Sometimes I have to check my calendar to make sure that the year is 2012 and not 1982. We have gathered so much evidence in the past 12-24 months about how technology, connectivity, and information are changing consumer behavior; however, so many people are stuck in the past. They behave and act as if the Google and Apple never existed.
The world has changed as we know it.
Back in the day, the consumer decision journey was relatively short. Consumers would watch TV, see a commercial, and then go to their nearest brick and mortar store or mall to make a purchase. Now, consumers research everything before stepping out the door. My favorite example is the user who is downloads a free app for on a smartphone, and ends up reading anywhere from 3-4 reviews. Why? Because the information is free, easily accessible, and we are trained to make everything a considered purchase.
We have all become “super-consumers.” Armed with a smartphone, we can swiftly access reviews, comparison shopping data, blogs, and product details with newly nimble fingers. We hold the cards and we know where and when to buy something to maximize the amount of money we save or at least get what we consider “a deal.”
However, there are still companies that pretend this isn’t consumer behavior. They ignore that the majority of consumers are connected to information both before and while “in market.” While companies are still great at creating demand and stimulating a desire for products, they fail to realize that the story does not end there. The journey continues into the digital world, and if they don’t match their offline media buy with a properly executed and fully funded digital buy, then they will not capture demand.
But you know who will? Yes, your competitors will. Consumers will still purchase that shiny object that they now believe is needed. If you are not there, then you will be doing your competitors the biggest favor ever. You are stimulating consumers, who will buy elsewhere because someone else shows up in paid and organic searches, in comparison shopping engines, in blogs, and in reviews. Your competitors will provide YOUR consumers with the information they are seeking and they will be rewarded.
The odd part of all is that the amount of money invested in search is relatively small compared to the huge investment these advertisers make in producing television commercials and buying spots. So next time you take out your iPhone to google some information when you are “in-market,” just remember that your super-consumers are doing the very same thing and ask yourself three questions:
- Why am I searching for this information?
- Was the information I found helpful?
- Did it influence my final purchase?
If the answer to all three things is “yes,” then ask yourself if you would purchase from that company had they not shown in the search results.