Namah Chawla

Where do marketers find consumers – Google-like search engines or e-commerce websites?

At the recent ad:tech and Amazon Advertising panel, experts from Dyson, Colgate-Palmolive and Wavemaker discussed evolving omni-channel consumer journey and how marketers are meeting their expectations.

These days, the consumer journey has become an interesting mix of online and offline channels. For brands, this implies that the sales funnel is getting much more complicated. An increasing number of consumers have taken to e-commerce marketplaces during the COVID-induced lockdowns.

To unravel this new journey and behaviour patterns, ad:tech and Amazon hosted a panel discussion on the evolving omni-channel consumer journey and how marketers are meeting the expectations of new age consumers.

The panellists included Nikhil Rastogi, commercial director, Dyson; Priyanka Gandhi, associate director – integrated marketing communication & e-commerce marketing, Colgate-Palmolive; and Vishal Jacob, chief digital officer, Wavemaker. The panel was moderated by Shiney Eapen, head of content, ad:tech.

Speaking about how the consumer journey has changed from 2019 to 2021, for a premium utility product like Dyson, Rastogi said that the consumers have become more conscious about health and hygiene, and the segment has garnered increased traction. “The consumers have now become much more conscious about what they are consuming and where they are spending.”

There is a clear leaning towards utility and essential products, with more research being done towards what choices and purchase decisions they (the consumers) are making. At the same time, the consumers are also demanding authenticity from the brands and also what the marketers are telling them.

For consumer durable brands, the shift to e-commerce has led them to gear up for these changes. Gandhi of Colgate-Palmolive asserted that accelerating some of these changes during the pandemic has not been a significant challenge.

“The presence of more shoppers online, and more shoppers being from Tier-II and tier III cities, was an important insight for us. We enhanced our efforts across platforms to reach out to them and become a part of their consumer journey. We have also launched categories and products with specific benefits to cater to specific age groups,” he added.

Addressing how media behaviour has transformed across categories, Jacob of Wavemaker pointed out that the time spent online – whether it is on e-commerce sites, or watching videos – has shot up significantly during the pandemic. “The time taken to make a purchase has also gone up significantly. Another interesting observation in terms of user behaviour is that there is a huge switch from search engines like Google to marketplaces like Amazon, when it comes to product-specific searches.”

The benefit that users derive from this is that searches on Google can be a lot more messier, while marketplaces, or e-commerce websites provide clarity of information. By tapping on this opportunity, many brands have launched some of their major offerings exclusively on e-commerce platforms.

Rastogi shared that he understands that Dyson is not for everyone. It needs to reach out to specific target audiences and then educate them about its products.

For a brand like Colgate-Palmolive, whose products are used by millions of people, the increased time spent online also indicates an increase in the time spent on the consideration funnel before making a purchase. Gandhi informed, “We are leveraging data to map the consumer journey. Tools like consumer listing and sighting to create effective solutions and ensuring our presence across channels, which drive people down the consideration and the purchase funnel, has been an important strategy.”

Jacob added that the data-driven approach has become even more relevant for most of his clients. However, he pointed out that many consumers are also behind the paywall, while consuming content. “When the consumers are going media-dark, it becomes difficult for the marketers to have a data-driven approach to reach out to them.”

The space of measurement and analytics to drive attribution models differs for each category, or industry. The brands need to spend time to build on data-driven insights to optimise their campaigns for better ROIs. Simultaneously, keeping innovation at the forefront, while staying with culture helps the brands to stay dynamic, young and well-seated in the minds of their consumers.

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