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January 28, 2020
CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR IS THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING

I have always found it extra-ordinary when businesses allocate responsibility for their website to the IT department – as many still do. No matter how good the IT team are, it is not at all clear to me what they know about marketing and communication. The idea that great website development or indeed digital marketing in general is all about technology is not only wrong it is dangerous.

Just as it is absurd to leave the strategy behind, the copy in, the photography and the design of your brochures to a man with a printing machine, so it is absurd to leave your digital marketing to a programmer. Certainly, your digital marketing might involve an element of programming – but so too your brochure required printing. The key to effective digital marketing is not programming.

Effective and cost-efficient digital marketing requires a sound strategy based on an excellent understanding of the business, its products and the audiences being targeted. None of this requires programming. An optimal website is well designed, well written, functional and in line with your brand. None of this requires programming. Digital marketing more generally is much the same.

One of the critical determinants of the success of a digital marketing strategy involves the extent to which consumer behaviour has been taken into account in developing the strategy and in addressing the implementation of that strategy.‘Consumer behaviour is the study of how people make decisions about what they buy, want, need, or act in regards to a product, service, or company.’

Types of consumer behaviour most relevant to digital marketing include:

  • Programmed or routine behaviour – or fast thinking largely in the brain stem
  • Buying products occasionally with limited thought – possibly in the limbic system
  • Complex and involved decision making – or slow thinking in the neo-cortex
  • Impulsive behaviour or buying – mostly fast thinking in the brain stem

Strategies and the execution of strategies needs to directly address the relevant type of thinking.

There is a range of factors impacting on consumer behaviour in the digital environment, including:

  • External factors – including demographic, socio-economic and public policy.
  • Internal factors – including psychological, personal and social
  • Functional motives – including to real and perceived customer needs and wants.
  • Non-functional motives – including culture, social values and branding.

All of the factors impacting consumer decision making should be considered in planning

Of particular importance are the three internal factors:

  • Psychological factors – including thought processes and the capacity to learn.
  • Personal factors – including attitudes, unique habits, interests and opinions.
  • Social factors – including family, social interaction, work or school communities.

Understanding the primary target audiences and the factors determining behaviour is essential.

Understanding how a group of, or indeed an individual consumer will naturally behave is central to maximising the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign. Equally important is understanding the effect that different digital marketing strategies and tactics can have on consumer behaviour. In the end, all marketing is about managing human behaviour – which in turn is all about psychology.

Take a moment to consider these questions:

  • What media do members of your target audience use and for what purposes?
  • How much time is your target audience allocating to various media?
  • How quickly will your audience members devote to understanding a message?
  • What will cause your audience members not to click SKIP ADV?
  • To what extent does your audience trust messages and which ones do they trust?
  • What percentage of your target audience is using adblockers?
  • What is the propensity of your audience to engage with ‘native advertising’?
  • To what extent is advertising frequency impacting on your brand?
  • How much time will members of your audience spend on a web page?
  • What social factors, beyond your control are impacting on behaviour?
  • Why do people say they read your newsletter and website, when they don’t?
  • How large is the gap between what you believe intuitively and the truth?

There are many more such questions that might be relevant to the success or otherwise of your digital marketing. These questions and many others like them serve to highlight the complexities in marketing – and the fact that good programming and great creations are rarely enough to deliver optimal results. Great digital marketing requires getting into the brain of the target audience.

Understand the target audience and you will be well on the way to making your digital marketing more effective and much more cost-effective. Consumer insights can identify both pitfalls and opportunities that can be addressed in marketing strategies. The chances are IT people will not have this knowledge, highlighting the potential for consulting those who do.

This is a fascinating area and in many respects the new frontier of marketing. Email us if you want more information.


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