While we currently face an uncertain and challenging economic landscape, it’s important to remember that the situation is finite and we will come out of the other side. To help you prepare for the future, our experts are delivering a range of training initiatives in order to help you plan ahead. The first webinar of our virtual learning series – The Customer Loop – came from Incubeta’s Director of Strategy, Damien Bennett and looks a different way of understanding the customer journey.
Spending on digital channels has increased exponentially over the last five years and is expected to continue. Digital advertising spend in the UK between 2014 and 2019 increased by 108% to $19.2bn. 46% of that spend was on search marketing. Historically, these kinds of channels have been closely associated with performance marketing – activity that is specifically geared at driving sales. More traditional channels, such as TV and OOH, are instead typically used to raise awareness.
In addition to the growth in digital spending, consumer behaviour has changed rapidly, with shifts towards video, mobile, audio and voice content; but despite new avenues being opened up to us, many aspects of digital marketing, such as the measurement of performance, haven’t caught up.
The New Digital Playbook
The game has changed, and so must our approach. We must create a new digital playbook to allow us to navigate this space. We see this playbook being broken into three sections:
Move the boundaries
Refocus on creative
Measure beyond sales
Move the Boundaries
The first part of this playbook is to change the way we think about digital advertising, shifting away from its perception as just a performance driver. To do this, we can start applying a new way of visualising the consumer journey: the Customer Loop.
While many of us are used to the customer funnel, there are certain limits to its portrayal of the customer journey. We now understand that the path to purchase is often not linear, and this doesn’t account for impulse purchases. On top of this, it’s clear that there is value in advertising to both in- and out-of-market audiences. Very few people will be in-market for a new car, but it’s incredibly important to raise awareness with audience who are out of market so that when they’re ready to consider their purchasing options, you’re front of mind.
The customer journey is instead an infinite loop of exploration and consideration until the moment of decision. Users swing from passive to interested to active, and this visualisation demonstrates that it’s just as important to target passive audiences as it is your interested and active ones.
There is also a need to go beyond online in our measurement strategies. Many marketing strategies have an omnichannel approach, and so reporting also has to consider how digital activity has impacted not only online sales, but overall performance.
And finally, in our constantly-evolving world of digital advertising, we must continue to test, to adapt, and to adopt. Voice search is still expected to be a big disruptor in the space, meaning that advertisers will need to remain on top of those trends to be able to adapt as necessary.
Refocus on Creative
When developing creatives for display and paid social, many marketers will repurpose assets from their TV or OOH campaigns. This is a practice that really needs to change, as users interact with digital ads differently to traditional channel. So, using a traditional creative for a digital ad placement with a digital audience is unlikely to be successful.
There are more tools at our disposal with digital creatives, with a whole range of placements aside from the big 5 able to help us bring our creatives to life. We have more opportunities to layer in personalisation and make the ads interactive, so building from a digital-first mindset requires us to utilise every tool at our disposal.
Speaking of personalisation, while it’s a very useful tactic for advertisers, there are times when it will be more valuable to be consistent and use the overarching brand design. Striking a balance here will be crucial when it comes to developing an effective creative strategy.
Measure Beyond Sales
As marketers move their traditional advertising budgets towards digital, it’s important that we don’t discard traditional marketing measurement models. Reach, Brand recall and Share of Voice still have a lot of value and are still really relevant for our purposes.
A mistake that we tend to see is that brands embark on a digital strategy without an idea of their overall objective. This often means that the KPI for the campaign incorrectly becomes sales. Setting and being aware of your objective from the outset will help you to develop a KPI which is relevant to your overall goals.
Ultimately, the big goal here should be to tell compelling stories, and not just to our audiences. We should be able to accurately and effectively portray to other stakeholders what the purpose of our campaign was, how we achieved that, and why is was (or wasn’t) successful.
The Customer Loop was the first webinar in our Virtual Learning Series. Over the next 10 weeks, we will be hosting weekly webinars and a series of virtual classroom courses.