Being present at the moment of truth - integrated marketing strategy in 2018

“80% of success is showing up” as Woody Allen once said and there’s definitely an element of truth to this when it comes to digital marketing.

After all, you can’t expect to succeed in the era of assistance and be considered a helpful brand partner to consumers if you’re not present in the moments they need you most, whether they know it at the time or not.

Let me explain with an example.

I was recently looking for a birthday gift for a family member (my wee mum) and was stumped so began doing a few searches for the kinds of things I thought she might like (handbags, homeware, plants etc – standard “mum” stuff really!).

A couple of days later, my girlfriend suggested looking at Radley handbags (whom I’d found previously through search but forgotten about), even better, they were promoting a summer sale! Now, this was more down to chance, but had I been re-targeted with a Social Display ad for Radley while browsing Instagram or Facebook, the same effect would have been achieved. Especially with a sale incentive. This would be a definite area of opportunity for Radley.

Anyway, this took my journey to their site where I looked at a few options and narrowed down my choices based on specifications such as colour, size, material and style. After doing some checks on reviews, finally, advised by my better half, I made a purchase and selected gift wrapping. Job done – ascendancy to favoured son secured.

The gift arrived in a neatly packaged box, “fragile” stickers all over and inside, an incredible gift box containing the bag, which itself was within a branded dust bag – in short, top notch packaging that added to the luxury experience. So much so, friends and family took pictures of both bag and box and posted to social media while promising to look for a product of their own from the brand.

Now, I know the sum total of zero about handbags, but I do know this was a great customer experience with a journey from obvious incentive (the sale) to happy customer and beyond.

However, the journey could be even more effective for Radley with more strategic marketing using retargeting. They could also do a lot more to get bloggers on board and encourage reviews to help make more of the positives of the customer experience to improve consideration and conversion.

This kind of journey is now pretty common for most when making purchasing decisions. In fact Google data has shown that no decision is too big or small for consumers to search for information throughout their decision making journey. But it can be complex for marketers to target effectively due to the number of touch points. Small wonder then that 39% of global marketers say that improved understanding of, and reaching the right customers is most important for achieving their marketing goals in the next 3 years .

Mapping the customer journey

In 2011 Google coined the term Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) to describe journeys like this and the way consumers were searching for information online and making decisions about brands. Since then, the Moments of Truth have continued to grow in importance and thinking around them has continued to evolve.

In 2018 it’s possible to model out 5 key stages in consumer behaviour and how marketing activity fits around these:

Stimulus – the prompt for action

  • TV ads, Print Ads, Radio, Outdoor, Digital Display, Social Media
  • For me – the social display ad

Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) – the beginning of researching

  • Search, Comparison & Review Sites, Product & Retailer sites, Brochures & Specs
  • For me – review sites and videos on YouTube

First Moment of Truth (FMOT) – consideration of a product or service

  • Ecommerce, In-store Promotion & Positioning
  • For me – reviewing products on brand site, encouraged by sale offer

Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) – experience of the product or service purchased

  • FAQs, Guides, Software Updates & Upgrades, Customer Service
  • For me – the great packaging experience

Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT) – converting experience into discoverable content (reviews, recommendations, referral etc)

  • Blogs, Forums, Review sites, Social Media
  • For me – friends and family posting positive brand content to social media

To be successful in 2018 and beyond, brands need to aim to be present throughout this cycle with their audiences. Most marketers focus on the Stimulus, ZMOT and to a lesser extent UMOT. However marketing activity can (and ideally should) consider and cover the full cycle. Especially where repeat custom is important, as it is for most businesses.

This doesn’t just apply for retail marketing experiences, but all marketing. People have become research obsessed, even about the most seemingly trivial topics. Google data again supports this with over 80% increase in “best” mobile searches in the past 2 years, including topics ranging from bank accounts to toothbrushes. Again, showing no decision is too small to research.

Even once users settle on a brand, further research takes place, with review searches growing over 35% in the past two years. Once more highlighting the importance in considering the full influence loop in marketing activity.

The challenges of integrated marketing

Integrating marketing efforts is far from a simple task in 2018 however, in large part due to 3 key challenges:

• Increasingly fragmented customer personas, journeys and experiences

• Increasing complexity of cross-device customer journeys

• Attribution & accuracy of data measurement

A key theme across all three of these areas is connecting the dots for when, how and where to communicate with and engage audiences across multiple channels, formats and device types – and then be able to measure and accurately attribute impact to these channels, formats and device types.

Thankfully, technology solutions are finally starting to catch up, including announcements from Google’s recent Marketing Live 2018 conference where cross-device reporting and remarketing was unveiled. But it’s still relatively early days and regardless, there will always be a need for careful modelling, analysis and planning in order to deliver truly effective integrated marketing.

Delivering effective integrated marketing