Nowadays, many of the companies are engaging in digital marketing in a confused way, like throwing stones in the dark. It's not about chasing acquisitions; rather it's all about attracting human beings, engaging as well as converting them. Also it's not always about broadcasting, most of the time we should focus on how the products are solving the problems of people.
Learning and understanding the difference between 'chasing customers' and 'attracting customers' is the key. Either you understand or you don't. It's a binary process. Understanding how inbound marketing works and how it's different from outbound marketing is very much necessary. Selling a product online is becoming more difficult with each passing day. We have to understand how customers behave in digital space and how they react towards purchasing anything online.
The way I see digital marketing is that it's an ocean. Yes, it's an ocean. Many of the companies think one individual digital marketing expert can manage all the digital activities of an organisation which is absolutely wrong. If you want to succeed you have to think about the entire journey of a customer and therefore you need to shape the path even before the customers step into it. That's why it's always a separate, dedicated and agile teamwork.
I want to talk about a few things regarding certain processes as well as how to establish the content marketing framework to turn the practice of 'chasing customers' into the strategy of 'attracting customers' online in 2021.
You cannot ignore content marketing and should utilise it to put contents in appropriate places. Contents vary in terms of objectives, demographics, markets and industries. I want to show some basic ways of creating and placing contents so that eventually potential customers will not be attracted to the brand.
For that, we need to talk about the SAVE framework. SAVE framework is a shift from the traditional 4Ps of marketing model or marketing mix. This framework was developed in HBR Studies by Richard Ettenson, Eduardo Conrado and Jonathan Knowles back in 2013. I would like to demonstrate how this framework can successfully determine a pathway to take decisions for making contents.
Brands today can not only react to customers as they make purchasing decisions but also actively shape and customise their decisions. And content marketing plays a big role alongside technologies, Companies that do this well can radically compress the consideration and evaluation phases and in some cases even eliminate them during the purchase process and catapult a consumer right to the loyalty phase of the relationship. The journey itself is becoming the defining source of competitive advantage.
If we analyse 'customer decision journey' we get various aspects of attributes and touch points which include awareness, consideration and eventual decision making stages. If we slice further and try to understand consumer decision journey we need to analyze mental model of marketing where we see from stimulus to zero moment of truth (ZMOT) to first (FMOT) to finally, second moment of truth (SMOT). For all these touch points we have to provide and develop contents. Incorporating SAVE model while developing contents will make the content categorizing process easy and effective for the awareness stage of the buyer's journey.
Contents that provide 'solutions'
Consumers get triggered as soon as they discover their problem and then various considerations are formulated. They start their evaluation process trying to figure out what will solve their problems which is the 'zero moment of truth' according to the mental model of marketing.
Contents play the most important role here. The suggested solutions that can solve the consumer's problems will lead them towards the bottom of the funnel and eventually help them to use a particular brand's products. Contents play a significant part here by identifying the customers' problems and showing how brand's products are there to solve their problems.
Access (360 -Contents visibility):
Companies with great contents can convert certain target groups to customers and increase their brand affinity. Strong and strategic online presence also ensures the access of brands. Contents that are designed and customized based on different platforms are likely to work more efficiently as well which includes visibility of the contents to different social media or any other channels of brand-customers relationship.
Value (More Value, More Price):
Customers are mostly concerned about product price, but when they are well aware of the value of the content they are provided with, they trust the brand and product. Online contents should preach similar beliefs to the audience and customers solidifying the trust. Once the value is there, customers are ready to purchase products even at a higher price.
Education (Educate, Educate and Educate!):
Promotion can be replaced with education! It's common that customers hate promotional messages and advertisements. But when they are learning about new things and acquiring knowledge they had no prior idea about, they love it. Brand authority in a customer's mind shifts upward. Trust and bond becomes stronger.
Providing the information they want to know and have interests in, can be the ultimate key to drive them towards the process of becoming a customer (From Lead, then to MQL to SQL to opportunities and finally a customer).
Educate the audience/customers with the contents that share their interests, It is a proven, powerful and successful method of content marketing.
The graph above is a visual representation of how a potential customer comes onboard while searching for a solution to his/her problem and gets introduced to the products of a particular brand. Also it shows how a brand can attract customers in every stage of their journey to a solution, eventually making them be a part of the loyalty loop by ensuring satisfactory service and experience.
In digital marketing, teamwork is the ultimate game changer. Everyone, individually, knows something and specialises in something. If everyone collaborates with each other, then the possibilities are limitless. Therefore, a successful digital marketing achievement comes from good teamwork.
Sheikh Shafi Mahmud works as Manager of Digital & Analytics at ACI Logistics Ltd. Also he is the co-founder, Music Composer & Producer at Apeiruss. He can be reached at [email protected] / [email protected]
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.