With an average attention span of 8 seconds, millennials are forcing marketers to rethink how to reach and engage them. tl;dr – “too long; didn’t read” – is the millennial language that sums up the challenges marketers face in building relationships with this always-connected generation.

In an era of countless communication channels and constant messaging, the question becomes: How do you mitigate the impact of shortened attention spans to build consumer relationships based on trust and empathy? And how do you it in a nimble way, and at scale? [By taking a consumer-first approach with each interaction.]

In 1970, consumers received 500 marketing messages a day. Today, they receive 5,000! And they’re saying “stop” to the bombardment of messages by opting out, blocking your ads, and marking your legitimate messages as spam. The way brands build relationships with consumers will inevitably change. And consumers are the drivers of that change.


Today’s consumers are unlike their predecessors. They grew up in an age of hyper connectivity, expecting marketers to have and utilize their personal data. They expect that in losing some privacy, brands have a deeper understanding of them, and make maximum use of powerful digital toolsets to deliver superior experiences targeted to them. In short, they expect relevance, convenience, and value with each micro-moment of brand interaction. Or they will disengage.


Embracing Consumer-First Marketing

Consumer-First Marketing helps brands build relationships on consumers’ terms. It is marketing with integrity and empathy toward the consumer. The four pillars central to this modern way of marketing are:

  1. Respect consumer preference
  2. Make it relatable. Speak in their language
  3. Add value
  4. Make it contextually relevant

A critical first step to getting started with Consumer-First Marketing is to shift away from traditional “business-first” marketing. To do that, marketers must prioritize the needs of the consumer, lead with integrity, authenticity, consumer empathy, and value.

Consumer-First principles should guide business decisions:

  1. Identify and recognize consumers in real-time & across channels
  2. Be insight-driven, predictive, and contextual
  3. Interactions are always relevant to the consumer, and communications and interactions are channel-flexible and touchpoint-agnostic
  4. Demonstrate genuine consumer appreciation by providing value and respect


How do you get started on your voyage towards Consumer-First Marketing?

  • Build your collective vision – agree on your destination
  • Rethink identity and recognition
  • Leverage predictive and contextual capabilities
  • Build permission and earn your consumer’s trust
  • Become valued by your customers
  • Pace yourself – start small and build

The high demands of today’s consumers are leaving brands little choice but to rethink how they build relationships with them. The brands that are heeding the consumer’s call for change have an edge over their competition, and more importantly, are staying relevant by delivering increased consumer value, resulting in long-term relationships with their customers built on trust and empathy.

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