The path to a purchase is a consumer journey consisting of multiple phases. Too often, marketers focus on only two points in that journey: (1) Attracting consumers to the brand by increasing awareness and consideration, and (2) promotional activities at the end of the journey to persuade consumers to make the jump and complete the purchase. Digital marketing requires a more interactive and sustained overture between the marketer and the consumer.
Consumers have become a resource of product and service knowledge that has the capacity to propel consumers toward purchase decisions. McKinsey & Co. say this phenomenon is true for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer relationships (B2C. Through their extensive consultations, McKinsey & Co. have come to believe that companies successfully utilizing digital marketing address the four value sources when they allocate market research spend.
1. Actively engage the consumer throughout the stages of a digital purchase journey.
2. Build platforms and content that fosters the development of consumers’ own marketing identities.
3. Manage cross-channel content like a big multimedia publisher would, supporting channels and promotions with segmentation-rich content.
4. Use digital data strategicially and measure only what needs to be measured to give the strongest competitive edge.
Through trial and error, mostly, companies have figured out some new things that increase the depth of their relationships with their consumers and also increase revenue. The range of digital tactics that enterprises have tried is broad and includes a plethora of video ads, tons of sponsored content, and embedded promotions. Targeted digital ad delivery has become a specialty. Enterprise websites are regularly renovated to implement the new strategies and microsites for products and services have proliferated. Enormous numbers of search terms within a business line are purchased. The landscape shows increasing numbers of provider agencies that offer digital tools, social media experiments, and every possible version of innovative, compelling content.
Digital Marketing Should Not Resemble a Snowball Rolling Downhill
These new approaches and upgrades to existing techniques can and do result in more consumer attention. But the problem is that enterprises tend to add these new, slick initiatives to what they are already doing. The result is a glut of methods that strains the organization both operationally and fiscally. Greater and more thoughtful integration of new techniques for digital marketing is required. Marketing strategies shouldn’t be acquired like rolling a snowball down a slope during a spring thaw in which all manner of things get picked up and stick—until the cumbersome conglomerate has taken on a shape no one ever intended.
Trim a Ragged Consumer Experience Through Integration
The consumer experience has become an increasingly digital phenomenon that follows a ragged course, jumping from one channel to another in a search for more information about a product or service. In most companies, these consumer touch points generated data that is managed by different parts of the organization. According to McKinsey & Co., tightening up the data streams from these contact points can result in accelerated revenue growth. Turning a critical eye on the standard operating procedures and making sensible revisions can result in substantive benefit – to the consumer and to the company.
The amount and the quality of the digital traffic can be increased – which offers opportunity for more meaningful interactions with consumers – and conversion rates can be increased which will result in more sales revenue. The customer after-care is an important stage that is sometimes given short shrift. It is important to not miss out on the opportunity to strengthen the relationship with consumers following a sales transaction.
A certain degree of rigor in the cross-channel development of digital content will help consumers find their way and present a more integrated consumer experience. For example, the images used across channels should be stylistically similar or even the same for easy identification of products or services. Ads and commercials should be structured and presented in such a way that search words are made salient. And those searches by consumers should be fruitful due to effective search positioning, such that, digital links to promotions and offers in other media are easily located. The old adage that marketing messages should be consistent is even more relevant in the cross-channel environment of digital marketing.