In a conventional offline marketing world, the goal is to generate sales. But in online marketing, the goal is to create a long-term relationship with a potential customer or fan. The objective is to attract, engage, and delight people to grow a business or brand. In today’s world, everyone is aware of the power of mobile phones and social media. So naturally, businesses are trying to take advantage of this trend and build their brand equity and loyalty through online marketing.
To better understand the goal of online marketing, it’s important to examine the underlying framework, which comes from marketing research firm MarketingCharts.
The framework suggests that a business’ primary goal should be to create a satisfying experience for each stage of a buyer’s buyer’s journey. The stages are (1) discovery, (2) consideration, (3) decision, and (4) loyalty. Each stage is further defined by purchasing behavior, such as trial vs. purchase, and the type of content or offers a business presents (i.e., transactional vs. transformational marketing).
The Early Stages of a Buyer’s Buyer’s Journey
The earliest stages of a buyer’s buyer’s journey are typically referred to as discovery and consideration. During these stages, a buyer explores a business’ offerings, reads online reviews, and possibly watches industry videos to learn more about the product or service. This exploration generally begins with a discovery stage, where a buyer learns about a product or service through advertising or other types of content marketing, and continues with a consideration stage, where the individual decides whether or not to purchase the product or service based on his or her understanding of the benefits and features.
MarketingCharts defines the discovery stage as “the first engagement with an advertiser, where the risk of conversion is still relatively low” and the consideration stage as “the second phase of the buyer’s journey, where the chances of conversion increase.” The distinction here is that during the discovery stage, a buyer may not be fully aware of the benefits of a product or service – that’s what makes it discovery, in the first place. But as the buyer becomes more familiar with the product or service, the awareness of benefits increases and he or she moves into a consideration stage – that’s when you want to be doing your marketing.
The Decision-Making Process
Once a buyer has explored a product or service and is aware of its benefits, the decision-making stage begins. During this stage, a buyer makes a decision whether or not to purchase the product or service based on several factors, including value, reliability, and, of course, price. While some buyers may be able to accurately put a price on every aspect of a product or service, others may value certain features more than they value the price, and, thus, make a decision based on a combination of the two, or even one, such as price.
If you’re looking to sell a product or service that isn’t necessarily cheap, you may want to consider offering additional value-added features, such as free technical support, to encourage more people to try out your product, or paying for advertising to boost sales.
When a person discovers your product or service, the goal is to have them consider it, maybe even try it, and hopefully, eventually, become a customer, or fan, of your company. Your ultimate goal is to create a satisfying experience for the individual on a personal level, as well as a business level, through all stages of their buyer’s buyer’s journey. This way, when an individual is in the middle of a purchasing decision and needs information regarding your product or service, you can provide it to them and, more importantly, they’ll want to come back for more.