David Edelman: We’ve done a fair amount of research in terms of how consumers are really shopping now in the digital, mobile, social age, and also looked from the other side at marketers who are more effective in engaging those customers. How are they thinking about marketing spend? And we’ve come up with a different framework. It’s not rocket science, but it’s very different than the traditional way that marketing strategy has been taught over the years.
The traditional marketing funnel has been around for a very long time. It is literally a funnel shape. It starts with saying the consumer is aware of a brand, it considers a brand, it becomes more familiar with a brand, and that leads to a purchase. And some more sophisticated versions of the funnel take it one more step and says, and if they like it they’ll repurchase. It's a very linear process. It assumes the literal shape of the funnel is reductive in that in the consumer’s mind they start with more brands and then they reduce it down to the one that they’re going to buy. And it’s also an image of the marketer kind of pushing the customer down through that funnel.
And as we’ve done our research, we just haven't found that that's true. I don't know if it ever was true because we haven’t done research going back in time. But certainly now with the way digital, mobile and social allows somebody to learn so much more about a category, find out about their options, find out about the facts, the dynamic of somebody shopping is just different. And we call it the “consumer decision journey.” It’s basically a cycle; it’s iterative and it starts with the consumer actually considering that they might be in the market for a good. First off, the process isn’t linear; it's very iterative and in almost every product category you are heavily influenced by your past experience, which immediately says that one of the most important aspects of marketing is in the experience that your existing customers have.
The second is that its brands are coming in and out. It's not a reductive process. And so there are opportunities to get in to somebody’s consideration set when they’re, for instance, in the evaluation stage, which may not have been as possible before, so that if somebody’s online they may see great reviews about your product and they may not even know that your product existed. They may see rankings, people ranking top ten of this or that and your product is there and they didn’t know about it. So there’s opportunities, even if you don’t spend massively on brand advertising, you can find ways especially based on what’s happening online, and especially through things like social media and reviews to get into somebody’s consideration set without having to spend massively on brand.
And then the third thing is that that experience that I talked about goes beyond the product itself. And what digital allows you to do is at extremely low variable cost, because it’s done digitally, you can interact with people. You have to create the experience but it doesn’t cost you a lot to post things individually on a Facebook page or to update a website. Or even to send out emails, the marginal cost is quite low.
And so digital gives you all these new ways to enhance and expand the experience of your brand. So for a marketer there’s, oh, my God, all these different ways I can spend money, and it’s through this whole journey.
Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd