Guest Blog | Sustainable Traffic Sources: A Multi-Channel Approach | Anna Bravington

Here at Red Hot Penny, we are delighted to work with a community of guest bloggers who specialise in talking about all things digital marketing. Today’s guest blog is written by Anna Bravington, Mistress of Marketing, Fibro Warrior, and Speaker who is self-proclaimed full of chocolate and nonsense.

Anna has worked across digital, marketing and comms for 23 years. She has worked in 20 sectors with over 60 brands. Her experience is in both B2B and B2C businesses, from start-ups to international businesses. She advises businesses on marketing and has a passion for a cost-effective, community-building approach. Anna loves gadgets and has owned an mp3 player since the very first one was mass-produced in 1998 (it only held 8 songs!). If you would like to ask her what the 8 songs were, drop her an email at info@annabravington.co.uk.

Sustainable Traffic Sources: A Multi-Channel Approach

Picture this.

  • Sadie is on Facebook; she sees an ad for a brand but quickly scrolls past it.
  • She then visits a friend who is showing off her new trainers. OMG, they are amaaazing.
  • Sadie loves the trainers, so she Googles the brand for a quick look.
  • Next time she is at home, browsing social, an ad for the trainers pops up. She clicks it.
  • This time Sadie looks more in-depth and reads reviews. She then signs up for the newsletter, where she gets a discount. The trainers are expensive, though, so she hesitates and gets distracted.
  • A couple of weeks later, Sadie gets an email from the trainer brand, and the trainers she loves are featured. She’s just had payday and decides to treat herself.

A consumer’s path to purchase is rarely straightforward, just like in the case of Sadie above. The journey can be influenced by current mood, time of day, upbringing, recent and past experiences, work, finances, friends and family, weather, current location – I could go on and on.

As David Tennant’s Doctor Who tried to describe time travel as “a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff”, we need to remember that consumer purchasing is “a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, brainy-wainy stuff”.

I’m a big fan of the Kotler and Keller model of consumer behavior. It helps us understand how convoluted the purchase decision process is. We, humans, are complicated beings, and our choices are full of internal and external stimuli.

Figure 1 Model of consumer behaviour – Image source: Kotler and Keller (2006). Marketing Management (Pearson)

In my example above, while Sadie was going through her decision process, she needed several prompts along her path to purchase and hit multiple marketing touchpoints. If just one were missed, would she have made the entire journey to becoming a customer?

Twenty years ago, the average consumer typically used two touchpoints when buying an item, and only 7% regularly used more than four. Five years ago, it jumped to almost six touchpoints, with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. (Knexus). In the current climate with overwhelming consumer choice and the recent economic struggles in the UK, that decision process has been elongated further – I’ve seen first-hand a significant number of journeys of eight or more touchpoints.

To create all these points of interaction, brands need to look at the omnichannel marketing approach. This ensures a customer-centric focus and that all channels work in harmony to:

  • Offer multiple touchpoints across the decision process, and align them so they push towards a sale.
  • Account for complex human behaviour and varied paths to purchase.
  • Create a consistent brand experience on all channels.

Each channel, such as SEO, PPC, Content, Digital PR and Social, has its place in the customer lifecycle. Some sit better at the awareness stage; others give consumers the confidence to buy. If you don’t have enough touchpoints, you may find that potential customers struggle to make it from one stage to the next.

In research by Omnisend, marketers said using three or more channels in a campaign earned a 287% higher purchase rate than those using just a single channel.

Figure 2 Source: Smartinsights.com

Think about these consumer decision processes when setting up your data, too, particularly how you attribute a sale. If the last click is always rewarded for the purchase, it can be hard to understand how each channel contributed to that sale. Proper attribution will help you better apportion your marketing budget and understand the real value of each channel to your business.

Digital marketing budgets in the UK were up 9.6% in 2020 (compared to 2019) and are estimated to jump a further 18.7% throughout 2021 (Statista). With increased marketing spend from competitors, I’ve seen many retailers investigating more cost-effective ways to use their marketing budget within the customer lifecycle.

I asked David Schulhof, MD of Red Hot Penny, for his thoughts on current marketing spend; he said:

“With brands and eTailers seeing increasing CPAs, the need to drive top of the funnel activity is more important than ever. Competition is on the up, and more retailers are becoming digitally savvy, so brand affinity is crucial to create a sustainable traffic source. Starting with key channels across PR and Social, for example, will help brands stand out in a crowded market.”

And here’s a fun fact to finish on. Did you know on average 8% of people in the UK shop while on the toilet?

Don’t worry; I’m not going to make you add toilet browsing to your marketing strategy. But it’s just a reminder of how weird and wonderful customers are. By taking a human-based approach to your marketing channel choices, you’re bound to capture those cheeky bog shoppers.

About Anna.

Anna has over 20-years of experience across the entire digital and marketing lifecycle including inspiration, strategy, planning, implementation, reporting, stakeholder buy-in, c-suite liaison & team management. Having led the marketing functions at mainstream brands like Game. Anna is well-positioned to bring new marketing ideas to any business to help it stand out from the competition.

 

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