A funny thing happened on the path to purchase last year – it disappeared. The emergence of the SoLoMo consumer – socially enabled, location-aware, and mobile-device-connected – has turned the path to purchase into a minefield. The marketing funnel is no longer linear – it’s a convoluted mess that changes with every new Pinterest, Path, Shopkick, or Perch. Durable goods brands can create and sustain a differentiated presence by better understanding these consumer behaviors and purchase drivers:
People relate to brands on their own terms
“Don’t tell me, don’t show me, engage me” has become a prevailing consumer mantra, played out millions of times a day in social media and in customer service centers around the world. Consumers, not brands, are in control of the retail experience and the relationships they have with brands. To compete, brands must create interesting, intriguing content. Understand how people want to connect and engage with your brand. Enable people to share content with your brand and their social networks – and nurture these interactions into conversations and relationships based on what people want.
Customers want to interact with smart, engaging, enabled sales associates
While we love digital devices and experiences, sales associates still determine showroom floor success. Training them for enabled, empowered shoppers, however, is painstakingly complex and expensive. Unless they take the Apple or Nike retail route and invest in direct-to-consumer models, durable goods brands have no choice but to rely on sales staff and a consumer touch point model that is outdated, outmoded, and unlikely to produce brand and product differentiation.
Consumers want one brand voice
Brands and retailers compete for share of voice between and within an increasing array of owned, earned, and hybrid marketing channels and digital touch points. Brands that don’t coordinate between their own product or service silos don’t always sync customer data, which leads to clumsy outreach. The challenge here is that people actually want a simple relationship with a single entity. Brands seeking engagement and influence must invest in great storytelling, and the publishing infrastructure that enables great stories in any environment.