The ‘purchase funnel’ is no longer relevant. Customers are experiencing your brand everywhere. That audience is drawn into an experience, a brand, or a product when a social experience is present. The next era of marketing centers on facilitating brand-relevant social experiences to any digital touchpoint. But is this true for every brand and product ? My belief is no, it’s not.
Your audience prefers and trusts social brands and is starting to use social information to make purchasing decisions. With the fragmentation of experiences, the explosion of digital experiences, and the desire for participation, the time to integrate social media into all facets of brand marketing is now. However marketers need to better understand just how much social media is part of the conversion funnel. I would argue, for example, that social media is more important to Ford than it is to Skippy peanut butter. It all comes down to simple point “how much time do consumers have to have a relationship with 99.9% of the brands they purchase?”
If I purchase a Haagen Dazs ice cream bar and think that the product is like an orgasm for the mouth I am going to keep buying them but I am not necessarily going to go on facebook or Twitter and say “this is a great ice cream bar”. I expect Haagen Dazs products to be good and meet my expectations. However when I purchased my Subaru Outback I did go on social media to both research the brand and talk about my experience with the product (it’s an excellent car). Why ? Because I am now a fan of Subaru and would love to share my experiences with other who are car shopping.
For certain products social media is a part of the conversion funnel but for a lot of others it is not and I would argue that the Internet is not.
Marketers are busy trying to quantify their social media marketing efforts when all they have to do is ask their customers “what made you purchase our product?”. It could have been, for example, a great endcap display in their market or being features in the weekly FSI’s. Understanding just how important social media is to conversion can help you quantify the dollars invest in the channel.