Customers check 10.4 sources of information before making a final purchase decision. Therefore to influence their decision-making process, businesses need to be in as many of those places as possible - they need a marketing mix.
Back in the day, businesses grew by word of mouth and many still do. Then, marketers would talk about the sales funnel, and to some degree that is still true too. Today though, the sales path of a customer does not look like a funnel, it is more likely to resemble a flight path.
In 2011 Google did a study that examined the purchasing process for 3,000 consumers, what they got back were 3,000 unique entries. People were shifting between social media, review sites, word of mouth, online search and then back again, sometimes on more than one device.
What does this mean for SMEs?
Single marketing options will struggle to effectively create sales. Instead, businesses need a range of options across multiple devices to attract new customers and then combat a sky rocketing 70%+ online basket abandonment rate.
Think this does not apply to you because you do not sell anything online?
The term abandonment is used to describe the behavior of any visitor to a web page who leaves that page before completing the desired action, including filling out contact forms or signing up for a newsletter.
Learn from ...yourself
How do you shop? If you are like me, you search online, read reviews from other people who have bought or ask a friend. I may even check social media for a special offer ... but do I typically pick up a magazine? Typically no. If you do not either, chances are your customers probably will not too.
Pick your battles
The good news is that marketing has never been more accessible that it is today. Some options that are highly effective engaging customers, like social media, are free of charge – requiring knowledge instead of cash. Others, like email marketing or pay per click advertising are very low cost.
95% of smartphone users say they've searched for local information. 90% of those users take action within 24 hours.
Source: The Mobile Playbook.
Businesses no longer need to spend thousands of pounds to get a foothold in their market through a single medium like glossy magazine advertisements.
In 2015 the task of meaningfully connecting with your customers is tougher yes, but essentially cheaper and therefore more within reach. One to one marketing is finally possible.
All you have to do is learn a few basics and find solutions that will give you the best value for money. Pick your battles and go on to win.