Marketing is no longer the simple three-step process of stimulus, shelf and experience. Add influence to the list...
When making a purchase decision, where’s the first place we all look for inspiration? Where do we do our research on price, compare alternatives and get recommendations from others? Of course, overwhelmingly, it’s the world wide web.
That’s nothing new. Or so you would think. But until now, businesses selling online have been slow at understanding these sources of purchasing influence, and even slower at responding to them.
**Sources of Influence are Increasing
A Shopper Sciences survey for Google found that in 2011 consumers on average used 10.4 sources of influence for every purchasing decision, up from 5.3 sources in 2010.
This trend, that sees consumers collecting diverse information from diverse influencers all over the web before they even consider buying, has galvanized Google to launch a new marketing model, named the zero moment of truth, ZMOT.
The idea of ZMOT is to pinpoint the period that consumers (both B2C and B2B) do their research and read online feedback, and design marketing strategies to optimize for this period.
Google are right to be taking this trend seriously; the growing proliferation and centrality of online influencers is having a direct impact on the bottom line of more and more businesses.**Drive Your Feedback Loops
If a brand, a product, service offering or even a whole company are blighted by poor online ratings and reviews, the negative feedback loop will drive prospects away in droves and may also cause current customers not to re-purchase.
Engaging with influencers and successfully driving prospects to positive feedback loops is probably the most important challenge for businesses who want to reap the rewards of selling on the web in the next 10 years.
Tyreshopper, an online tyre seller, are a great example of a firm utilizing online influence to their advantage and driving these positive feedback loops.
Early in 2012 they noticed they were getting consistently positive reviews on trustpilot.co.uk, an independent review forum for online shopping experiences. They integrated the Trustpilot badge on their checkout page, where prospects often fall off the site, so people could check-out the customer reviews if they clicked.
Results showed an impressive 8.7% increase in conversions in just a one month period.
Thus Google are right to re-configure their marketing to specifically target the potential of online influence for revenue growth. And so should you.