Living for the moment: How to target an audience that's focussed on the short-term

Long-term orientation (LTO) is a marketing principle that looks at the extent to which societies focus on future results, or short-term gain. Societies with high LTO tend to have strong belief systems, to rate their immediate gratification under a long-term outlook (even, in some cases, thinking ahead to ‘the next life), whereas societies with a low LTO are focussed on the here and now.

The UK, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a low-LTO country, which means we value getting results on the spot, as we need them – essentially we’re an impatient country, with an insatiable need for novelty. So how can we apply this to our marketing campaigns in order to get the best results?

One major way is statistics; your low-LTO audience will want to see results straight away, but they want more than just smoke and mirrors. Cold, hard facts will stand you in good stead. Any information you provide will seem more persuasive with figures behind it. If you are marketing a product, back up claims with data. If you are a PR or social media agency, provide evidence of your success with measurable increases in ROI and engagement – have you doubled your client’s Twitter followers in a finite period of time? Have you seen a 20 per cent increase in your client’s sales? This is much more impressive than vague statements such as “we increased coverage” or “we got the client’s brand in front of a larger audience”.

A second method is instant gratification. Your audience want something the minute they read about it – so give it to them! Downloads and free eBooks are a brilliant way to share content and give your audience something of value, which they will appreciate. This has the added bonus of establishing you as a thought leader, an expert with knowledge to share, and a generous company committed to helping others, rather than keeping all your secrets clutched jealously to your chest.

It might not come as a surprise to learn that low-LTO audiences value trends – it’s always about the next new and exciting thing. It’s important therefore that your company remains relevant, without seeming as though it is trying too hard. Keep abreast of new developments technologically and socially, and ensure that you implement them if you can. Establishing yourself as fresh and innovative is a sure-fire way to appeal to a low-LTO audience.

Tapping into this audience’s values of both trends and instant gratification is social media, something which low-LTO countries have taken to like a duck to water. Through creating and maintaining a social media dialogue with your audience, customers can address concerns, answer queries, and provide new information as it happens.

The approach best for marketing to low-LTO countries, then, can be generally summed up by a twofold approach: Hook the audience’s short attention span, and focus on instant gratification when you’ve got them. Ensure that communication is frequent and open; that claims can be backed up with results and figures; and that you offer your audience something of benefit that they can get right away.

If you work in a marketing department and are interested in learning more, why not register here for one of our free seminars on the science of digital marketing?