Where are you going to buy and what will influence you in 2013?

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It’s no real surprise to anyone that people still spend more time shopping in the real world at the moment; but could we see a shift start to happen in 2013? Will more people recognise the benefits of buying online and what will their major influences be?

Another angle that we need to start paying attention to when we talk ecommerce is that of mobile ecommerce — or mcommerce (if we really have to!). People are becoming more and more comfortable buying things online, but that’s with their desktops and laptops; what we are also seeing is an increase in people using their smartphones or tablets to purchase goods online.

This steadily increasing wave of online purchasing means that retailers are having to employ a few tactics to ensure that they are reaching you — the consumer — with consistent messaging and the availability of their offering via any available channel. Retailers in the US were surveyed recently by CrossView, and this is how they scored:

There does seem to be some discrepancy between the people buying and the people selling about which forms of advertising are most effective at communicating and converting into sales.

Interestingly, internet users still place a lot of emphasis on television advertising as a mechanism to be alerted of products and services; while conversely they place little comfort in blogs and industry publications.

Now the reason as to why this is interesting is because anyone interested in online marketing would argue that they are placing extra time and effort in their blogging and social media profiles. People are throwing time at content creation and strategy in an effort to convince the consumer that their offering is better. Is this then a waste of time?

Well…. No… This is not a sign that internet marketing, digital marketing, online marketing (whatever you care to call it) is a waste of time and energy. The message that marketers is rather more sobering.

But first I have a theory… The above survey was looking at “advertising” and how effective it is. Do you — as a consumer — think of blogs and content as a form of advertising? Especially if it is giving you something credible — if it is giving you some thought-provoking hint of a solution to your problem or need? My bet is: ”no”.

You see, online marketing is not an advertising silver bullet! It is not the proverbial prodigal son that will automatically convert all blog posts into scintillating conversation and leads and conversions. No online has matured from being “new media” into just “media” just like every other channel.

Internet marketing has its place just like TV has its place. It has its pros and its cons. Understanding as much will make the difference to any marketing and communications mix — and the first clue is that advertising and marketing are not synonyms for each other!

Google calls it ZMOT — and if you don’t know what ZMOT is, you had best find out! Essentially ZMOT is willing the Zero Moment Of Truth. This is the moment that almost every consumer in the world almost inevitebly arrives at.

It’s that moment between when they realise they have a need for something and the moment when they physically go out and buy something to solve their need. It’s the moment when the smart phone, the tablet, the computer are opened up and all manner of research is done to find out what they need to solve their need. It’s reviews, blogs, forums, social networks, websites, YouTube and emails. We all need to learn how to win that Zero Moment — to place our content and their products there.

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