Mohit Rathi
Guest Article

Empowering through knowledge: meeting the demands of evolving consumer behaviour

Our guest author takes you through some strategies that brands can employ to create a unique connection with their audience.

As the world changes, consumer behaviour morphs with it. Nothing encapsulates and defines this rapid change more than the advent of digital commerce.

In fact, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, minister of state for electronics and IT, is optimistic that the momentum of India’s digital economy will continue in 2023, backed by enabling rules and laws that offer a catalysing framework for technological growth and innovation.

This movement towards a digitised economy, has been encouraged by consumers, and marketing has moved with it. Digital marketing is a dynamic, ever-changing discipline, but the core of it remains the same – tapping into what customers need.

Human behaviour is ‘ground zero’ for creating effective digital marketing strategies, and simply making a sale isn’t the end goal. Now, businesses are looking towards curating a brand voice that encourages retention and builds personalised, memorable customer experiences.

With the big shifts in the way consumers behave, brands need to stay abreast of trends and think about how to capture the customer’s attention.

Here are some strategies that brands can employ to create a unique connection with their audience.

Arming with information

The good old tracking cookie has begun crumbling, as regulations are placed and websites are required by law to provide disclosures to visitors, but all is not lost. The probabilistic targeting model is growing more popular in the digital marketing sphere, as a result, even as the deterministic model offers more concrete information and targets customers very specifically.

The probabilistic model may diffuse the information, but it also increases the scale of your customer database by building a broad set of profiles, while still letting customers retain their relative anonymity.

Moreover, the customer is now increasingly hungry for knowledge about your product. In a global survey conducted by Google to understand habits when shopping during the year-end festive season, 80% of holiday shoppers said they had researched or browsed before making a purchase.

A great example of assisting the customer in the decision-making process is the Amazon Buying Guide that lists the features, pros and cons, and pictures to aid the customer. Brands can benefit from investing in various media to educate consumers about their offerings. Aside from informative ads, influencers who have a hands-on opportunity with the products, can help customers through their research process.

Augmented and virtual reality experiences

Over the years, brands have begun experimenting with virtual experiences and, as the supporting technology advanced more, each subsequent iteration has grown more ambitious. Back in 2018, Asian Paints launched its Colour with Asian Paintsapp, which enabled customers to try a wall paint colour to virtually see what it would look like.

Lenskart changed the experience of shopping for glasses online, with its virtual 3D try-on feature, using AR to enable customers to try eyewear virtually. IKEA launched an app, which allows users to test the brand’s products using augmented reality to visualise what it looks like within a space.

Such experiences excite consumers, as seen in a small study. It concluded that using AR increased purchase intention, while utilising VR positively impacted the brand image.

Interactive advertising

If you’ve used a free app that shows you ads in lieu of charging for its services, there is a chance you have seen a playable ad which mimics an in-app experience. With hands-on experience, a study shows, users have a more positive perception of the advertised product, when compared to regular video ads.

In a similar vein, Inshorts’ experiment with advertising the new Maruti Suzuki Swift model garnered an impressive click-through rate of 4-5%, which clearly shows that unique ad tactics capture the user’s attention.

Back to basics – personalised customer experiences

Personalisation is what makes a good campaign great, as it helps customers feel valued. Take a look at Spotify’s Wrapped that started in 2016, offering customers a deep dive into the music they listened to throughout the year. Released in early December each year, the launch of the campaign has historically correlated with a boost to Spotify’s app store ranking. The impact was such that now several brands have followed in its footsteps – Netflix’s Playback and Swiggy’s annual StatEATstics, to name a few.

While it is not feasible for every brand to have a grand experience like this, personalisation can come in more accessible forms by using a platform such as WhatsApp. At the end of the day, what counts is how much you know about your customer and how well you use this information to craft a personalised user journey and experience.

Personalised messages tailored to the customers’ preferences and habits, let them know you’re listening to them. In fact, in one recent conversation with a healthtech startup, it was fascinating to learn how it utilises data to stitch together a post-visit engagement journey for the patient. Not only does this prove helpful to keep the patient on track with their treatment and recovery process, it also results in better NPS and revenue for doctors.

The modern customer is spoilt for choice, which is why optimising the digital customer journey at every level – from awareness to post-purchase – is now a must. Marketing is not just about facilitating a sale anymore.

An ad isn’t just an ad, it’s a full spectrum experience that starts in the digital space, carries through to a physical purchase and encompasses every single touchpoint. It’s all about creating a wholesome experience that the customers take with them, and creating something memorable they can share with others.

The author is, AVP – growth & marketing, Porter.

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