Technology has greatly changed the standard path to purchase model over the years. Consumers can become aware of a product from a variety of mediums in a myriad of ways. When exploring how to create product awareness, brands should no longer view the path to purchase as a linear movement from awareness to consideration, to action, to loyalty. Rather, there can be false starts leading to dead-ends, some doubling back to find the way, and influences from other paths that take buyers in another direction entirely. For marketers, the goal is to drive sustained awareness throughout the journey in hopes of delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time, in the right manner.
Why Is Awareness So Important on the Path to Purchase?
Awareness is not the only touchpoint on a customer’s path to purchase, but it is important because of the following:
- Awareness is the first and most necessary stage of the buyer journey. Without noticing your brand or product, there is zero chance of a sale. You can’t win the race if you’re not in the running. So, for fledgling companies, awareness is the essential first step. Many brands budget considerably to saturate the market with logos, social media presence, content creation, online ad placement, and promotional events.
- Awareness is a SMART goal for both new and established brands. You can think of awareness on a broader scale to not only include name recognition but also attribute awareness—which is the awareness of a brand’s or product’s benefits and features. For instance, big brands that have achieved awareness may focus their marketing efforts on more specific campaigns for new products.
- Skipping efforts to build awareness can be off-putting to prospects. Keller Research Center considered what happens when a brand skips awareness efforts. They found 28% of cold calls were willing to engage in a conversation with sales professionals, but only 1% of those prospects converted. On the other hand, another study found that nurtured leads resulted in a 20% increase in sales opportunities. “Warming up” prospects can be done at every level.
- For the unaware target market, you can provide timely, shareable blog posts to establish yourself as a thought leader.
- For the slightly aware, you can use SEO optimization, content, and targeted ads to position yourself as the solution to their problems.
- For the “mostly” aware, you can expound upon the details by providing a helpful run-down of product benefits and features, sharing reviews and testimonials, or emails to enhance knowledge.
- For the very aware, you can offer value through discounts, deals, rewards, loyalty programs, or VIP service.
How to Create Product Awareness That Leads to Sales
The ultimate goal of building product awareness is to drive sales, sustained interest, continued loyalty, and retained market-share over other competing brands and products. The best approach involves many irons in the fire. Brands should consider the following ways to raise product awareness:
Leverage Video to Get (and Stay) on Consumers’ Radars
A compelling, effective video can lift brand awareness considerably and provide an obstacle-free path to purchase. For instance, a Marley Spoon meal kit service video explaining the service with a direct response option increased brand awareness by 25%, led to a 49% lift in ad recall, increased search volume nearly 10 times, and boosted incremental conversions by 52%.
In another case, Axis Bank created a series of targeted videos to address areas of service like paying mobile bills, opening fixed deposit accounts, or making big purchases. These efforts improved brand search interest by 234%, increased brand search volume by 93%, and drove new customer accounts by 30%.
Video is not only useful for creating awareness, but for sustaining it as well—particularly when you consider that more than half of consumers “would like to see more video content from a brand or business they support.”
Choose a Strategic Partnership to Expand Scope
While paid ads can be super targeted, consumers can become so accustomed to seeing them that these messages get inadvertently tuned-out. Sometimes you send so many of these messages, your prospects may block your ads or unsubscribe from your emails.
Finding a strategic partnership with influencers, like-minded brands, or aesthetically similar companies can yield a collaboration that serves a useful purpose for your target demographic and adds value to their lives. The right partnership not only increases awareness but expands your customer base as well.
One example is that of Kanye West and Adidas. Kanye’s celebrity appeal benefits Adidas by creating buzz around its apparel, and the athletic-wear brand gives Kanye a well-established platform to build his high-end clothing line: Yeezy. One of the strongest draws of Yeezy—and most notably its shoes—is its exclusivity: Kanye’s celebrity status, extremely scarce roll-outs, and the high price tag make those who own Yeezy sneakers feel exclusive. The combination of Kanye’s personal brand and Adidas’ growing streetwear segment has made for robust company earnings and brand growth since it was introduced. Adidas’ co-branding relationship with Kanye and the resulting cult-like Yeezy following led to a stellar year for the company: in 2019, Adidas’ net income climbed 19.5% to $1.9 billion.
Another example is that of Spotify’s partnership with Uber. Ride sharers could create and listen to their own playlists or choose their preferred streaming channel during their rides—which set them apart from close competitors like Apple or Amazon Music. Uber could then use music choice as a differentiator from competitors like Lyft or local cabbies.
Maintain Awareness With the Power of Mobile
In this brave new world of marketing complexity, research indicates more customers are holding off their final purchase decisions until the moment they’re in a store. During this crucial product decision stage, price remained the most prominent factor considered. However, the ultimate indicator of marketing success is the ability to gain the sale without the need for price-cutting.
Mobile apps provide a unique disruptor. For example, the mobile shopping rewards platform Shopkick allows brands to maintain awareness, offer value without dropping prices, and convert browsers to buyers at that crucial in-aisle moment. Leading brands like Kellogg’s and Barilla are exploring mobile platform partnerships as an effective way to increase incremental purchases, increase in-store engagement, and drive sales conversions despite crowded aisles with countless competitors.
Here’s how the rewards platform works: Shopkickers begin their purchase journey by browsing engaging in-app content from several brands and retailers, whether they’re at home or on the go. This content includes curated lookbooks, informative video ads, and more. For partners, this content helps build pre-shop awareness and consideration, and puts products at the top of shoppers’ minds.
Users can check the Shopkick app to see which brands or retailers offer “kicks,” or rewards points, which incentivize shoppers to visit a store or browse online. In-store, Shopkick utilizes an engaging gamification strategy that drives shoppers to products at-shelf and encourages physical product interaction in exchange for kicks. This allows brands to boost product awareness when it truly matters most—in-aisle, with the product in hand. By offering users an additional kick incentive for making a purchase, Shopkick closes the loop and drives sales. Eventually, Shopkick users redeem their kicks for free gift cards, which builds a positive affinity and loyalty for the brands and retailers that awarded them.
The path-to-purchase is about connecting with consumers on the channels they use every day through a series of micro-moments.
The path-to-purchase is about connecting with consumers on the channels they use every day through a series of micro-moments. Awareness is not a one-time event, but rather, a series of touchpoints that keep the flow toward purchase, repeat purchase, and loyalty moving forward. Through video, strategic partnerships, and mobile marketing, you optimize your message for your targeted prospects in valuable ways to proactively meet the demands of modern-day audiences.
Image courtesy of Robert Kneschke