How do you market to individuals at scale?

The promise of social media is that it allows businesses to not only market to consumers at scale, for a fraction of traditional media costs. But also that just like Facebook ads as an obvious example, it can reach real individuals through word of mouth rather than cohorts of consumers.

OK, that’s great. but in reality business still sees consumers as relatively passive recipients of their marketing messages. And part of the problem here is that it’s a tough problem to crack, to understand how consumers think and make purchasing decisions. Corporate culture is the very antithesis of how life is lived by most people, and not surprisingly that impacts on the ability to turn ‘likes’ into ‘purchases’ shall we say.

Of course the logical answer for many businesses looking to ‘optimise their social performance’ and improve their social ‘ROI’ is to focus harder on the conversion objectives at the outset. Build those KPIs in from the start, and the rest will follow is the inevitable logic, and for sure that makes sense.

So I am not going to go down that route here, today. Instead taking a more #thinslicing approach I am going to simply map out how in ideal type format the different way businesses and individuals look at purchasing. I’m interested in the subject personally as I submitted an idea for a decision making engine to eBay’s Shopping.com back in 2011. But it was only an idea…

So back to today, after 8 months at Sony here’s a second more light-hearted go at getting under the skin of the customer, with a bit of help from Twitter to map out the customer journey for us..all in 140 characters

#1: how the business sees the customer journey

  1. Do a search on Google for new laptops. Thanks to great SEM the manufacturer’s laptop appears on the first page and there’s also a PPC ad.
  2. The PPC ad has an attractive offer which persuades the consumer to click the link – after all this is a well-known brand.
  3. The consumer then arrives at the product page and sees some nice visuals helps persuade them it’s the kind of product that appeals to them..
  4. So they click on the sub-product page link and arrive at the specific laptop category they’re interested in.
  5. The manufacturer has a set of reviews displayed which suggest in the form of recommendations that these laptops are great value for money.
  6. The consumer sees a laptop in their price bracket and clicks the sub-sub product page to browse the specification, and functionality.
  7. They ‘Like’ the page so it appears on Facebook. Their friends pick up on that and add their comments cements the consumers desire to buy.

#2: How this customer sees it – 

You need a new laptop as your old one has just reached
the 3 year mark, and your still kicking yourself after missing the
attractive looking trade-in deal at PC World for laptops up to 3 years old
Your keen to get something powerful and light but know that must mean
it’s going to cost money which you haven’t got in abundance
So you look up on Google what are the top 5 laptops right now
and can see which one is best for you. However, that laptop is out of your budget
So you then do a search on Google for laptop retailers that provide
laptops to be purchased on credit, and take a look at the mobile phone
providers deals which have caught your eye on the way past their store
You decide that the mobile phone laptop providers aren’t as great as
they look. But you’re happy because you find a reputable looking retailer
with laptops to buy on credit
You compare them to Dell’s offerings:-)
You remember last time you bought a Dell it broke down
though you also remember their fantastic customer service
But you decide to play safe and go with the rival laptop
retailer with the best credit deal, and choose what you can afford with the money you have
And while it’s not one of the top 5 laptops you read before it
‘does what it says on the tin’, and you convince yourself that’s
the best value option. And then buy it. On credit.

My quick HP/MTV EMA interior design

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