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Evolving Consumer Behavior – Case Study

CompanyEC’s (CEC) current marketing plan is not currently aimed at engaging the online consumer behaviors identified in the Meet the Connected Consumer study. The reason for this is not that CEC finds these studies irrelevant. It’s due to CEC simply not having the strongest of marketing plans. Currently, the marketing plan is to create backlinks mainly within forums and blogs within its niche market. Nonetheless, CEC does have its company brand within the most popular of search engines and social networking websites. What CEC could do to improve its marketing for this study is to place more ad dollars and marketing within the areas mentioned. A majority of CEC’ consumers have a MySpace, Facebook and Twitter account. With that knowledge, CEC could benefit greatly from advertising within these markets.

Being that CEC is an online-based company, using this consumer study for its marketing techniques could allow for the company to gain a true understanding of its online consumers. CEC could easily implement most of the web 2.0 techniques into its own company. Previously, the tag cloud technique was used on the main page of the website. However, this was removed due to room for further marketing. In addition, RSS feeds and social bookmarking tools are currently implemented within the website.

While this consumer study can be beneficial to use for marketing, it would also seem to be most affective with a dedicated team member to handle this portion of the marketing on a regular basis. This type of marketing needs to be kept and updated regularly, possibly on a daily and/or hourly basis. Assigning the task of keeping these techniques updated will be the best method to create its success. In addition to marketing, creating online contest and awards can also encourage user interactivity within the social networks (Welborn, 2009).

The Internet and customer behavior

The Internet isn’t changing the way that CEC’ customers behave mainly because the business has always been an Internet business. The only difference is the locations in which CEC is marketing itself. It has previously been marketed within locations such as Craigslist.org, Backpage.com, Yellowbook.com, and other local advertising websites. With the internet changing and advancing with user interacted web 2.0 websites, the business now has the opportunity of being marketed on broader networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. In the order to create success within the web 2.0 market place, CEC needs to join this social online environment and make its brand positively known (Eikelmann, Hajj, Peterson, 2007).

With the thousands of additional social networking, blogs and forum type websites, CEC has a greater opportunity to build its brand name. Searching for the keyword “CompanyEC” on search engines will bring up a large list of the websites links and name within other websites. Currently, CEC has as many as 120k backlinks.

What the development of new websites and the growth in online networking, the Internet has been created as the largest marketing tool for CEC. This is done through a combination of CEC’ own online marketing and through previous customers promoting the brand online through their social networks. This allows for CEC to be found through many new, relevant and trusted sources on the Internet.

There hasn’t been any noticeable difference in how the users view the website or company or any changes within their decision-making process. Visitors are still looking to visit the website and find what they are looking for quickly with as little amount of clicks as possible.

Shifting behavioral patterns

CEC’ current marketing efforts are capitalizing on the shifting behaviors of its target audience. Ways in which is does this is through social networking websites, forums and blogs. With each of these online networks growing in users and in popularity, CEC has found many opportunities in joining these networks to build its brand name.

In addition to CEC’ own marketing techniques, potential and past consumers are also discussing the services offered through the company. While searching through the Internet for the company’s name, it has showed up on many additional forums and blogs through users own discussion postings. CEC has found that the company name in these situations is being used as references from previous customers or questions from potential customers. With seeing the affects of this type of marketing, CEC has placed high priority on customer satisfaction, as the users experience is likely to be shared throughout the Internet.

Brand evangelists

CEC has some great opportunities to create and identify brand awareness. The ways in which it creates them is by providing them a valuable service and simply ask them to tell their friends. A happy customer is very likely to tell their friends of the service they received from CEC. Creating brand evangelists doesn’t necessarily involve rewarding the customer with free services. The best method that has been proven successful is by letting the customer know that they are appreciated as a customer and advise them to please tell their friends of the service they have received from the company.

Previous customers are also likely to socialize about the service they received form the company without being asked. If they are happy, they will likely tell everyone why they are. Whether a Facebook, Twitter or MySpace status update, blogs or forums, they will tell their story of success. Customer satisfaction goes a long way when creating brand evangelists.

Ways in which CEC can identify brand evangelist is firstly by joining and staying updated with its social networks and watch for when the company name is mentioned. Another method is by understanding the type of user that the service is being created for. If CEC is creating a website for a consumer that is socially active, then it needs to place a higher priority into making sure that they are satisfied with their service. These users are likely to express their service online and their users are likely to take the advice as coming from a relevant and trusted source. Users with large social networks are a great opportunity for CEC to create brand evangelist.

Another great opportunity for CEC to get involved with its consumers online is by incorporating widgets into the company website. These widgets can be used to allow for CEC’ site visitors to communicate their thoughts and share them on their favorite social networking websites with the click of a button.

 

Credits

Eikelmann, S., Hajj, J., Peterson, M. (2007). Web 2.0: profiting from the threat. Retrieved May 21, 2010, from http://www.strategy-business.com/article/li00037

Schmitt, G. (n.d.). Meet the connected consumer. Retrieved May 21, 2010, from http://www.slideshare.net/gschmitt/meet-the-connected-consumer

Welborn, J. (2009). The eight essential steps for successful social media marketing. Retrieved May 22, 2010, from http://www.indelibuzz.com/?p=362

Internet Consumer Behavior and Analysis – Case Study

Unaware of Need:

Through the use of social networking, PPC, referrals, and directory listings, CompanyEC can generate awareness to its brand. Currently, it uses each of these marketing techniques besides that of PPC. Organic results for the keyword “Dallas Web Design” shows CompanyEC between the first and second pages of Google, first page of Yahoo and second page of Bing. There is far greater potential for implementing a PPC campaign so to address additional keywords to target. Previous statistics have shown that a majority of customers find awareness about CompanyEC through previous customer referrals. Getting involved within online networks, referral programs and campaigns will successfully and inevitably generate awareness of the brand name and image.

Aware of Need:

Potential customers will find awareness of CompanyEC and its services through the use of search engine marketing, affiliate marketing and online directories. The main focus to generate the correct awareness is by the use of relevant keywords and placing the company’s name within niche directories and affiliate websites. This campaign will need to explain to the user why CompanyEC is the best and why they should choose this company over the competitors within the market. In addition, this campaign will need to address the needs of the potential customers. To do this, keywords or key phrases could be used to draw-in the potential customers to the company.

Supplier Search:

Lead generations will come through directories, referrals, and other intermediaries. While directory leads help to generate leads, they will not be the main focus as they only generate a very small percentage of leads. Because most leads come through referrals of previous customers, including a referral program within the website may be a great way to reward previous customers for their referred lead. This reward system may also inspire more leads. Referral programs may also work best due to previous customers satisfaction of the service that they will sell to the potential customers. If CompanyEC focuses more on making sure that current customers are being satisfied, then this referral program will bring endless success.

Evaluate and Select:

CompanyEC will use its most popular and relevant content to persuade users in their purchasing decision. Statistics show that the most popular content visited by users consist of the web design portfolio page, the testimonial section, and the company’s “About Us” page. By making these pages with easy access and usability, this will allow for users to find what they are looking for with ease. In addition to making these pages relevant for usability, they will also include quick links to the “Free Estimate” form and the telephone number to contact the company for further details and to receive an estimate for services. The main pages of the website are designed to get the user to where they want to go within one or two clicks.

Purchase:

In order to facilitate a purchase, customers will first complete a free estimate form. This form is needed in order to create an accurate estimate. Those customers who have additional questions, may call in using the telephone number on the website. Nonetheless, the estimate form will be completed either by the user on the website or by the telephone representative that the potential customer gives the service details to. Once this form is completed, the customer will be sent out an official estimate email that will include a link to make a down deposit payment to get started on the project. This payment system is done either on the website or via PayPal.

Post-Purchase Evaluation & Feedback:

Once the user has completed purchasing their services, they will be offered a discount on their next purchase. This discount will be in a percentage depending on a date and service type. In addition, completing a feedback survey will also allow for the customer to express any concerns or testimonials that they have about their service. This will be beneficial for use with future customers and business practices. Another option to add as a reward for previous customers is the option to receive a cash or money-back reward for a service referral in which they will receive once that referral purchases and completes a service.

Conclusion:

CompanyEC’s current online marketing strategy is to first aim at being amongst the first page of Google’s organic results under the keyword of “Dallas Web Design.” Once this is accomplished and proven to generate more site visitors, the next step is to put focus on previous customers and referral programs. This marketing strategy will work best in this order as it allows CompanyEC to focus on one marketing avenue at a time without being overloaded as it currently builds its in-house team of designers. While focusing on progressing organically within the search engines, CompanyEC is also partnering with local companies to offer more services to its customers. Once these agreements and expansions are created, CompanyEC will then focus on heavy marketing through PPC, email marketing campaigns, referral programs, offline paper marketing and offline networking. Previous studies have shown that while this marketing strategy is successful, it isnt beneficial to gain too many customers until the company first expands on the inside. Once CompanyEC is ready to expand on the outside with its marketing strategy, using this consumer behavior and analysis chart will create an excellent guide to creating a successful marketing campaign for understanding its customers.

 

Credits

Richarme, M. (2005). Consumer decision-making models, strategies and theories, oh my!. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.decisionanalyst.com/Downloads/ConsumerDecisionMaking.pdf.

Future Now. (2002). The buying process leads to a decision to buy. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.grokdotcom.com/index10-15-2002.htm

Cheung, C. Zhu, L. Kwong, T. Chan, G. Limayem, M. (n.d). Online consumer behaviora review and agenda for future research. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://ecom.fov.uni-mb.si/proceedings.nsf/0/c9beda3ca328c8b7c1256ea1002c72b8/$FILE/16Cheun g.pdf.

Constantinides, E. (2004). Influencing the online consumer’s behavior: the web experience. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.utwente.nl/nikos/research/publications/ecpapers/constantinidespaper influencing.pdf.

Harris Interactive. (2008). Digital influence index study. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://technomarketer.typepad.com/FH/DII_2008.pdf

Chaffey et al. (2009). Internet marketing. (pp. 57 – 87). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall

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