It sucks when you spend months strategizing, planning, executing, and paying for big marketing pushes only to watch them flat short. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. The only certainty is that things never go quite according to your plan.
The world we live in moves quickly, and customer behavior has changed. To survive and thrive as a business, you must be growing digital marketing around customer behavior.
Human behavior is changing when it comes to buying decisions.
As humans, our behaviors are constantly changing as a result of our surroundings. The world we live in allows for rapid research and information gathering, organic conversations, and ever-evolving use of technology. These factors are affecting the way people make buying decisions. Successful businesses use digital marketing to leverage these varying behaviors in their favor, creating meaningful relationships with customers and increasing their bottom line.
Research before buying is becoming more common.
The volume of information available online allows everyone to become very well-informed about, well, everything. When an individual has a problem or need, they almost always begin with an online search for solutions. They may ask peers’ opinions or look at online reviews to further understand their options and form opinions of their own. After careful consideration, a decision is made and action is taken (which means they will buy your product, or maybe your competitor’s...).
This evaluation process takes place very quickly and has become the status quo for buying behavior. The ability to vett options with a fine-toothed comb has turned us all into avid, inquisitive, and information-hungry researchers. Rapid evaluation means that we need to be in the right place at the right time when prospects come a-calling. Staying relevant, consistent, and informative through digital marketing is the best way to stay on the consumer radar.
Carry the organic conversation with your customers.
Consumers hear everything about everything on social media. This should absolutely include you and your company. What kind of conversation is taking place? Is it positive? Negative? Is your brand a ghost online? Social media marketing is a great way to start fluid, organic conversations with your audience. People talk fast and lose interest even faster. To stay on the top of people’s minds means that you need to be consistently feeding the conversation through your marketing efforts.
You must meet your customers in their arena on and offline, where they are most comfortable. Give your customers the information, data, and content they need to have conversations about you, with you, and with others. Your digital marketing needs to carry the conversation, otherwise consumers will control the conversation for you. Starting a conversation via a social media platform doesn’t need to be any more complicated than starting one in person.
Rest assured, people will control what’s being said about your brand if you let them. Take a look at the social media activity revolving around the restaurant Cracker Barrel recently. The story begins in February of 2017 at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Indiana, after one of their employees was let go. The employee’s husband vented his feelings on the restaurant’s Facebook page, demanding reasoning for the firing (which happened to land on his birthday). Unfortunately, rather than responding to the irate husband, Cracker Barrel continued to post as though nothing was amiss. Bad decision. After being ignored by the restaurant, the disgruntled man went on to other social media pages to spread his displeasure. This included posting on a well-known comedian’s page, who then picked up the story and sent it out to his massive following. As a result of their negligence, Cracker Barrel has now experienced a viral onslaught of negative comments and messages demanding retribution for the ex-employee and her husband. If Cracker Barrel had only responded to this man’s concerns quickly and diligently, they may have avoided this fiasco. They didn’t do a good job of carrying an organic conversation with their users, and their reputation suffered.
Understand your audience is made up of individuals with very specific desires, goals, and needs that change over time. Centering the conversation around these desires, goals, and needs will ensure you develop a meaningful relationship with your audience.
Grow your messaging alongside technology.
Humans’ use of technology is growing exponentially. The tools we have available are staggering, and they are affecting how people interact with your business. New technology means new ways of doing business and engaging with customers. People expect solutions to be fast, easy-to-use, and elegantly designed. While you don’t need to be the next technology pioneer, you do need to be aware of the changes taking place in your market. Your customers are always looking for the next best tool or communication channel relating to your product or service, as should you. Don’t allow yourself to be left in the dust when it comes to newer and better things. Constantly grow your understanding of technology in your marketplace and you’ll be able to spot opportunities and leverage them for your business.
Take, for example, the Burger King advertisement that aired earlier this year: Rather than explaining to the audience why customers should choose Burger King, the ad simply states that 15 seconds isn’t enough time to articulate how great their Whopper burger is. Instead, the spokesperson asks, “Ok Google, what is the Whopper Burger?” and the commercial ends. To many viewers, this was an abrupt end to the ad. For those who own a Google Home or other in-home devices, the ad kept going. Not on their TVs or laptops, but in their living rooms.
The Burger King spokesperson’s words triggered a question in the in-home device, and the device proceeded to search the internet and voice the definition of a Whopper burger. In less than 30 seconds, Burger King transcended their message through digital and physical space using the latest technology consumers have available. By staying up with current trends and available technology, the burger brand was able to seize a unique opportunity to reach their customers.
Embrace ever-evolving technology as tool to engage with your audience. Keeping an open mind, actively seeking innovative ideas, and having the flexibility to implement them allows you to take advantage of opportunities in real-time.
Adapt, Iterate, and Grow.
Businesses can easily struggle or fail because they ignore the changes in their environment. Rapid information gathering, organic conversations, and growing technology are all changing human buying behavior and how people interact with your business. The most successful brands today are the ones that embrace these changes and leverage them in their favor through digital marketing. By adapting to the ever-evolving environment, you’ll develop alongside your customers rather than trailing behind, and be ready for anything the marketplace throws at you.