How Cross-Channel Marketing Impacts the Buying Cycle
According to Forrester, more than 70% of consumers indicated they personally use three or more devices daily, giving rise to consumers who are connected to their devices 24/7. This affords marketers the opportunity to reach customers during times consumers historically were not available and also provides new marketing opportunities during the buying cycle.
According to Forrester’s Study “ The New Path to Purchase”, 98% of consumers indicated they go online daily, while 85% of them go online several times a day. Two-thirds of respondents also use their desktop, laptop, and mobile devices to access online brand assets.
You will find companies and experts giving them different names, but there are essentially 4 steps in the buying cycle:
The dawn of the connected consumer has not changed any of these steps in the buying cycle but it has greatly altered how the marketing professional can interact with consumers and guide them through the process.
1. Discovery. Occurs when a consumer first learns of a specific brand’s product or service. Digital channels are now the primary way consumers first discover a brand – surpassing offline channels two to one. Two-thirds of consumers cited digital resources during discovery whereas; only 27% cited offline channels. Of the digital sources mentioned 1/3 of consumers said search engines were their primary resource.
2. Education. While a consumer is gathering information on a specific brand, they turn to multiple channels to provide them with the depth of information required to understand the brand and compare it to others. Search engines are the top resource used by 44% of consumers (23% of this coming directly from mobile), while only 25% visit the brand’s website.
3. Purchase. Digital and mobile channels are also significantly impacting the purchase. One-third of consumers’ recent purchases were completely made online, and the other 15% started their purchase online and completed the transaction offline. Of all ecommerce sales, 15% were made on a mobile device.
4. Advocacy. Gone are the days consumers believe the reviews from the brand. The digital consumer is educated, and the information most trusted is from other consumers. 92% of customers will trust a customer review over a brand description. 90% of consumers say online reviews greatly impacted their purchase decision.
Connected Customers Demand Cross-Channel Consistency
As customers advance through the buying cycle, as many as 1/3 of consumers switch devices. As these customers advance through the buying process their expectations of their cross-channel experience also increases. 71% of consumers report a negative feeling towards brands when they run into cross-channel inconsistencies – and 9% will actually stop interacting with the brand.
Key Take-Away: Consistent, Channel-Optimized Content
52% of consumers stated they want to see the same content, but want channel-optimized content as they switch mediums. One in five consumers expect the brand to continue to “know” them across devices, while only 15% expect to remain anonymous.