Today’s empowered consumers are driving the marketing equation by changing the way they research and buy products and services. If your marketing hasn’t changed in response, it should!
Marketing has one goal: to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions. But the traditional way of marketing has changed. It is no longer a linear process, where you followed your marketing checklist to success, but instead the process is now circular (at best!).
For many reasons (covered in other blog posts on this topic), the rules have changed.
Customers have moved outside the purchasing funnel - more and more studies point to the fact that 70+% of buyers make the purchase decision before speaking with someone in an organization - and have changed the way they research and buy products and services. If your marketing hasn’t changed in response, it should.
To be effective, marketing now needs to be about the complete customer experience.
Today, you must have a customer centric marketing perspective - you must get in the customers’ shoes and look at your product or service from their point of view.
Consumer Driven Marketing = Empowered Consumers
McKinsey&Company research has found . . .
- Two-thirds of the touch points during the active-evaluation phase involve consumer-driven marketing activities, such as Internet reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, as well as in-store interactions and recollections of past experiences.
- A third of the touch points involve company-driven marketing.
- Traditional marketing remains important, but the change in the way consumers make decisions means that marketers must move aggressively beyond purely push-style communication and learn to influence consumer-driven touch points, such as word-of-mouth and Internet information sites.
What these trends mean is that as a marketer, you need to shift from buying media to developing properties and platforms that attract consumers; digital assets such as Web sites about products, programs to foster word-of-mouth, and systems that customize advertising by viewing the context and the consumer need to be a part of your small business digital marketing strategy.
In other words, start placing more emphasis on content creation, or inbound marketing.
Because there is so much competing for your prospects’ time and attention, it is paramount that you proactively provide your customers what it is they want in the form of content they are looking for in order to address their questions and needs.
Every day, people form impressions of brands from touch points such as advertisements, news reports, conversations with family and friends, and product experiences. Unless consumers are actively shopping, much of this exposure may appear wasted, but it is not. What happens when something triggers the impulse to buy? These accumulated impressions then become crucial because they shape the initial-consideration set: the small number of brands consumers regard at the outset as potential purchasing options.
Today’s empowered consumer is driving the marketing equation. You need to not only align all elements of marketing—strategy, spending, channel management, and message—with the journey that consumers undertake when they make purchasing decisions, but also integrate these elements across your organization.
When you understand the customer journey and direct your digital marketing spend and messaging to the moments of maximum influence, you stand a much greater chance of reaching consumers in the right place, at the right time, and with the right message.
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