns: relevant to every customer no matter what country."
SDL research found 52 percent of American millennial consumers said they have no issue with brands collecting and using their personal data to provide a better customer experience. But globally, millennials had drastically different responses, with only 37 percent of those in the UK in agreement and an even smaller amount of 13 percent agreement recorded in the Netherlands.
"Considering this," O'Neill said, "marketers should take note that Americans are likely to be more open to brands/marketers collecting and using their personal information, but they should be sure to provide an improved experience in return."
Americans = Unique
Are Americans generally tougher to market to or easier in a sense vs. others?
While Americans may not be more difficult to market to, O'Neill said, they definitely represent a unique demographic.
"America has often been referred to as a 'melting pot' of cultures," O'Neill said. "With this in mind, marketers can no longer rely on consumers’ locations to know what language to communicate with them in."
SDL research found that 32 percent of millennial consumers in English speaking countries prefer a language other than English.
"Considering that 46 percent of these consumers are more likely to purchase if information is presented in their preferred language," O'Neill added, "the need to translate and localize is more critical to a customer experience strategy than many may have realized."
Lacy said "who the customer is, where they live, what mobile devices they use, their recent purchase history and their communication preferences" must be factored into their customer journey.
"Companies must make the most out of every customer interaction by transforming single moments into personalized journeys," Lacy said.
Americans Love Summer
So how do you break through the summer noise especially in America where the whole country seems to shut down for a few months?
"Breaking through the marketing noise this summer ties backs to relevance and contextualization," O'Neill said. "In the United States, many consumers are traveling, enjoying vacations and other summer activities. Marketers should collect and use the data they need and use it to deliver personalized offers to customers."
If a customer is traveling a lot, O'Neill said, don’t rely on direct mail for communication.
"Perhaps send offers for rental cars, or promotions on summer clothing as they may be looking for a new vacation wardrobe," she added. "It all points back to listening to and understanding the customer. If you’re missing that critical step, then you’ll never break through the noise this summer when it comes to customer engagement."
Consumers’ travel time is marketers' mobile opportunity, Lacy said. Summer, he added, is the most popular time to travel, especially after the cold weather many Americans had this past winter and spring. AAA estimates that 41 million people will hit the road and take to the skies for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Lacy said.
"This is prime time for marketers to ensure their mobile strategy is keyed up to reach consumers during their downtime in vehicles and in airports," Lacy said. "The most important things to remember: make it timely, make it relevant and keep it simple."
Title image by Erika Cross (Shutterstock).