We’ve long spoken about the need to understand your customer before funnelling spend into your marketing. ADMA, along with Australia Post, released a study late last year looking to discover how Australians want to hear from brands.
Following nine focus groups and a survey of more than 9000 Australians, the report came to (what a digital agency would call a) jarring conclusion: “so-called traditional channels are the most effective advertising media.” Think catalogues, flyers, TV, press and radio advertising, and personalised direct mail. Email marketing, the first digital marketing channel to appear in the list, is rated as only the sixth most effective means of advertising.
With content booming in the Australian market – and statistics reiterating that fact – the research report piqued our interests.
So what does the data behind the statement have to say?
Brands are spending online
The allocation of industry marketing spend is not reflective of what the report has trumpeted as the most ‘effective’ media channels. Online display advertising has seen the biggest growth in spending, increasing by 14 per cent, compared with press advertising, personalised direct mail and catalogues and flyers, which have decreased by between 4 and 26 per cent.
Websites push the purchase
Consumers seek out brands online before engaging through any other channel – and they return at almost every critical decision-making point in their purchasing journey. Websites were shown to have the most influence in the customer’s path to purchase. They were rated as having the following influence in each customer category:
• New customers considering options: 61 per cent.
• New customers making final decision: 65 per cent.
• Existing customer cross-selling: 66 per cent.
• Retaining existing customers: 53 per cent.
• Switching customer looking at options: 68 per cent.
• Switching customer making final decision: 68 per cent.
It’s not a stretch therefore to say that websites – and inbound content marketing – play an essential role in every facet of the customer’s experience and ongoing relationship with the brand.
Online is successful no matter the industry
Online is one of the most important factors driving customer acquisition. Online is identified as the leading marketing channel in banking and finance (66 per cent), superannuation (64 per cent), insurance (68 per cent), telecommunications (70 per cent), utilities (70 per cent), automotive (67 per cent), charities (61 per cent) and public services (68 per cent). That leaves just two industry segments where online does not rate as the leading factor driving customer acquisition.
Marketers are spending online
Despite the astronomical price of advertising traditionally through print or TV, industry sectors were shown to be funnelling money into ports that did not yield equivalent results. In the banking and finance industry, for instance, in the space of one year (to July 2013) the sector spent $215.8 million on TV advertising, compared with just $98 million on online. Yet TV advertising was only responsible for 43 per cent of customer acquisition, trailing behind online.
What this proves is that consumers are predominantly initiated into the buyer’s journey through online means. That is, before they engage with the brand through any other marketing channel. True customer-centric marketing, which is successful and cost effective, therefore begins and ends with online channels.
Were you surprised by the research conclusions?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.