The marketing lifecycle: Putting content in context

Creating compelling content strategies that engage your customers at every point in the marketing lifecycle can be a challenging process.

The key to success is understanding your customers, and how you are able to engage with them at each point in the most effective way.

Purchase lifecycle

The retail purchase cycle of Stimulus, First Moment of Truth, Second Moment of Truth and Post Sale has existed since Proctor & Gamble coined the terms. This describes the anticipated consumer behaviour at each point of the purchase cycle from influence in the Stimulus to the last few seconds of the decision making process in the First Moment of Truth.

Google has since added the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) which describes the research phase that a consumer initiates online prior to a purchase and the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT) where a consumer shares their experience with others. These stages have always happened, they just used to happen away from the brands attention. What has changed most is our ability to see where these conversations are happening and by who, and we are then able to alter our content in response to the mindset of our consumer.

Consumer mindset

If we look at three of the stages in this purchase lifecycle we can start to understand how we can show content during the customer journey in order to help the customer get to the decision stage sooner.

During the Stimulus stage, we are trying to illicit a reaction from the consumer. The opportunity is for the brand to show that they have an affinity with the consumer’s aspirations and desires.

In the Zero Moment of Truth the consumer typically understands the THING that they are interested in, and is now looking for reviews in order to compare the different brands that offer it.

The most common mistake in Stimulus and ZMOT is to rush to show the consumer exact product you think they want. A brand can get caught in the 'comparison trap'. In this trap the consumer moves immediately to comparing features, price and function instead of listening to his friends and other trusted sources.

In the Ultimate Moment of Truth the consumer wants to be recognised as having made a sound financial decision and having bought an enviable THING. In this stage it is important to capitalise on them sharing their experience.

A mistake commonly made by brands is to ask the customer about their purchase experience and do nothing with that data. By controlling the channels on which your consumer shares their experience with your product you will create more content for your ZMOT consumers to reference.

Consider rewarding your customer for sharing and reviewing your product. Your UMOT content strategy is possibly the most important and overlooked part of a marketing campaign.

Driving content with data

During the early parts of the marketing lifecycle there is very little data about the consumers to influence the content. In Stimulus and ZMOT a brand is reliant

on third party affiliate data from display advertising, social listening and perhaps web.

The content decisions can be focused on high level brand messages and product positioning.

After the purchase and by the Ultimate Moment of Truth a brand has received a huge amount of data. It’s no surprise that this is when content strategies start to become less defined with brands rushing to on turning a customer into an evangelist. One way to plan your content strategy at this point is to ask the questions in the image below.

The Future

Predicting the future is never easy but we are already seeing a substantial change in the early stages of this marketing lifecycle.

In the Stimulus stage of the process we are seeing more and more data being made available to brands. With the advent of location aware apps, browser identification, and smart TV’s we can now start to understand and control the audience we are addressing with typical Stimulus and

Advertising content such as TV adverts, electronic billboards and in store signage.

If you’re currently developing a content strategy for your brand, ask yourself; are you prepared to deliver context at each of these stages?

James Burr, head of digital consultancy, cross-channel marketing, Experian Marketing Services

Email: Digital.marketing@experian.com

Web: www.experian.co.uk/marketingservices/

Twitter: @ExperianMkt_UK

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