Shaping consumer decisions by connecting digital and direct marketing, from The Guardian.
To offer customers the best possible experience, brands must embrace new purchasing habits
The way people buy things has changed. People are increasingly buying emotionally or financially significant things without physical comparisons. For example, 49% of consumers report test driving either zero or one new cars before purchase. This means that the test drive is not being used for choosing; it’s being used for confirmation of a choice already made. It also means that the buyer has found everything they need to make a choice on the internet, before entering the dealership, and only partially from content produced by the brand.
Marketers have traditionally focussed on outbound communications, sending messages via various channels to hopefully get to the right person at the right time. But marketers now need to focus more on the journeys that are initiated and navigated solely by the future buyer – the types of journey that result in only test driving one car. Here is where we enter the world of inbound marketing, providing content and helping people find the content that will help them make their decision.
Both outbound and inbound approaches have merit, but rather than treating them separately, we at The Marketing Society (MBA) have built a model to meld them. Taking inspiration from Google’s Zero Moment of Truth and McKinsey’s purchase loop, we’ve developed a framework that embraces the non-linear, digitally-driven purchase journey surrounding the future buyer.
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People are increasingly buying items such as new cars without physical comparisons. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA