Shopping has changed. Consumers don’t trust ads and they don’t need them, since they can get information on anything they want at any time.That doesn’t mean that ads aren’t valuable, but it does mean that they have a different place in the process than they used to.
Google says that the average consumer checks out 10 sources of information before they buy, which is about the same as it was in the old days when you had to get your ads in front of people 10 times before they would take action, but there’s a difference. It no longer means that you can or should push your ads in front of shoppers 10 times. They will seek out information 10 times, and they’ll pay attention to your ads only when they happen to be looking for the information you offer.
This gives advertisers less power, it’s true. It gives consumers more power. Consumers have more power in the transaction, too. They know what’s available and what it costs, and they no longer have to pick from what a retailer decides to stock or what happens to be on hand in their neighborhood. It’s time for marketers to accept that the balance of power has changed.
What can you do to make your marketing effective for the empowered consumer?
- Be the best source of information available. If you’re selling healthy pet food, your website should answer as many questions about pet health as possible. Offer infographics, videos, ebooks, and blog posts to reach consumers in many ways through many channels.
- Be where your shoppers are. That can mean pay per click, since people do look at ads when the ads speak to what they’re thinking about. Download our new pay per click ebook for more information. It can also mean engaging your customers at the social media platforms they like to use, texting coupons to your customers, nurturing leads with email, and providing a great ecommerce experience. It definitely means that you have to know your customers well.
- Make sure your brand goes beyond your ads. Your brand is not just a slogan. The empowered consumer wants to know where you source your products, not just where to buy them. They want to be able to talk back to your brand, and they want their experience with your brand to be consistent across all channels. You need to be aware of the interactions you’re providing all along your customer’s path to purchase.
Above all, have something great to offer your customers. They can buy things anywhere — from their cars to their desks to their booth when they’re out clubbing. They have lots of choices for purchasing any given item, and they know it. Give them a great experience at your website. Make sure your customer service is awesome. Offer something fun — if that fits your brand — or informative in your social media. Personalize the experience you provide. Make sure that your customers have a reason to choose you and not your competitors.
Your customers are now your partners in sales, taking on more of the power in the relationship but also more of the responsibility. Meet them halfway, and you’ll benefit from the changes.