4 Research-Proven Strategies to Help Your Brand Navigate the Customer Buying Journey
In today’s always-on digital world, brands are under serious pressure when it comes to engaging and retaining connected consumers. Global attention spans are narrowing, the purchase journey has become winding and contradictory, and consumers literally aren’t “buying” many of the marketing tactics that were effective as little as five years ago.
To better help brands navigate these challenges, my team at Zen Media and I were determined to create a complete picture of and comprehensive roadmap for the modern purchase journey. Our goal led us to undertake an extensive research study, whose surprising discoveries we outline in great detail in our report, Marketing to Gods: The Definitive Guide to Reaching, Engaging, and Retaining the Modern, Empowered Consumer.
To make what can be some pretty meaty ideas easier to digest, we’re sharing the key insights of our research in this informative infographic. Below, we’ll take a deeper dive and quickly unpack these insights to better help you put them on the ground.
Now that we’ve taken a visual tour through our research findings, let’s look at how brands can cut through the digital noise and meaningfully reach and engage connected consumers to bring them happily home to your brand.
Provide guidance along the purchase journey
Connected consumers are confident in their ability to take control of their own purchase journeys. But their roads can often be bumpy and winding as they weigh similar competing products and peruse customer reviews. And because information is rarely housed in a format that lets users easily compare multiple products, consumers have a need to organize it all for themselves—usually, via bookmarks or spreadsheets.
Brands can become a valuable resource in connected consumers’ purchase journeys by offering them better ways to curate product information across categories, partner brands or features.
Helping consumers “pull” customized content puts even greater control in their hands, helping them get exactly what they want. And it also gives brands the opportunity to showcase themselves as a trusted ally.
Be honestly authentic
With products, services, values and ethics, consumers hold brands to high standards and believe they can find one that encompasses everything they’re seeking. But their ability to scrutinize brands (with information and opinions gathered across social media, forums and review sites) makes them extremely skeptical when it comes to authenticity.
Great opportunity arises when brands demonstrate their integrity and social responsibility.
But piggybacking on social movements or causes can be risky. Since consumers are attuned to brands’ attempts to appear authentic, brands need to ensure that their reasons for entering the cultural conversation are genuine and not simply a means to a profit-driven end.
Innovate ways to merge the digital and physical worlds
Although connected consumers are digital-native and tech-savvy, they aren’t abandoning brick-and-mortar businesses.
Rather, they are inspiring the fusion of digital spaces and physical places. And their influence is shining through the efforts of brands transforming IRL places into hands-on hubs of analog hospitality and sales experiences that pick up where digital (online product details, chat-based support, membership deals, augmented reality presentations, etc.) leave off.
Brands that effectively “hack the gap” of the online-meets-offline paradox speak to the need of connected consumers who want to feel independent in their purchase journeys yet also seek the kinds of service and support that only real-word experience can deliver.
Create more positive, seamless purchase experiences
Connected consumers now wield god-like technological control and social influence, yet the very conditions that have gifted them this power have also made them vulnerable. They want to be in the driver’s seat but need assistance en route to their purchase.
By creating a simple, stress-free purchase process, brands can help consumers maintain their sense of empowerment while relieving some of the pain points they encounter along the purchase journey. Among other approaches, this can be done by streamlining online interfaces, offering real-time assistance via live agents, or adopting a “try before you buy” model.
Brands that respect connected consumers’ god-like power while also easing the anxieties they experience during their purchase journeys are those that will gain trust and inspire advocacy.
By applying the insights of our research, we’ve been able to hack the gaps of the modern purchase for clients that include such notable names as Forbes, Chase, Tupperware, the US Navy, and many more. Despite the steep challenges posed by the digital world, with a comprehensive roadmap for navigating the customer journey, it’s entirely possible to bring connected consumers happily home to your brand.