Buckminster Fuller created the ‘Knowledge Doubling Curve’. He noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on an average, human knowledge today is doubling every 13 months. IBM predicts the build out of the ‘internet of things’ will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. In short, change is accelerating change.
No other industry shows the effect of this accelerating change as does the media and marketing industry. Content dissemination across media and consumers interactions with the same are constantly morphing and changing. And we are headed into an ‘Oh Shit’ gap where the rate of learning needed for new ways of doing things by top performers has sky rocketed. At the same time, consumer awareness has peaked like never before. Brands with clear purpose; authenticity and transparency are garnering higher brand valuation and delivering superior shareholder returns. From fruits to washing machines, every purchase is rapidly becoming a conscious choice. Consumers are asking questions and asking for more.
In light of all these changing preferences and technological advancement impacting the way consumers interact with brands; consumer purchase journeys are getting more and more complex. Deconstructing and leveraging these purchase journeys is becoming all the more critical if brands have to find themselves as part of them.
Here are the new rules that can help marketers unlock the purchase journey to accelerate sales:
Critical moment interventions and last-mile actions
There are critical moments on the purchase journey, during which the purchase decision is made. On the other hand, information and choice overload is paralysing and disrupting purchase journeys, making shoppers behave in unpredictable ways. A trigger reaching an undecided consumer at the right moment can create a swift conversion towards our brand. Placing our brand in the best context within the critical purchase journey moments is what we need to do to swing the consumer in our favour. Also in today’s omni-channel world, the shopper has a joined up (offline + online) experience with the brand in totality rather than in isolation. To win, brands should create interventions dove-tailing into shopper’s day-to-day offline-online lives. And, excel at ‘last mile actions’ before purchase. Having an integrated view of the entire offline + online purchase journey and the actions along the same is a must.
Consumer centricity in purchase journey deconstruction
Consumer centricity in purchase journey is the need of the hour. This is because the purchase journey varies from consumer to consumer depending on their mindset and life-stage. Shoppers behave how they do, not because of their age, gender or where they live. What really influences their purchase, is their interests, likes and dislikes, beliefs, point of views and many other subjective things. It is imperative, therefore, to get to know and group our consumers’ basis these factors and craft their unique purchase journeys. And devise interventions that influence them towards our brands. Not only must we understand the unique purchase journeys, but also gather insights on which our critical moment interventions and last-mile actions can be hinged. This is going to be one of the key areas of application of big data for marketers.
Activating the purchase journey through media ecosystem engine
The media ecosystem is integral for brands’ effective participation in the consumer’s purchase journey. At the heart of the media ecosystem are platforms, which carry content delivered through different technologies and provide addressable audiences.
The same addressable audiences are also our consumers across their different purchase journeys. The media ecosystem is therefore the engine at the heart of the purchase journey that can be put in motion for creating the critical moment interventions and last-mile actions moving consumers to brands. The key task here is to juxtapose the consumer purchase journeys along the platforms and identifying the most effective junctions at which the critical moment interventions and last-mile actions can be placed. The content/technology play on the platform needs to be taken into consideration so that the mode of engagement with consumer can be played out in the most effective way.
Staying relevant in the purchase journey beyond shelves
If your consumer has chosen you once, it is crucial to stay relevant to them in the long run. As competition increases, consumers are presented with countless choices at every step. Keep in mind that the purchase journey doesn’t end with the purchase, but continues till the consumer returns to you. Stay with them through this journey, provide them value, exist in your consumer’s life beyond their shelves and purchase lists. Become a part of their lives by associating with things that interest them. Content marketing therefore becomes a crucial component for brands as this gives them a chance to continue their presence without selling or promoting the product overtly. This is how we can best establish brand ethos that ties in with consumers’ belief systems and what they are seeking from brands. This subtle presence isn’t without effort, investment, and strategy; but a well-crafted content strategy can take your brand to new heights.
There are many other elements that will drive our approach to unlocking the purchase journey to accelerate sales in the future. Many may be technology driven, but there will be some that will take place due to cultural changes. These are the changes that each brand should be prepared to tackle on short notice. As brand custodians, if we manage to effectively curate our interactions with consumers on the purchase journey and activate the correct levers, consumers will stay connected to the brand, thus unlocking the purchase journey and accelerating sales.
Applying these new rules are not only needed to accelerate sales in the short term, but very importantly help marketers accelerate their speed of learning needed to bridge the ‘Oh Shit’ gap in the long term. The future belongs to exponential learners, as change accelerates change.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)