Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Purchase Process Still Applies!

In a recent eMarketer article titled, "Click! So What?", Gian Fulgoni, Chairman of comScore, was interviewed about Direct Response Marketing on the internet. The initial question related to the relevancy of clicks as a measurement of success for internet marketing. In Mr. Fulgoni's opinion, internet marketing should not be viewed different from other traditional forms of media, such as print or broadcast. Thus, branding is always a crucial component, even in the midst of direct response.

In all, I have no problem with Fulgoni's statements, but I do have one big problem with one particular question/answer during this interview. But isn’t search often the beginning point for many consumers? Fulgoni starts his answer with, "It can be ....". What? Doesn't the fundamental stages of the purchase decision process still apply? If I remember it correctly, it starts with problem recognition. At the point of search, consumers have already passed the first point. Point 1 is the first and best chance of existing in the mindsets of a potential buyer. Additionally, after point one, branding can be a non-issue, because at this point decision factors are very objective, and brands have already been considered in the search pool.

I'm starting to hear whispers of the term, "engagement", instead of "clicks". Engagement on the internet is the equivalent of free beer and wireless internet at a furniture store. The store will have more traffic for longer periods of time, but there could be no correlation between the promotion/engagement and increased sales. With all the data and functionality the web offers to e-marketing professionals, it's interesting to know that ROI is still a subjective science. The new age of marketing and advertising should be about transparency and efficiency. However, it seems that we are not yet to that point.

If you don't center your marketing strategy around the purchase decision process, it's not marketing.

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