Do you agree that customers now more trust brands that have the online presence?
Ahrens points out, “it’s the issue of trust that is at the heart of the shift in consumer expectations”. Consumers lack responsiveness to ‘push’ marketing as they do not like being sold to; instead, they prefer self-selected content and are even willing to pay for ad-free content like Netflix. This dynamic has led to an evolution from a campaign-driven to a customer-centric approach commonly described as content marketing. By delivering a steady stream of valuable content to involve their customers, marketers are able to create credibility and trust to build stronger relationships that drive lifetime value exchange between both parties. It is an approach rather than a tactic, aiming to create content that does not just push brand messages. Products and services proliferate and are often interchangeable: they mostly all meet consumers’ needs. Marketers using content to create customer experiences can differentiate their brand through levels of engagement.
It is no longer the critical decision moment at the shelf. Today’s consumers bounce back and forth at their own speed in a multi-channel marketplace, resulting in a non-linear path of purchase with the desire to take control over their own identity, representing a shift away from traditional salespeople. The process of meeting those shoppers first takes place at their Zero Moment of Truth. Yet, on average 70 percent of the buying decisions are made online where they actively hunt for and pull down what they are looking for. They browse, dream, explore and then they are ready to buy with confidence. Thus, it is pivotal for companies to join the conversation when decisions are made. The ZMOT is where first impressions happen, the path of purchase often begins, and consumers make choices that affect the success and failure of brands.