Reaching, Interacting With, and Measuring Today’s Empowered Digital Consumer

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Technological advancements over the past 20 years have revolutionized the way consumers live, work, and play. From mobile devices and apps, to search engines, blogs, and social media sites, today’s always connected, never-in-one-place consumers now have access to more information to help them make smarter buying decisions. Consider these statistics:

  • The average person now consults 10.4 sources of information before finally making a purchase.
  • 79 percent of consumers want brands to demonstrate that they understand and care about them before they’ll consider making a purchase.
  • Today’s consumers average nearly three hours a day on mobile devices; 25 percent use three devices daily; and more than 79 percent of consumers switch devices mid-activity.

This new digital ecosystem has forced marketers to adapt and develop new ways to reach key audiences. With so many touchpoints available to them, consumers can now choose how, when, and where they want to interact with brands along their path to purchase. To capture conversions, marketers need to optimize each touchpoint and engage with their customers and prospects in the moments that matter.

But how? While the proliferation of channels and devices has created a complex marketing environment, it’s also created some exciting new opportunities. Let’s explore.

Reaching Consumers on Their Journeys

In years past, marketers have relied on a “spray and pray” approach, advertising their business anywhere and everywhere, hoping that their message will be heard and praying for results. But too much marketing and too little targeting is wasteful, ineffective, and unpredictable.

The growth of digital has given rise to a new category of addressable channels—where individual, user-level data is available to track touchpoints in the consumer journey. Cross-device and cross-channel identity matching have replaced estimates of how many people might have seen a message; it’s now possible to know the location, device, time, browser, and action of every consumer touchpoint online. Effective identify resolution can even help bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds to create a more seamless experiences for consumers. With greater access to data about consumer behavior and where they are in their journey, marketers can embrace more precise targeting strategies that reach and engage their best customer across multiple touchpoints, whether online, in stores, or on their mobile device.

Interacting with Real People

Another benefit of the digital era is the ability to engage with real people. Online, everyone leaves digital footprints behind that show who they are, what they are like, what they want, and how they behave. This addressable trail enables brands to move from marketing to anonymous personas to engaging with actual individuals. By reconciling cookie IDs, devices IDs, and online IDs, and linking those unique IDs with associated demographic, intent, and interest data, marketers can get a 360-degree view of each consumer and their interactions with a brand. Moreover, marketers can organize individuals into customized, high-value audience segments based on relevant actions or desired characteristics. For customer-obsessed marketers, this type of people-based approach enables them to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right place and time.

Measuring Performance

Continuous growth in the digital space has also opened up opportunities for marketers to take advantage of more advanced measurement approaches. For too long, marketers have been focused on individual channel performance and last-touch attribution. However, these siloed approaches don’t provide a holistic view of each individual’s interactions with a brand and can lead to flawed reporting that discounts the impact of other channels. For example, a marketer that leverages a last-touch attribution model might decide to stop investing in upper-funnel tactics (online display, video, paid social, etc.) due to a perceived lack of performance.

Multi-touch attribution has revolutionized marketing measurement by enabling marketers to leverage the unique set of data produced by addressable channels to understand effectiveness at granular levels, and at a much faster cadence. It tracks the consumer journey across all addressable touchpoints (digital, mobile, and physical) and assigns fractional credit to the channels and tactics that influenced a desired business outcome. Some of the more sophisticated multi-touch attribution solutionsare even able to integrate audience attribute data, so marketers can analyze performance in the context of key audiences. With a clear understanding of the touchpoints that drive performance for each audience, marketers can make smarter investment decisions that enhance the consumer journey, from first impression through to final conversion.

Continuous growth in the digital space has dramatically changed how consumers interact with brands. It’s not enough to fall back on what worked 20, 10, or even five years ago. A new landscape requires new rules and keeping up with the pace of change is mission-critical if marketers want to boost conversions, increase lifetime value, improve ROI, and ultimately gain a competitive advantage. To successfully navigate today’s tangled digital path, marketers need clear strategy and vision, and technology solutions driven by data.


Manu Mathew is the cofounder and chief executive officer of Visual IQ, a Nielsen company. He is responsible for directing the company’s growth by expanding its client base to include Fortune 500 and Internet 1000 advertisers that face performance and optimization challenges inherent in multi-channel marketing. He is also responsible for expanding the capabilities of the company’s IQ Intelligence Suite of leading-edge cross-channel marketing attribution software products that help brands and agencies recognize opportunities for optimization hidden in their marketing performance data.

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