Since the end of World War II and the rise of consumer affluence (think the Populuxe era of the 1950s and early 1960s), consumer marketing has been defined by companies. Companies and their brands controlled marketing. We, as brand owners, marketed to “them” (consumers). We defined the terms of the relationship—what to buy, why to buy, when to buy, and where to buy. The entire advertising industry—from the 1950s to the turn of the aughts—was predicated on that dynamic. It was called B2C (business to consumer)—or B2B (business to business) if we were doing business with another business—and appropriately so. As brand owners, we dictated every aspect of the buying process. If you wanted to buy a new car, it was the car company that dictated the entire buying process: doing print ads and television ads (known as “awareness”); getting reviews of the new car in newspapers, magazines, and on TV and radio (known as “familiarity”); getting prospective buyers into showrooms (known as “consideration”); and finally getting the buyer to sign on the dotted line (known as “purchase”). And there was one more step, if you were lucky: getting the buyer to buy your car brand again (known as “loyalty”). In the car business and in other businesses, this narrowing process became known as the “purchase funnel,” and entire industries grew up to support every stage of the funnel: advertising, marketing, consumer research, sales, fulfillment, customer satisfaction, customer retention, and customer loyalty. Do you need a quote for SEO Consultant ?
Other parts of the economy grew in support of every stage of the funnel: newspapers, magazines, television, radio, direct mail, and even retail. Fast-forward to today. Newspapers are dying, magazines are going bankrupt, television is morphing into streaming services on multiple devices, and the retail landscape is looking bleaker and bleaker. There were 12,000 store closings in 2019, more than double the number in 2018 (5,854 stores), and estimates are that another 75,000 stores could be gone by 2026. Why is this happening? As we said in the introduction, technology has emerged as the single most profound cultural driver in the world today. We now live in a world where technology drives culture, and then culture shapes technology. Technology has reversed the polarity of the buying process—from a B2C world to a C2B world. Businesses are no longer in charge of the relationship. The consumer is in charge. Businesses can no longer dictate the terms of customer engagement; only the consumer can do that. Lets use the search term SEO Expert as an example.
As Anne Bologna explains: “Consumers still want and need brands in their lives, but it must be on their terms. Customers want personalization, and they want brands that align with what they care about. Sixty percent of consumers do business with brands that share their values and beliefs, and 65 percent of consumers tune out brands that blast the same message over and over again.” The mainstreaming of personal technology and the explosion of consumer choice as the mobile internet came of age irrevocably and forever destroyed the traditional “purchase funnel,” ushering in a new age of consumer empowerment. No longer do advertisers control the brand experience. When the screen moved from our television to our smartphones, and mobile internet access allowed us to search out product information (and pricing) even when we were in the very act of shopping—not to mention giving us the ability to provide a Yelp review, make a purchasing decision on Amazon with one click, or share an image of the product we were buying on Instagram—it became clear that the balance of power had swung away from brands and forever toward the now super-empowered consumer. What happens when you search for SEO Freelancer for instance?
When brand engagement is viewed through the lens of the intersection of technology and culture, we now see a world where it has flattened, with activities once referred to as “top of the funnel”—like awareness and familiarity—now smashed down into the middle, and where “mid funnel” processes—like consideration—are now instant requirements, even for first-time browsers. This shift to C2B began about 2010 and accelerated with the widespread adoption of smartphones. In the early part of this century, two-thirds of all purchase decisions were driven by push vehicles—such as television ads. Then, as smartphone adoption grew, so did the use of pull vehicles—such as search, website content, and the like. The first year to see an over 50 percent share of smartphones in the United States was 2013 (51 percent in 2013; all cellphones—89 percent) and by 2019, the share of Americans who owned smart-phones had risen to 81 percent, with 96 percent ownership of any kind of cellphone.2 And by 2019, over two-thirds of all purchase decisions were being driven by pull vehicles. Further, over half of all product searches were conducted on Amazon, not Google, validating the idea that we are firmly in the realm of purchase decisions—the bottom of the purchase funnel, not just casual interest. Does anyone know where I can find the best SEO specialist ?
Consumers are now in charge of the purchase funnel, deciding to pick up their smartphones and initiate the search, rather than passively sitting on their couches absorbing brand-led advertising. This shift in the balance of power has immense implications for brands. “Fifteen years ago, when a client would come to me and tell me they wanted to grow their business, we would start the conversation around questions like: ‘What does your brand stand for? What are your awareness numbers? What are your brand attributes?’” Bologna explains. “Now the conversation is: ‘What’s your digital presence? Is it optimized for search? Is it optimized for experience?’ And we work upwards from there. So, I think that is one of the biggest shifts. You start from the bottom of the funnel and work upwards. [However, that’s not entirely accurate either], because there is no funnel anymore.” However you access the internet now, you may want to think about SEO Services in the future.
What happens when the traditional funnel disappears and the consumer has seized control of the brand experience? What exactly is a brand to do in this confusing new landscape? Increasingly, when consumers are now choosing to engage with you and your brand on their terms, the answer is deceptively simple: be human. “When an institution feels like an institution, my default is not to trust you,” Bologna explains. “I want the brand to act more human, and that’s no small thing, but it helps build trust and helps you engage.” In a C2B, “post-funnel” marketing landscape, where technology is the face of the brand and the interface with the culture at large, finding ways to rehumanize the digital relationship is critically important. The brand personality matters when it’s the first point of contact with the organization. A simple search on Bing for Freelance SEO will give you what you need.