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Multiple channels, multiple devices

These days customers access multiple devices (tablet, smartphone and computers) before making a purchase decision.

It is important for marketers to recognise that various marketing channels such as email marketing, social media, search, banner advertising and websites each play a unique role in the purchasing process. This varies by industry (financial, automobile, FMCG, etc.) and for global brands, these roles also vary by market, i.e. developed or emerging.

Once a customer’s need is identified, they can be influenced on multiple devices through various channels as they move through from awareness, to consideration, to intent to final decision.

The Google effect

Google has released some insights based on Q4 2012 data from Google Analytics (GA) that helps us to understand the customer journey in order to improve our marketing campaigns. This study was based on transactional data collected from 36 000 GA accounts with ecommerce tracking across 7 countries. Since South Africa is not included in this study we use the United Kingdom (UK) as our benchmark as our customer behaviour tends to be similar to the UK.

A couple of considerations:

  • What are your ‘assist’ channels (these help the customer to focus on a particular brand or product benefit);
  • What are your ‘last interaction’ channels;
  • How many days to purchase;
  • How many steps to purchase.

The length of the customer journey, in both number of days and number of interactions, varies widely depending on the type of purchase. Some decisions require substantial research, while others are made very quickly. Typically, more complex purchases lead to longer paths and larger purchase values.  Google

For example, the time and steps involved when making a decision to purchase a technology product will differ from a car purchase; furthermore, a car purchase made in Japan will differ from a similar purchase in France because different cultural and economic factors come into play.

The challenge for business is to:

  1. Know which channels play an “assist” role;
  2. Identify the “last interaction” touch point before a purchase decision is made;
  3. Recognise that this journey will be different for different product types.

When embarking on a marketing campaign with limited budget, it becomes critical to prioritise and to focus on those channels that speak loudly to the potential customer.

For example, a Canadian who wants to make a retail purchase will be assisted by the following channels: email, display click (banner advertising) and social media; whereas organic search and a direct interaction on the website will act more as a last interaction (confirmation) before a decision is made.

A guiding influence

In summary, each customer journey is unique and these insights provides a starting point so we can be more strategic about our marketing decisions. We need to recognise the important role of our digital marketing channels  in communicating our brand benefits to the online customer, and that marketers need to fully deploy these channels with a view to guiding the customer’s buying decision.

Email info@contentum.co.za and we will gladly assist you in building your online presence across your digital platforms to reach your online customer.