If marketers have one goal, it’s to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions. Historically, those touchpoints were understood through the metaphor of a funnel—but today the path-to-purchase is more complex. Shifting consumer attitudes and multiple connected devices have changed the traditional linear path to resemble more of a maze. The explosion of digital channels, the always-on media ecosystem, and the emergence of an increasingly discerning female consumer is challenging even the savviest marketers who are choosing a marketing strategy.
As recently as a few years ago, a consumer might sit at her desktop to research her next purchase. Today, smartphones have given consumers the ability to learn about products and services at the moment of interest. Often referred to as “mirco-moments,” those “I want to know,” I want to go,” “I want to do,” searches are the first step in the purchase decision journey. Researchers found that 91% of smartphone users look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task—opening the door to marketers at that critical moment of need—and when they do, it’s essential that your brand is on the other side of the door.
Every day female consumers form impressions from brands from ads, branded content, and interactions on social media. How do you want your brand to be perceived? The experience consumers have with your products, and increasingly, the experience other consumers have with your brand will impact their perception, and ultimately, their decision to purchase. The consumer’s voice, whether in reviews on brand websites or social media platforms, is an extremely powerful influence in purchase decisions. In fact, a recent survey found that 67% of consumers say they “always or often” seek recommendations from family and friends when gathering information about a product or brand they are considering and a whopping 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive comments influenced their buying decisions, while 86% said they were influenced by negative online reviews!
Consumers love attention. They want brands to delight, entertain, and engage. Researchers found that 95% of women want brands to actively court them. Marketers have discovered that social platforms are an ideal way to get women talking about and engaging with their brand. Campaigns that uplift, empower, dispel stereotypes, or include an element of humor have been successful in getting women talking about brands. In addition to brand recognition, 52% of women said they bought a brand because they liked the way they portrayed women in their ads.
She knows, trusts, and has interacted with your brand…now she’s ready to buy—and in doing so, she expects a seamless experience. Providing the consumer with an integrated omnichannel experience is essential. Strong performance at this point in her decision journey shifts includes developing strategies such as geo-targeting and messaging tools that customize advertising to the consumer and make easy for her to find your brand. Along the journey, consumers are using their smartphones to compare prices and further research products—82% of consumers say they consult their phones in the store while deciding which product to buy. This provides an opportunity for brands to influence her at the moment of purchase.
When consumers reach a decision at the moment of purchase, the marketer’s work is just beginning. The post-purchase experience shapes her opinion for every subsequent step in the in the journey and it becomes an ongoing cycle. Researchers found that that more than 60% of skin-care consumers go online to conduct further research after the purchase—a touchpoint unimaginable when the purchase funnel was conceived. Although some consumers are brand or product loyalists, the rapid pace of new products in the marketplace requires brands to be increasingly competitive to stay in the loyalty loop. Customer driven marketing through social media, positive reviews, and targeted advertising increases the likelihood that she will remain loyal to your brand.
In today’s crowded marketplace, brands must invest in vehicles that let marketers interact with consumers as they learn about brands and continue the conversation long after their first purchase. Strong performance will require targeted, consumer-focused media strategies, informative content programs, and active social engagement so brands are there when, and where, consumers are ready to buy.
Is your brand struggling to choose a marketing strategy and keep up with consumer purchasing trends? Contact Women's Marketing today to learn how we can put our experience in growing some of the world’s biggest brands to work for you and tap into the buying power of women.