CRM: Tools of the Trade
Consumer marketers have controlled the conversation for so long that it is hard to fathom that today's complex communications landscape—with direct mail, email, mobile, search and social media—can influence the target more than campaign gross rating points.
Consumers now seek content and advice on their own, mirroring traditional long-cycle B-to-B decision experiences. B-to-C marketers could learn a lot about how to nurture those leads—as well as create valuable content and word-of-mouth—from their B-to-B counterparts.
1. Be Present During Evaluation
Even in today's new era of marketing, you should not assume that a brand with high awareness that is already under consideration will always remain that way. Consumer brands need to identify when various audience segments scratch them off the shopping list to help pinpoint when and where marketing needs to play a stronger role in nurturing.
In the 2009 report "The consumer decision journey," McKinsey & Company uncovered that the number of brands under consideration during the active-evaluation phase may now actually expand rather than narrow as consumers seek information and shop a category. Brands may "interrupt" the decision-making process by entering into the consideration set and possibly even pushing out rivals. This change in behavior creates tremendous opportunities for marketers by allowing them to add touchpoints at key times when brands can sway and influence decisions.
2. The New Decision-Making
Brands need to explore and evaluate how their consumers are investigating and making purchase decisions differently today. It's not uncommon for consumers to be prompted to consider a product or service by someone they follow on Twitter or by search results, blogs or Facebook friends. And it's not uncommon for them to be convinced by a video or podcast.
B-to-B marketers have historically spent a lot of time understanding how purchase decisions are made and have aligned content creation and targeted marketing activities to move prospects through that sales process. Consumer marketers also can benefit from a thorough assessment of the new ways their audiences shop their categories. Only by understanding how consumers arrive at a purchase can B-to-C marketers identify where they need to provide nurturing touchpoints to encourage movement down the path to a sale.