Cyber Monday happened just a few days ago, and we all know how much business is generated online that day. It’s gotten to the point that Black Friday has lost some of its cachet as the biggest holiday shopping day of the year, thanks to emerging clout of cyber consumers.

But not so fast. A recent Media Post article points to a recent study that new media users may be numerous, but they need plenty of incentives to buy. Not only that: It takes a lot of hard work and outreach on the marketer’s part to reach their target consumer online. That customer may have an incentive  to purchase from that specific company, yet online loyalty is quite elusive.

The study cited in the article points to how few brands new media consumers actually follow online. According to the 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study, which you can access at this link by signing in to download, 77% of SM users are seeking incentives like coupons, discounts, or freebies as enticements for engagement.

How are these customers being reached?

  • 48% are using social networks.

  • 20% are using mobile devices.

  • 20% are on message boards.

  • 13% are blogging.

Marketers are getting ever more ingenious at offering promotional incentives, but here’s the big question: How can they develop “long-term relationships with real staying power,” as insightfully stated by Cone’s new media director, Mike Hollywood. Especially when 59% of new media users have no problem severing their relationships with companies that act in a manner they find disagreeable.

This is the heart of the matter, from my perspective. Making the sale is great, but retaining a customer is the point of marketing, after all. What makes new media users defect?

  • 58% will disengage with a company that “over-communicates with them.”

  • 53% will disengage over “irrelevant content.”

  • 36% will disengage “for under-communicating.”

  • 28% will disengage for the “censoring of user-generated content.”

It all boils down to this central fact: How can marketers create consistently good customer experiences online? How can marketers find the balance in communicating with the customer, to become aware of what’s too much or not enough? It also means not wasting the customer’s time with poor content, doesn’t it? Let’s remember marketers are hot to generate content due to the in-bound marketing trend. Great, as long as that content is meaningful.

And how about offering consistently good experiences across all touch points? The article states: "As new media use grows, so, too, do the myriad touch points." How are new media users interacting with companies now?

  • Web sites 63%

  • Email 62%

  • Social networks 38%

  • Mobile devices 18%

  • Message boards 16%

  • Online games 15%

  • Blogs 13%

  • Web-sharing 11%

  • Microblogs 3%

So there are plenty of challenges, aren’t there?

  • How have your experiences with companies gone when engaging in new media?

  • Have you become loyal to a particular online brand due to the development of a real relationship?

  • How hard is it to develop strong company-customer relationships in the fast environment of new media in your view?

I’d love to hear from you.

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image of Ted Mininni

Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni