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Forging stronger consumer connections in a digital world

A lot of businesses approach digital advertising in a siloed and transactional manner: they try to optimize each form of media independently, without a good lens on how their total message will be received by their target consumer. In the non-digital advertising world, this was implicitly understood where an approach combining television, radio, outdoor, and print led to stronger brand metrics and sales than solely focusing on one form of media.

These days, however, consumer behavior has become more nuanced and advertising in the digital world requires a more tailored approach.

Before a consumer is stirred to action, they need to be given a chance to develop awareness of your product, which will in turn lead to desire and ultimately a purchase. The best way to achieve this is to build a meaningful and ongoing relationship with consumers, which, when done the right way, can result in superior results to your bottom line.

Awareness and permission are essential first steps before we start focusing on conversion

The key to success is appreciating the purchasing funnel (which carries the consumer from awareness to interest to desire to action) and identifying the triggers that influence a consumer to buy. Focusing more attention on the start of the consumer consideration funnel—rather than the end of the funnel when consumers are searching specifically for the product and brand they want—can be a good way to significantly improve your return from marketing.

One area we consistently see an opportunity for businesses to improve their return from marketing is redirecting budgets that are used to buy search terms related to their own brand name and use this for attracting new customers and improving conversion through the funnel.

“Focusing more attention on the start of the consumer consideration funnel—rather than the end of the funnel when the consumer is specifically searching for the product and brand they want—can be a good way to significantly your return from marketing.”

Instead, the market share gains come from finding new customers, which requires more focus on building awareness and gaining permission at the top of the funnel. The best approach is to use all of the marketing tools available to you to develop a conversation with consumers. And remember that buying something is rarely an instantaneous decision and for most of us involves a journey. Brands that do this well see a much better conversion and repeat purchases.

Consumers that become immersed and emotionally connected to your brand before you offer them a retail message are many orders of magnitude more likely to respond.

Keep track of your consumers

In the past, businesses had to rely on offline market research (which was limited in reach and depth) to understand their consumers. Now businesses—even small businesses—can be much more sophisticated about how they manage the overall journey and relationship, and track consumers from the initial point of interest through to conversion.

This allows for a better understanding of behavior and gives businesses the opportunity to create a supportive relationship with their consumers and to improve the online experience.

Always look at the big picture

What we’re encouraging more and more is for advertisers to start thinking about their broader holistic relationship with consumers, and how to manage consumers that are interested in your product and gives you consent to start a relationship with them.

Ultimately, it comes down to taking the time to understand the bigger picture, and appreciating the needs and desires of your consumers because a process where you’re actually looking at the overall mix and your full return profile can deliver stronger outcomes.