Driving Growth in Highly Competitive Markets
When consumers are making a decision on a specific product to buy, like a baby stroller, smartphone or insurance, for example, they undergo a complex journey — searching websites for information, gathering opinions on user forums and opinion sites, and scrolling through social media for experiences others have had with a brand. In today’s increasingly competitive shopping environment, this represents a crowded and convoluted path-to-purchase for brands trying to capture shoppers’ interest.
Adding to that, marketplaces like Amazon.com provide a low barrier to entry, further diluting the consumer journey. This is further compounded by the fact that many large brands have marketing budgets tied to clear key performance indicators — but struggle with how to hit those performance metrics and stay within their budgets.
So, with all of these challenges, how can a brand stand out while focusing and maximizing marketing resources? If it can “divert” consumers’ attention at the right moment on their journey — placing itself front and center as the best choice over a competitor’s — it significantly increases its chances of closing a sale.
Here are three recommendations of how brands can achieve this:
Early Funnel Purchase Attribution
One of the best ways is to secure consumers’ interest at the beginning of their journeys, far before they make a decision on what to buy. This requires visibility into the initial motivators that are leading consumers to enter the path-to-purchase and the ability to tie them to the end conversion. With the knowledge of early funnel activities that are responsible for driving sales, including consumers’ behaviors, patterns and trigger points, brands can intervene at the right stage with information consumers need to have. Doing so can shorten the time from intent to action and maximize the return on investment of marketing dollars.
Brands need to shift the marketing paradigm from reactive to proactive to prescriptive. This means moving from reactive monitoring of competitive and market data to leveraging tools like real-time, artificial intelligence-driven analytics that can proactively predict outcomes and prescribe actions to take. With these recommendations, brands are able to determine what they need to do to drive ROI — both increasing conversions and reducing acquisition costs.
Encompass All Data Sets
Some data sets are easily accessible. However, brands need to ensure they're looking at everything available. This will become even more challenging as third-party cookies are eliminated. Given this, brands should seek solutions that can evaluate all data sources, including unstructured data like browsing activity on mobile and desktop, social activity, etc. With this knowledge, they will have a complete picture of shoppers and can nurture leads in a highly targeted way, reducing the chance they will interact — and ultimately convert — with a competitor.
What Might This Look Like?
Using analytics that address what consumers do early in their shopping journeys for appliances and consumer electronics, for example, a brand is able to determine that new homeowners who are in the process of purchasing refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and TVs for their homes have an overall purchase journey of 5.1 weeks on average for these purchases, with an average of 97 interactions across multiple touchpoints. These purchases typically take place two weeks to four weeks after taking a mortgage and purchasing insurance for the new house.
Specifically, brands that are active on Toptenreviews.com (617,000 monthly visitors), Reviewed.com (1.4 million monthly visitors) and Kitchenauthority.net (50,000 monthly visitors), among others, are able to sell three times more products to this segment on Amazon, in comparison to brands that aren't active on these trigger points as part of the digital path-to-purchase.
Without the insights generated from analytics, brands would miss out on this opportunity to nurture these prospective customers early in the funnel. With a complete picture of consumers’ journeys, particularly in relation to competitors, brands can focus their marketing efforts to not only increase sales and conversions, but also to reduce the cost of acquisition, identify untapped segments, and reduce dropouts and abandonments.
With the above recommendations, brands can gain visibility into common behaviors and trigger points that drive conversions for competitors so they can best focus their marketing investments to drive sales for their business. With a holistic picture of where consumers turn to competitors for their purchase decision, brands can change the trajectory in their favor.
Danielle Michaely is the co-founder and chief revenue officer at Konnecto, a go-to-market intelligence platform that provides consumer brands with an ongoing blueprint of opportunities to increase online sales and improve marketing ROI significantly.