Insights

F**k the Formula: How to adapt to fast-evolving customer behavior

In the era of economic uncertainty with the relentless rise of automation and AI, traditional marketing methods are becoming increasingly obsolete. The solution? Saying ‘F**k the Formula!’ and utilizing strategic marketing methods to stand out from the crowd, create an online presence to be reckoned with and, ultimately, boost ROI. 

In a fireside chat at our F**k the Formula event in New York, Duncan Smith, our Chief Product Officer, prodded the mind of Matt Britton, go-to consumer trend analyst and CEO of Suzy, a consumer intelligence software company. Read along for key fire-side chat takeaways.

 

Fireside chat with Matt Britton 

 

Duncan and Matt discussed how the acceleration of the pace that consumer behavior is changing, and what both agencies and brands can do to adapt to them. Here’s what you should pay attention to:

 

Bridging the gen gap

There’s a growing disconnect between marketers and their target audience, with an increasing gap between older marketers and younger consumers, who engage with media and brands in entirely different ways. As millennials finally enter the C-suite, old ways of working are gradually being shaken to the core.

 

Bite-sized is boss

Today’s consumers, particularly Gen Z, prefer quick, snackable content over long-form media. Brands must adapt by creating engaging, relevant content that captures attention in short bursts, much like how the NBA caters to fans with highlight reels on TikTok rather than full games.

 

The power of AI

AI will play a pivotal role in bespoke consumer experiences. By leveraging data, brands can tailor their messaging to individual preferences, creating more meaningful and engaging interactions. Matt’s company, Suzy, exemplifies this by using AI to customize newsletters based on their demographic and psychographic signals. Not only that, AI models can be used in leveraging first-party data to understand consumer behavior deeply. For example, by feeding over 20,000 hours of customer call transcripts into an AI model, one company could refine its strategies, from SEO to product development.

 

The emotional hook

Emotional engagement is driven by the value a brand offers. Successful brands like Nike and Red Bull connect with consumers by inspiring or entertaining them, rather than simply pushing products. This approach fosters a deeper emotional connection and loyalty.

 

Rethinking agency structures

Traditional agency models, often siloed by media type, may not serve brands’ best interests in today’s integrated marketing landscape. Agencies need to focus on how messages are received by consumers holistically, rather than through segmented channels. This requires a shift towards a more unified approach that considers the entire brand experience.

 

Consumer trust and authenticity

The rise of the creator economy is reshaping how brands communicate with their audiences. With millennials entering the C-suite and Gen Z becoming significant decision-makers, mobile engagement through authentic, creator-driven content is crucial. However, brands need to redefine authenticity not just as staying true to their ideals, but also enabling consumers to feel authentic in their choices. Brands like Liquid Death succeed by aligning with consumers’ desire for uniqueness and counterculture experiences.

 

Connect marketing results to business outcomes

To secure and optimize marketing budgets, it’s vital to link marketing efforts directly to business results. Marketers should focus on metrics that reflect business impact, such as volume and profitability, rather than just impressions or likes. By demonstrating how marketing initiatives drive tangible business outcomes, marketers can justify investments and gain more flexibility in their budgets.

 

Balancing short-term and long-term strategies

Marketers face the challenge of balancing short-term business results with long-term brand building. While it’s essential to show immediate impact, strategies should also aim to add long-term value to the brand. Companies like Nike and Liquid Death exemplify this balance by driving sales while simultaneously building strong brand identities.

 

Why Earned matters

Earned media is becoming increasingly valuable in the digital landscape. Authentic engagement, rather than paid placements, is more effective in building lasting relationships with consumers. Brands must earn their place in the conversation by being relevant, authentic, and data-driven. This approach enhances credibility and fosters deeper connections with the audience.

 

Want more? 

Read our top takeaways from our expert panel. Caitlin Halpert, VP of Growth at Journey Further, sat down with Stu Gower from Adidas, Tatiana Kuzmowycz from Whoop, Carli Bainbridge from Brooklyn Brewery, and Stacie Henderson from Tod’s to discuss the ever-changing industry landscape.. 

We hosted F**k the Formula in London too. Check out key learnings from our conversation with Richard Shotton and panel talk with experts from Papier, Vinterior, Papier, Vinterior, Lick and Grind.