Understanding Consumers

Digital marketing is driven by consumers. You're constantly searching for them, and their behavior - influenced by new technology, devices and other trends - is constantly evolving. You must evolve with them. You don't want to be left scratching your head when, say, all the revenue from your paid search text ads suddenly dries up because the demographic for your products has moved to a social media site like Pinterest to shop. It's the same reason you wouldn't want your entire product catalog on a single marketplace - you don't want to lose your primary revenue stream if something changes. Luckily, most retailers already understand the importance of multichannel e-commerce. What's harder is figuring out how to best allocate advertising budgets among different channels.

Before you can begin selecting which digital marketing channels are best for you, you have to understand how your customers are using them. Put yourself in your customers' shoes by asking some basic questions:

  • How do they spend time online?
  • Do they have a daily online routine?
  • Are they switching between multiple devices?
  • What types of products are they more likely to buy on their phones?
  • How often do they actually make an online purchase?

Marketers often spend so much time thinking about the specifics of the channel - program terms, tactics, sales numbers - that they forget how actual buyers interact with that channel.

Understanding Demand Types

Consumers are obviously not all the same, and their demand type (or state) reflects how you should target them. Sometimes they're actively searching for products like yours. In that case, you need to target them while they're interested. But most times, those consumers aren't spending their online time actively shopping for products. In fact, according to one US study, people spend only about 9% of their time online researching and shopping for products.

Depending on what consumers are doing online, you'll need to target them differently. Often, you'll need to entice them back into the shopping process. It's the difference between latent demand and intentional demand that will help determine your channel mix.

Latent demand channels reach consumers who have shown some previous interest in a product or type of product but aren't actively searching at the moment. From an advertiser's perspective, these channels help keep your products top of mind until the shopper is ready to make a purchase. Additionally, it may be your ad that gives them the incentive, or push, they need to finally make a purchase. Learn more about latent demand channels.

If latent demand reflects consumers who may be "in the market" for a product, then consumers with intentional demand are in the store and ready to make a purchase. Intentional demand channels reach consumers who have made a decision, or will be making one in the very near future, and are ready to buy. During this critical stage, these types of shoppers may be more receptive to advertising and products being placed in front of them. So it's critical that you're being seen at the point of sale. Learn more about intentional demand channels.

Because consumers are constantly moving through the different purchase stages, we recommend using a combination of latent and intentional demand channels. Some retailers mistakenly believe that dollars allocated to one category are competing with those in the other. In reality, latent and intentional demand channels are complementary, and incorporating a blend of both ensures that your products are visible when you need them to be.

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