You Won’t Find Your Best Customers At The Bottom Of The Funnel

peter-daviesData-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Peter Davies, chief revenue officer at ROKT.

I’ve noticed an alarming trend: While most brands have great bottom-of-the-funnel strategies, they struggle to unlock new consumers and shift consideration.

Some marketers spend as much as 75% of their digital budgets at the bottom of the funnel, driving sales from consumers who are already considering a purchase. Advertisers know they need to be smarter and more creative in this competitive realm, yet most large agencies aren’t structured to do so.

There are too many teams fighting for their share, ultimately missing the opportunities to communicate seamlessly throughout the consumer journey.

Competing for consumers when they’ve already exhibited consideration and intent to buy is sort of like looking for love at a bar. Some think bars are the best place to meet people because you find like-minded folks who you assume are there to meet people too.

It’s a recipe for success, right? Wrong. You’ve walked into the most competitive environment for finding the perfect match.

Search For A Match

From the start, the ability to compete is limited – the bar is loud, expensive and you only get one chance to make an impression on someone before they turn to the next person vying for their attention. At the end of the night, they leave with the person standing in the corner who happened to be exactly what your “match” was searching for.

If, however, you were among the 5% who managed to make a connection in that environment, you still have to contend with the difficulty of nurturing a date into a relationship. And just when you thought you had a shot at a long-term commitment, your date may be back on the market the following week, looking for the next opportunity.

Unfortunately, this is the type of cycle for which many marketing teams are set up to support. But if you want to nurture lifelong customers, there are better options available.

Rather than looking for an instant connection in a competitive environment, engage someone with similar interests when they aren’t thinking about an immediate goal. Speak to them about yourself with a goal of building a long-term relationship, predicated on understanding each other. It’s all about personalization, respect and loyalty.

Get Introduced

The most successful way to meet someone is to be recommended by a friend with a valued opinion. It is the same in the marketing world. Referral platforms allow advertisers to be intelligently referred by a trusted brand with whom the consumer has an existing relationship. When referred correctly – for example, at the end of a transaction – the likelihood a consumer will positively respond is roughly 100 times greater than display.

Get Consent

Don’t assume a consumer is interested in your brand just because they’ve visited your site once. Before using someone’s data to barge into their lives and follow them around the Internet, ask if they are comfortable with you communicating with them. If the consumer responds positively, you are on your way to developing a relationship. For those who say no, take them out of the equation and avoid spending money on a transaction that was never meant to be.

One Person, One Conversation

Always remember: People buy products. Cookies and IPs do not. With consumers spending more time on mobile than desktop, third-party cookies no longer cut it. You need real consumer data: name, email, phone, demographics. This allows you to communicate with consumers when they want, on whatever device and in whatever format they have requested. Facebook and Google are the clear leaders here, but the catch is you must use their tools in their ecosystem, which isn’t entirely helpful when using other tools and strategies. It is impossible to have meaningful, personalized communications with consumers without unique consumer data.

Personalize And Reward

Once you’ve gotten to know your perfect match, you should create personalized communications that fit the relationship. It is vital to have the segmentation tools that support customers across all devices. Also, realize that customers are probably talking to your competitors as well. This is OK because each serves a need for the customer. Don’t get into a bidding war to win them back at the point of transaction – it reeks of desperation. Instead, use consumer data to put in place other more personalized strategies that remind them you’re still here, such as email, and offer rewards that suit their online behavior. Show that you understand them. If done correctly, they will remember you and return when ready.

The key to building long-term value is to understand that each customer is different. Personalize your conversations and don’t presume to know what they want from your brand. Let the customer drive the relationship. If they respond well to emails, revisit your site or make an initial purchase, you know you’re on the right track.

Most importantly, don’t treat customers as immediate transactions. Treat them as potential lifelong customers, and they are more likely to become exactly that.

Follow Peter Davies (@PeteDavies), ROKT (@ROKT_Media) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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