As a millennial, the thought of making a purchase without doing some amount of online research is nearly unfathomable. Equipped with my smartphone and laptop, simple queries or lengthy research are answered and performed with ease thanks to the advancements to comparison shopping sites, search engines, blogs, product review sites, and smartphone apps. There is no shortage of relevant content and as an avid online shopper, I use a wide mix of channels, ad formats and devices to guide my purchase decision. And so do the majority of other consumers.
With ongoing advancements to marketing technology, access to product information, and constant connectivity, consumer behavior has radically changed. Now, nearly every purchase is considered and researched as product information is easily accessible and free. It is natural for consumers to alternate between multiple devices, channels and ad formats before making their final purchase decision and marketing professionals have struggled to track and attribute channel performance to the final conversion.
In fact, many marketing professionals have overlooked or dismissed the change in consumer behavior, keeping their marketing approach channel-centric and siloed by marketing strategy, budget, technology and teams. The result of channel-centric, rather than consumer-centric, marketing strategies has left many campaigns with lagging performance, inadequate resources, and lack of visibility to the effectiveness of their online marketing budget. When so many channels contribute to the final purchase conversion, it is important for marketing professionals to understand how channels, ad formats and devices work in synergy rather than separately.
In response to marketers lagging campaign performance, The Search Agency developed a new approach to paid media management to help marketers reach consumers across devices, integrate cross-channel analytics, and accurately attribute media sources to consumer conversions. h(Paid)  is a consumer-centric approach to paid media marketing that enables marketers to profitably engage and convert their target audiences throughout their target consumers’ decision journey. Over the course of the next five days, we will outline the five pillars of h(Paid) and provide insight about the efficacy of a holistic strategy to paid media management.
To begin, we’ll discuss targeting, the first pillar of h(Paid).
Targeting refers to marketers’ ability to reach their target consumers at various touch points of their decision journey. This is achieved by aligning multiple paid media channels with consumer intent at each stage of the consumer decision journey. The key is to develop a cross-channel campaign that engages consumers in different places and at different times, depending on where they are in their consumer decision journey. By giving consumers relevant content, messages and ad copy that coincides with their intent, consumers are more likely to respond to the information and consider your brand.
Let’s consider an example. If a car company is trying to reach their target audience during the consideration phase, their messaging and ad copy should highlight the consumers’ ability to learn more about the company’s cars, gain more information about product features, and find local dealerships where they can test drive the vehicles. Such messaging should be consistent across channels. For instance, paid search ads should include relevant ad copy about gaining more information; social media channels should provide a platform for real-time search about the company’s cars and customer reviews; and mobile ad copy should notify consumers about dealership locations within their community.
Messaging will vary based on the consumer’s stage in his/her purchase decision—as they approach the actual purchase, paid media channel messaging should highlight financing options, promotions, and warranty information. The key is to align your messaging with the information that consumers seek and match their purchase goals with relevant content.
As consumers continue to segment their consumer decision journey across search, social, content and devices, the path to conversion has become more
- Create and manage a multi-channel marketing plan
- Manage budget based on marketing objective rather than channel
- Perform consumer research to determine purchase patterns and online behaviors used for online targeting
- Execute site, placement and contextual research to identify targeted online properties
To learn more about h(Paid), download our latest whitepaper "h(Paid): A Holistic Approach to Paid Media Marketing ."
Tomorrow, we'll discuss the next component of h(Paid): Creative. Stay tuned!