Understanding consumer behaviour has always been the most difficult task for marketer since customer mapping can never be accurate. There are always many fcators at work during a purchase decision. And it is not always possible to know which are the factors. How customers decide what solutions they need, which services they need, or what vendor to work with seems to move in peaks and valleys. With social media on the scene and companies embracing it to get closer to customers, the question is arising again. The real question is, how does social media contribute to a customer’s purchase decision?
Taking visitors to social media networks or connections to social media marketing efforts into the sales process has thus far eluded marketing.
Social networking, where marketers are looking to develop one-to-one relationships, are not as frequented by decision makers. The other area to connect directly, internet forums, is also a lagging vehicle. On the other hand, traditional vehicles such as a news site and personal email are ingrained in everyday behavior. Social media, as a newer communication and information source, requires change in a decision maker’s behavior. Other tools, such as mobile devices, were readily adopted due to teh fact that they mimicked and incorporated existing communication methods. It wasn’t as much of a leap for people to make. Social media, on the other hand, my be too different from how decision makers gather information or collaborate.
In a world where the journalist is considered a dying breed, across the board responents recognized the role they play in a professionals workday. In fact, the gap is significant when compared to blogs. This seems to point to a need to value and validated content versus opinion. Another aspect to consider is that business journals are still able to sell online content and information. Social media in time may become a trusted source of informtion, but today’s the number indicate that decision makers as designated by generation still rely and trust traditional sources. Blogs, forums, and networks may still be seens as commentary and biased even is they are produced in journalistic fashion.
Social media in business is still an immature source even as the hype has reached a crescendo. If social media is not used regularly in a workday, it does not have the marketing power to transform engagement into sales. Purchase decisions are complex and content and engagement needs to happen in a manner that creates trust, credibility, and aligns to the customer decision process.