Two pieces of information have become vitally important in the “selling things” business of the 21st century. With such competitive extremes, businesses can’t afford to not-know them. These two pieces of information are:
NUMBER ONE Advertising has become much less passive –companies have to be on the front foot. The traditional "launch and pray" type campaign has become outdated; advertising has evolved into an ongoing, real-time struggle to be relevant –and not only relevant but relevant, desirable and even necessary.
Long gone are the days of simply blasting a television commercial, placing your product on the shelves and waiting for the sales to roll in. The modern-day market is too competitive to allow this kind of screaming into a crowd to flourish and the consumer is too smart to simply purchase from those calling the loudest. In the crowd of the modern-day market, the consumer’s purchase decision is not spent on the pin-up girl advertised hotdog; in the modern day market the sore-eared consumer whips out their smartphone and buys a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
NUMBER TWO A Google study recently highlighted the modern consumer’s apparent instinct to research before they buy. The modern consumer knows that they have options and they will leave no relevant Google search term unturned until they “find” what they are looking for. The majority of this research now takes place online, which means there is a central destination for a large portion of internet traffic (Google). Now, the reason why I place “find” in inverted commas is because this word suggests that chance or luck has some part to play in the process of a Google search.
THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
If you are looking at the top result after pressing enter on a Google search then it is more than likely that you are seeing this particular result for a reason. Google’s search algorithm has identified that this post is relevant to you based on your age and gender, the time of day and the device being used etc. –contrary to popular belief, Google does not show the “most popular” results first.
Your online movements and various other offline details are automatically collected by many web services as you visit their sites, they do this in the form of cookies. This information can then be used to determine things such as the relevance of search results TO YOU and the order that they should be displayed TO YOU. This way, companies can reach a specifically targeted audience without wasting money by having their advertising falling on deaf ears and blind eyes.
WHAT TO DO Unlike those who’ve gone before, companies now have the challenge of anticipating where their digital customers –or potential customers– will be on the internet and what they want to know. Companies that can do this can then find out who usually buys which products and what they want or want to know. They are then at an advantage because they can be there waiting for their customers and prospective customers every time they search the internet with a relevant question.
In order to remain competitive, modern companies must:
– Realise that consumers will do their own research on your company – Collect and analyse as much consumer data as possible – Identify what the consumer would like –or what they would like to know – Meet the consumer’s questions with relevant answers
According to Google Think: “90% of smartphone users are not absolutely certain of the specific brand they want to buy when they begin looking for information online”. This presents an opportunity for companies to wrangle their competitor’s would-be-customers, all they need to do is be there for the consumer-in-need and answer the questions they’re asking.
Most of being "Consumer Ready" is in simply being present. Once that is done, touchpoints can be made with the brand and it's only a matter of time before sales follow. The future of marketing has agencies handing potential customers a towel as they tiptoe out of the pool rather than trying to sell them the towel three months earlier during the winter season in anticipation of the summer.
As the marketing landscape grows, the distance between need and purchase shrinks and those in advertising need to learn proactivity to anticipate the needs of the consumer so that they are reached only when they’re in immediate need.