Opinion: The growing impact of digital marketing on consumer behaviour

With consumers becoming exceptionally good researchers when it comes to making a purchase decision, the author lists digital marketing strategies for marketers

Oct 28, 2022 08:02:00 AM | Article | Aastha Beecham

While traditional marketing sticks to local, at best national audience, digital marketing on the other hand broadens the market by targeting anyone and everyone who goes online. As per a McKinsey report, 'The Covid-19 crisis has globally accelerated the digitisation of customer interactions by several years'.
 
The first rule of marketing is to make the right offer in the right place at the right time. Digital marketing helps brands do just that by reaching their ideal customers where they are present these days: ONLINE. 
 
Today, a healthy digital marketing mix consists of email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, lead generation campaigns, search engine optimisation, digital outdoor, online PR, mobile marketing, branded content, and influencer marketing.
 
What is consumer behaviour?
 
Consumer behaviour is the study of how people make decisions about what they buy, want, need, or act in regard to a product, service, or company. Understanding consumer behaviour is a key element of any marketing strategy. Knowing what your consumer wants or is likely to purchase help brands to make better marketing communications, improve customer retention, increase loyalty, and increase sales.
 
Shift in consumer decision making
 
During the covid-19 pandemic, many brands were forced into e-commerce. This resulted in a steep hike in e-commerce business and hence increase in digital marketing spends by the brands. Digital marketing enable brands to put their best foot forward.
 
The fact that consumers can now freely pursue information and evaluate a product or service against so many options, keeping in mind factors like price, availability, customer service, discounts and offers, has altered consumer behaviour. While consumers still go through the marketing stages of awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty, and advocacy, but the purchase journey today is no more a linear path. Consumers move back and forth between the stages, as they move from consideration to 'evaluation' stage before they make the actual purchase. And after purchasing a product or service consumers evaluate the experience which plays an important role in their next purchase journey.
 
Role of digital marketing in shaping the consumer journey 
 
Consumers have become exceptionally good researchers when it comes to making a purchase decision. The amount of information available on the net has allowed them to compare with different brands and come to a conclusion.
 
Word-of-mouth is still the biggest factor that affects consumers behaviour. Except, now it is called 'review'. Before the digital marketing revolution, consumers were loyal to a brand. This was because they were not exposed to such large range of products and services like they are today. Today consumers do not hesitate in switching from their go-to brands to completely new ones.
 
Thanks to the incessant penetration of mobile technology and internet, consumers can now instantly share their opinions with their brands. Artificial Intelligence is a powerful medium that enables consumers to make better choices, especially those looking for convenience.
Digital marketing has augmented the impulse buying phenomena. Brands highlight attractive deals, discounts, and offers online that customers are happy to explore. Value propositions like free shipping, hassle-free exchanges, and next-day delivery are raising the expectations of consumers across the globe.
 
Digital marketing has accustomed consumers to a personalised shopping experience. Now, consumers don’t want to spend time in going from one place to another to make their purchase decision.
 
Change is the only constant, especially in a fast-moving digital world. Today, there is such a vast amount of data available that brands can really narrow down their segments and find audiences that give highest ROAS. But a better understanding of how consumer’s behaviour is evolving will always help marketers to run more effective campaigns.
 
The author is business director, RevUp, Puretech Digital