Deploying digital strategies can help the marketing teams expand the audience base simply by selecting the right demographics. Source: Shutterstock

Deploying digital strategies can help the marketing teams expand the audience base simply by selecting the right demographics. Source: Shutterstock

The strategic role of digital marketing in improving the buyer journey

MARKETING analysts suggest that consumers who research online and purchase offline spend 36 percent more than those who do not do online research.

This is the result of businesses that are able to capture their consumers on digital platforms. Not only are they able to educate and engage with them but they’re also to gain actionable insights into their consumer behavior for more opportunities.

Today’s consumer journey is more dynamic than ever with digital formats being integrated along the way, which gives marketers many touch points to influence consumer decisions.

Well-informed consumers, in turn, will have more confidence in brands that they find the most compatible with their needs, resulting in the impressive ROPO (research online, purchase offline) statistic.

After all, Calvin Klein CMO Marie Gulin-Merle did say that “50 percent of sales are digitally influenced” and reiterated that this statistic applies to all industries.

Keeping up with consumers

Marketing is moving away from TV commercials and print simply because those places are not where the eyeballs are anymore.

To continually keep up to date with consumers in this digital age, businesses will need to be digital-savvy too.

That is exactly what the New York Times did in 2011 as its consumers switched from burying their noses into newspapers to getting glued to their smartphones.

The company is one of the few pre-digital brands that successfully transformed its business structure to suit the rise of digital. As a result, the publication now has 4.3 million paying subscribers.

Timeliness of the move also helped customers better connect with the brand.

Moving marketing efforts to where it is relevant to consumers simply means being able to continually reach out to them and bolster the ‘buying’ process.

Don’t just get data, get closer

One of the most exciting things that digital marketing brings to the boardroom is insights backed by customer data — insights that can really influence the consumer journey in a significant manner.

For instance, Walmart uses data insights from the back-end to improve the experience it provides to consumers.

So, the retail brand maximizes the potential of marketing technology in the ROPO concept by allowing consumers to not only use the Walmart mobile app to check prices and stock availability but also to locate items in-store.

Consumers can add up the cost of their shopping lists before they are physically present at the store.

When they are there, they can simply interact with the app’s ‘store assistant’ that will guide them to the right aisles.

As consumers grow to become more informed in the digital era, businesses will no longer ‘sell’ but flex marketing tactics that boost the ‘buying’ process instead.

Every touch point along the consumer journey is an opportunity for marketers to influence consumer decision.

Classically, marketing’s goal is to reach consumers at the time that most influence their decisions — before the point of purchase.

However, today’s consumer decision journey is neither linear nor circular, which goes to show that the market is exponentially more competitive and has lower barriers to entry.

It is like an infinity band, really, where businesses need to constantly empower their consumers at strategic touch points, from discovery to post-purchase, to draw them in and keep them engaged.