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Good morning, Marketers, experience is a powerful way to communicate brand values.

This will become evident as you read through today’s newsletter. In the first piece, TechChange is all about meeting the training and meeting needs of major international change agents (think W.H.O.). Beyond organizing virtual conferences over the last 15 months, they’ve paid special attention to the networking and small group conversation needs of those involved.

Further down, we get some insights on Gen Z for marketers targeting those customers. Here’s the breakdown: these shoppers aren’t influenced by their friends and price is what matters most.

And finally, we have a policy update from Google Merchant Center that could impact landing pages and checkout pages, two critical points in the shopper experience.

Chris Wood,

Editor

Tackling the challenge in virtual networking

TechChange, the Institute for Technology and Social Change, is a little over 10 years old. Founder and CEO Nick Martin describes it as an online event and course provider for the social sector. “We define social sector broadly; we’re working for government agencies (we’re based in D.C., so a lot of U.S. government), a lot of large NGOs, U.N. outfits, the World Bank, academic institutions, and then some companies too – the ‘for good’ side of companies like Facebook and Microsoft.”

TechChange offers not only remote training courses, but — over the last 15 months especially — virtual conferences, many on a large scale. Although it has its own virtual events stack, it chooses to leverage a partner, Social hour, for purposes like virtual networking and virtual expo halls.

“Social hour started off with just a piece of what we now offer,” explained Adam Riggs, CEO of Frameable, which makes the platform. “It was focused on small group discussions and interactions in a flexible space that gave the attendees a level of transparency and a level of choice that they did not enjoy when in meeting software. In meeting software, it’s much more about control, much more about a one-way vector of information. Meetings can be participatory, but the software is not generally leaning in that direction.”

Martin said TechChange uses it for networking lounges. “For instance, we’re running a 10,000 person event this week called RightsCon, the largest conference on tech and human rights in the world. They have something like 100 Social hour sessions across a five day agenda, and they’re using it for small networking rooms; they have representatives from NGOs or tech staff tables and people will come and talk to them.”

Read more here.

Google may suspend merchant sites that show invalid product availability

Google Merchant Center has a new policy named “Inaccurate availability” that is caused “due to inconsistent availability between the landing page and checkout pages on your website,” the company said. This policy replaces the existing “Delivery issues” policy violation and goes into effect on September 1, 2021.

Google explained that a Google Merchant Center account can receive a warning or a suspension when “one or more of your products show as unavailable for purchase at checkout even though they’re displayed as being in stock on your landing pages.” If you are showing users that a product is in stock on the product landing page but when they click to add it to the cart and it becomes unavailable, that can lead to violating this policy.

“It’s a bad customer experience if product availability changes from “in stock” on the landing page to “out of stock” or “unavailable” after the product has been added to a cart, and customers will be less likely to try and purchase from your store in the future,” Google said.

Read more here.

Gen Z shoppers value individuality, price 

When it comes to choosing what fashion trends to follow, not many Gen Zers are looking to their friends for pointers, according to what social media game creator Sulake found in a survey of Hotel Hideaway users. Hotel Hideaway is a 3D virtual world that has 15 million members worldwide. It’s largely a Gen Z crowd (ages 17 to 25) with a 60% female/40% male avatar split.

65% of its users follow the latest fashion trends, but only 3% do so by following how their friends dress. Also, 43% claim they have their own style and don’t look at the style of others. These people say they’re motivated by other reasons to purchase, but only 6% are motivated by what their friends say.

Since social media is primarily about spreading influence and following others, this digital-first group would seem to be tough for marketers to crack. So what else drives them to purchase? Here are the top five motivators:

  • Price (48%);
  • Social responsibility (16%);
  • Sustainable fashion (10%);
  • Influencers on social (9%) and
  • Brand advertising (6%).

Why we care: We’ve seen this ethos in other studies that reinforce Gen Z’s demand for individuality. It’s easy in a virtual world like Hotel Hideaway to generate unique outfits for avatars, but is it so different for Gen Zers when they search the endless digital e-commerce landscape for real fashion to buy and wear? With a few taps, they can discover what influencers are wearing on social media, look for related items that are similar but not identical, read about the company’s ethics and sustainability mission, and find the clothing second-hand on reseller apps like Poshmark. Young digital natives with access to these kinds of shopping tools have taken uniqueness to another level.

Keeping this in mind, marketers should also take a close look at their ad spend return. Is brand advertising (6%) really not that influential for driving purchases, or are Gen Z consumers just having a hard time admitting it? It doesn’t have to be a guessing game, especially not with Gen Z. If they are more digital in their purchasing than other consumers, they generate more data for marketers to analyze.

Quote of the Day

“Shopify is better served to facilitate on-platform transactions that benefit from user-level targeting than as a marketplace that faces an intensely deteriorating marketing funnel from loss of ads efficiency. Shop Pay integration with Facebook and Google is a win-win.” Eric Seufert

Analyst and Strategy Consultant, Heracles Media

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

Original Source