The marketer’s channel-mix challenge across the digital landscape
Back in 2011, Google introduced us to a new marketing acronym. Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is the moment where first impressions happen and the path to purchase often begins. Google explained that it’s a moment where information and marketing happen, and the consumer makes choices that impact the success or failure of nearly every brand in the world. Talk about the opposite of a no pressure moment.
Zero Moments of Truth happen. Nevertheless, many people aren’t going to remember the very first time they were exposed to a brand. Ah, yes. It was a little after 3 in the afternoon on a Friday. I saw a mobile banner while I was checking the weather on my favorite app.
That’s because it often takes more than the ZMOT to help a prospect overcome inertia and take the steps to become a customer. What leads to this conversion is a concerted effort to push recognition towards engagement. Often, we must be exposed to something multiple times for it to be stored in our long-term memory.
A marketer’s biggest challenge is to deliver an unbroken chain of impressions on the right marketing channels to the right people once the seed is planted with a Zero Moment of Truth. It’s a real-time pursuit across the digital landscape, and revenue from a customer is the prize.
Marketing by moments
There may be some steps unique to a particular industry, product, or service, but purchasing behavior generally has five predictable steps:
- Problem recognition: The path to purchasing starts when a prospect identifies their need or problem. Stop and read that again. It means that your ZMOT message should be focused as much on their pain point as it is your solution.
- Information search: A prospect will begin their search process in earnest now. They’ll look first for validation, perspective, and education about the problem as well as how others have gone about solving it. The more complex the product or service, the longer this search will last. Think new car or real estate.
- Evaluation of alternatives: Do you stand out from the competition? Good. It still doesn’t mean a prospect will become your customer. This is the age of unlimited free search. Prospects want to be assured they’re about to make the right decision. The overarching solution here is to give prospects every reason to go with you.
- Purchase: Problem validated. Research completed. Ditto with the comparisons. Now it’s time to make the purchase decision. Marketing messages here usually revolve around a sense of security and value about the decision.
- Post-purchase evaluation: The transaction may have occurred, but the purchase is far from complete. A customer must now determine whether he or she is satisfied with the decision. So, another round of evaluation occurs, and brands must continue to communicate with these new customers to make sure they’re happy.
There have to be specific marketing messages delivered at one or more of these steps to encourage a decision to buy. Marketers must locate the right prospects as they take each step closer to deciding whether you understand their problem and offer the best solution.
Which channel keeps you by their side? That’s not the only challenge to conquer. It’s also necessary to consider the benefits and limitations of each channel. For example, SMS can be delivered instantly, has a higher open rate than any other marketing channel, and is extremely cost-effective. On the downside, you’ll have a limited message length and your choice of rich media is extremely narrow. Dynamically targeted banner ads have great targeting (these days) but could get lost in the mix during web surfing. Phone calls can be extremely effective but potentially invasive.
Some channels have a higher engagement rate, while others give you the opportunity of frequency. And not everyone uses all channels so how do you follow a prospect along the path to purchase if they’re appearing and disappearing like the Cheshire Cat?
Fitting the puzzle pieces together
Marketers know they must be present in as many steps along the way as possible while the prospect is taking the buyer’s journey. There’s no pre-configured map since marketing channels have different characteristics. It’s up to you to determine the right mix so that you’re making the best impression when the prospect is ready to make a decision.
The first step in doing this in today’s complex media environment getting actionable, highly-targeted, real-time data that reveals exactly who is looking to buy your product or service and which channels they use. BDEX can help you with that.
Find out how you can access real-time data that connect the dots, allowing you to reach prospects who are on the buyer’s journey.
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