Signals vs. Noise: How to Interpret What Consumers Are Telling You

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We hear a lot about all the noise being thrown at consumers in the way of marketing messages. Every day, they’re being bombarded with advertising, social media updates, content, commercials, and more from brands desperate to get their attention.

But with the noise marketers create, we’ve developed a problem of our own. All our marketing messages are reaching customers, to be sure, but customers send signals that we need to interpret in order to nurture leads. The problem is, there are simply too many signals to know what to do with.

A Complicated Journey to a Sale

2017 consumer journey

Consider today’s buyer’s journey. Where in the past, there was one, maybe two steps between introducing a consumer to a product, and then getting the subsequent sale, there are now dozens of touch points as consumers flip from one device or channel to another. Savvy marketers must be able to not only connect with potential customers on each channel and each device, but also deliver content most appropriate to where a buyer is in the journey.

And yet, all these touch points create a massive number of consumer signals being emitted from consumers. It’s frustrating. According to the recent report released by RadiumOne and the Mobile Marketing Association, The Impact of Mobile Signals on the Consumer Journey, 66% of marketers say they are not confident that they have identified the most critical signals in their customer’s journey.

That means we’re putting out a lot of effort to reach our customers…and yet we’re not sure if we’re succeeding.

Focus on What Matters…To You

The truth is, only a fraction of these consumer signals matter, and what another company measures may be unimportant to your team. The important thing is to identify the signals that best indicate results for your marketing efforts. Here are some of the buckets of signals that might factor into your metrics and analysis.

Mobile: The Next Marketing Frontier is Here

Mobile marketing is no longer futuristic; it’s reality. And yet, with it comes a ton more data. In fact, 80% of marketers say that data has grown significantly or exponentially due to mobile data. And so it becomes a challenge to determine which signals, such as app use and in-app purchases, you need to read.

Sharing Behavior: If It Wasn’t Shared, Did It Actually Happen?

Social media continues to provide — pardon the pun — social proof of a brand’s reach. Consumers are both searching for content from brands as well as sharing it, so understanding the value of these signals may be key in your campaigns.

Content Engagement: Creating Real Value for Consumers

Simply creating informative content is only one part of the equation; you then need an audience for it who will read it, click it, and share it. Measuring these signals can give you better indication of which topics or articles are really reaching your audience.

Customer Data: How Can You Make the Experience Better?

Some of the best signals to measure are those of actual customers. What are they buying? How long are they spending on your site? What page did they exit on? All of this information helps you provide a better user experience on your website.

Campaign Data: Looking at the Big Picture

While you may get more granular with the signals you examine in your marketing efforts, you also need the big picture of your campaign. What worked with it? What failed? Use this insight to shape future campaigns.

Match the Message to the Stage in the Buyer’s Journey

Once you brush away the extra signals that you don’t need to pay attention to, you’re left with gold. Use that data to really align your marketing strategy with what your customers want. But go one step further: realize that each lead is in a different step in the buyer’s journey, and that your marketing will need to be tailored to each segment.

Let’s use the example of a website that sells luxury purses. For those just beginning to research solutions, you can focus on providing useful general information. You’d write articles about the lifetime value of a luxury purse, or how to care for one. Once a buyer gets to the next phase, she’s considering what brand to buy. That’s where you want to target your message around how your purses compare to the competition. Maybe they’re handmade by little Nonnas in the Italian Alps. Finally, in the decision stage, you need just a light nudge to get people to buy from you. Maybe that means sending a special offer via email.

When you match the message to the stage in the journey, you line up your efforts with what a lead needs at that moment. From there, you assess the resulting signals, lather, rinse, and repeat.

The amount of signals out there is daunting, yes, but if you cut through the noise, you can get right to what really matters to your customer.


Consumer Signals

Download our New eBook: Deciphering Mixed Consumer Signals

For a deep-dive into this topic we invite you to download our new consumer journey eBook, Deciphering Mixed Signals – How to Cut Through the Noise to Elevate Your Marketing Strategy, so you can better understand the importance of identifying and leveraging the right consumer signals, using predictions for media campaigns, and how to activate campaigns that drive real ROI.