Jennie is buying her monthly groceries online. She checks out a pack of organic cereals, really likes one, but it falls a bit outside her budget. She decides she doesn’t really need it. The next day, while on her way to office, she passes by a store that has the same cereal box. She gets a notification on her smartphone, telling her the item is available at a discount. Voila! Jennie grabs the chance, and buys the box right there.
This example of contextualized, personalized marketing holds some vital lessons for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry today. Here is a brand that analyzes an individual consumer’s pre-purchase online behavior in real time, and activates a tailored, offline promotion for her, triggering a successful “conversion”.
Welcome to the world of 365 degree consumer mapping. With consumers increasingly not seeing any distinction between their online and offline environments, CPG marketers like you must leverage customer journey mapping to connect the dots across different touch points and build integrated buyer profiles. Let me elaborate.
Customer experience journey being redefined
The consumer’s pathway to purchase is changing drastically by the day, as social media, online product review websites, price and feature-comparison tools and other forums empower buyers with relevant, actionable information.
The modern-day consumer wants comprehensive, on-demand product intelligence, in terms of data regarding a product’s specifications and price, images and videos, the stores at which it is available, related promotions, shipping information, etc. Fifty seven percent of consumers already make up their mind on the items they will buy before entering a retail store, a 2016 report published by IRI suggests.
As a result, the decision making process at the consumer’s end is undergoing a dramatic change. Conventional linear purchase pathways are making way for individualized funnels where the consideration and evaluation phases get compressed, and in some cases, even eliminated.
How can you respond?
This unprecedented change in consumer behavior requires you to shift from the traditional, “push”-driven, one-size-fits-all marketing paradigm to a buyer-centric, personalized engagement landscape. You need to meet existing and prospective customers where they are in their purchase pathways, as well as on the channels they prefer, and revamp your communication campaigns.
And, adopting a 365 degree customer experience journey mapping approach will help you align marketing initiatives with the new consumer decision journey. Here is how you can get started with consumer mapping:
- Shopper insights: Use data analytics tools to track the behavior of your target audience across various touch points in the purchase pathway, thus deepening your understanding of their motivations, attitudes, and decision making. Unearthing insights on which forums and apps individual buyers visit, how they navigate from one site to another and what search words they type in will let you build compelling buyer profiles for targeted messaging.
- Contextualized marketing: Harness these insights to launch custom-made marketing campaigns across different formats, such as personalized emails and SMS, shelf advertising, in-store sampling, interactive kiosks, social media gaming and location-specific deals. And, based on a real-time analysis of the efficacy of such initiatives, prioritize investments in marketing programs that are delivering the desired ROI.
In conjunction, drive contextual interaction with shoppers by mining behavioral data to figure out their intent, and accordingly pushing tailored deals.
- Digital content: Drive a mindset shift across the organization, from simply buying media online to developing intuitive, digital properties that engage and inform consumers. Such assets, including Web sites, social media groups and mobile apps, can enable you to build significant mindshare, apart from cultivating different buyer communities focused on specific product interests.
For example, by rendering relevant content for the evaluation stage, you will be able to influence an individual shopper, and improve your chances of making it to his / her consideration set. This, in turn, will increase the probability of that buyer promoting your product through word-of-mouth recommendations on social media and other online forums.
Another thing to keep in mind here is the consumer is channel-agnostic. Therefore, you and your partners must provision all the information buyers are looking for about your products, irrespective of the touch point concerned.
- Channel-specific messaging: Roll out dedicated consumer outreach initiatives for different channels–including the Web, mobile, social media, radio, television and print–based on the unique requirements of each medium. And, address specific buyer pain points across each stage of the pathway by delivering relevant communications that reflect their needs.
For you to successfully crack the customer acquisition and retention code in this new buying landscape, a reimagination of your engagement approach with shoppers across touch points will be essential. And, building 365 degree consumer profiles will go a long way in helping you meet that objective, and meet rapidly evolving consumer expectations.