Rise of the Apptroverts: Say hi to the digitally connected, physically disconnected masses

Originally published over at my Medium account. Please share and recommend over there if you like what you read.

You’ve seen them. You may even be one. They’re the people at the table whose faces are glowing from their smartphones almost completely disconnected from the world around them. While they may be disconnected from their physical space, they are simultaneously uber-connected to the entire world. These are the Apptroverted masses, and they’re more powerful than you may know.

The Apptrovert is a sect of the Millennial consumer group. If you’ve happened upon any conversation pertaining to marketing in the last few years the word “Millennial” was probably dropped more than bass hits in a techno song. Millennials have the buying power right now and brands want their money. The problem is that Millennials aren’t a group of people with the exact same interests. Sure, there are commonalities across the whole, but one of those commonalities is that Millennials strive to have their own personalities in the connected universe. That’s the source of their Apptroversion.

For Apptroverts, spending time with friends is always a good thing, but making sure everyone else in their networks know about the time spent is more important. Causing the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) effect amongst their circle makes a statement about their status in said circle. The project a I-am-doing-awesome-stuff-my-life-is-amazing-and-the-world-must-know-about-it mentality. What’s interesting is the unbroken tether to their smartphones disconnects them from the physical world around them. At the same time, they become connected to a bigger universe with immediate clout and influence built by their connections to others.

The connection and concurrent disconnection epitomizes the merge of digital and physical experiences for brands. To translate: A brand’s retail experience must have a digital accompaniment that is greater than or equal to its physical space. That doesn’t mean marketers should create special apps for in-store visits. It also doesn’t mean physical space experiences will be come less important or obsolete. It does demand greater thought be put into how a brand’s digital and physical experience work in tandem to create a more powerful overarching engagement.

The goal with any successful brand should be to integrate into a consumer’s life. For the Apptroverts that means accentuating physical experiences with features that enable them to do a number of things.

Project their experiences to their network. The Apptrovert will talk about what’s happening in real time to their digital audience. Smart brands will give them new ways to do so that inject the brand seamlessly.
Build upon the physical experience in innovative ways. They aren’t completely disconnected from their physical surroundings. Something new and fresh will get them reengaged while also giving them more fuel for their social network engine. Rethink the traditional idea of physical experiences to leverage the power these Apptroverts yeild.
Get them to interact with their current companions. Just like they want to experience something new in the physical space, they also want to be engaged with their companions. If brands think of new ways to infuse a digital experience with which a group can interact they will see Apptroverts turn to loyalists.
The digital world isn’t going to take over brick and mortar although some doomsday sayers continuously claim this to be the future. However, technology will continue to innovate what we all consider physical. The Apptroverts are spearheading the demand and fueling the launches of technologies that innovate in this manner. This market of early-adopters and super influencers are key to pushing into the next phase of any brand whether it be startup or existing. All hail the Apptroverted public!

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