The customer journey rarely follows a straight line. Consumers traverse multiple touchpoints across a variety of sources, channels and media types along their path to purchase. For example, a consumer might hear about a brand in an article on Elle.com, then see a makeup tutorial from Camila Coelho or gain fashion inspiration by influencer marketing, like a sponsored Chiara Ferragni post. The journey continues as she follows the brand’s own social media accounts and then eventually purchases that new lip gloss, pair of shoes or sweater that caught her eye.
Each of these interactions has influenced her purchase decision. As a result, brands need to understand the five different Voices that shape buying journeys – from awareness and consideration to conversion and retention – in order to create effective marketing plans:
Media consists of media outlets and publications like Vogue, Elle and Manrepeller.com. Traditional media is no longer just restricted to print – they house multiple digital entities both online and on social media. This includes both print and online properties as well as the social media accounts for each title. Media outlets will continue to play a significant role in building awareness for brands today, especially as they adapt to where individuals are consuming content. In a complete overhaul of operations in 2018, Glamour magazine announced that it would cease regular print publication to focus on its digital and video channels.
Celebrities have long been a favorite for generating buzz about brands on a mass-scale, and this hasn’t changed. Celebrities are individuals that are well known for something other than their digital presence, such as actors, singers, and athletes. Fashion brands are now using celebrities to reinvent their image in the consumers’ eyes – such as Coach’s collaboration with Selena Gomez. From this, the brand grew its follower count by almost 50% compared to the year before. This is also reflected in similar partnerships, such as Gigi Hadid’s capsule collection for Tommy Hilfiger which repositioned the brand in a more youthful light and attracted increased sales (Gigi has since designed four collections with the brand).
Influencers are one of the newest, but potentially most valuable Voice. They are individuals who are known for their digital presence and credibility with a targeted audience. Because influencers are relatable, they can drive conversations about products in an authentic and trustworthy way, building lasting relationships with the consumers that brands target. Influencers can help amplify your message as well as drive conversions through shoppable content or special promotions.
Influencers are categorized into four different tiers based on their follower count: Micro (10-100K followers), Mid-Tier (100-500K followers), Mega (500K-2M followers) and All-Star (over 2M followers).
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Partners are retail partners like Sephora, Matchesfashion or Farfetch who can help amplify brand messages in a more hyper-targeted way. Someone who follows Matchesfashion, for example, is much more likely to purchase their product than someone who only follows All-Star influencers like Olivia Culpo.
Finally, Owned Media is content posted on a brand’s own social media channels including Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. Brands like Glossier also rely heavily on user-generated content to fuel their platforms, which successfully builds relationships and ultimately generates sales for the niche beauty brand.
Using owned media is a great way to gain and keep customers, particularly considering the cost of acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
Because each Voice plays a role, it is important to take a unified approach to measure your marketing & communications investments.
By taking a Voice-Centric approach – backed by Media Impact Value™– brands can quickly and easily compare the performance of various marketing strategies including PR & media relations, VIP & celebrity endorsements, influencer marketing, co-marketing activities with retail partners and content & social media. With a single measurement metric, you’ll be able to see which strategies are contributing the most to brand value.
If we take a look at the channel mix from a leading Cosmetics company – where would you invest your marketing budgets?
Some may cut their PR budget because print only represented 11% of the MIV® and then shift that budget to content or influencer marketing teams to build out social media channels. However, this might be a mistake because Traditional Media – driven by PR strategies – actually represents 31% of their MIV because media publications span print, online and social properties.
As the lines between various initiatives overlap, especially when it comes to sponsored content that can generate press coverage as well as be repurposed on a brand’s own channels, it becomes even more critical to ditch the silos and have a holistic view of marketing performance.
By taking a Voice-Centric approach, brands can have a deeper understanding of which Voices are having the greatest impact. This allows them to allocate budgets more strategically to ensure they are maximizing the impact of their investments.
Do you want to find out your perfect Voices mix?
MIV®: This mark is registered in the European Union.