The “Marketing Funnel” has been the mainstay for mapping consumer behavior and where brand’s should focus the majority of their media spend. We as an industry created a mashup version of the Funnel + the Customer Journey – to rationalize where digital OOH fits in the path to purchase.
“The right message, at the right place, at the right time” mantra has long held the number one slot on top 10 hits of buzz phrases. These days, this specific phrase is on my top five statements that make me cringe; along with “the internet isn’t working”, “I’m Facebooking” and “let’s make it viral”
For years, I’ve tried my best to evangelize the concept of “integrated digital campaigns” to an industry that sticks its fingers in its ears while it makes “blah-blah-blah” noises in order to block out any messages that contradicted DOOH’s supremacy. Meanwhile, its was just a matter of time before mobile and social media became the primary way consumers made purchase decisions.
I’d like to bring to everyone’s attention to the recently published consumer behavior study from Mckinsey + Company that was the subject of an article in The Harvard Business Review. I liked it because it validated what I’ve been saying – about how people now make their purchase decisions way before they get to the store. It explains that the time to influence purchase is during the evaluate and advocate phase, rather than the consider and buy phase. You can read all the details in the December 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review Magazine, just look for the article “Branding in the Digital Age, You’re Spending Money in All the Wrong Places” As soon as you can.
I submit to the industry that it’s time to adapt to a more relevant strategy that helps define the role of DOOH in the newly crafted Customer Decision Journey concept. As the McKinsey study indicates – The “Customer Journey” and marketing funnel paradigm are less relevant to the new race of people that use digital channels to build their own insights, do their own product research, find reviews, and community advocacies. It’s these channels that are the most effective in helping people decide what product they want to buy as well as endorse.
So, where does DigitalOOH belong in this new, new world order? Well, it depends on who you ask. The industry has fractured into various “denominations” – where some people have found religion and others have stumbled across something else.
There are die hard industry folks that cling dearly to the belief that digital will never be usurped by other digital media (smartphones or otherwise) – and therefore, they continue to create campaigns that isolate the dynamic digital surface as the primary engagement component of a campaign strategy.
Then there’s the sect that believes the future of digital OOH is to run specialized social media feeds that allow people to use their mobile phones to post shout-outs to their friends – totally disregarding the fact that people don’t want to wait around for their posts or comments to show up in the social media stream running on the screens, as they just don’t have the patience or the time.
There’s a third denomination of industry believers that look to sensors, facial recognition and on-demand artificial intelligence playlist generation as the key to making digital OOH hyper-relevant.
However – none of the above mentioned schools of thought address the newly established consumer behavior of making a purchase decision prior to entering the retail environment, not to mention that it’s highly likely that if a consumer’s bond to a product/service is strong enough then the repurchase decision circumvents any earlier decision journey stages.
As more and more brands and marketing agencies shift their attention to channels that help with advocacy and evaluation, where does that leave in-store digital? Sure – Digital Outdoor has its place in creating awareness – but if the decision for purchase is swaying away from in-store? What role can digital OOH play?
I plan to dedicate a significant amount of time to answer these questions in the coming months as part of my weekly (or monthly) posts on the DailyDOOH. Stay tuned…