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.
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.
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