Commentary

Catering To Digital Mindsets

In the age of real-time digital convenience, you may get only one chance to wow consumers and secure their loyalty. Brands today are judged by the quality of their digital experience, and many consumers will find it hard to shed the bitter taste left by a frustrating session on your site.

On the flip side, businesses that can provide a uniquely engaging and highly convenient experience will be able to retain consumers and nurture a meaningful, long-term brand connection.

The key to keeping users engaged is of course to develop experiences that meet their needs and expectations, and meet the high standards of digital convenience set by the new generation of digital disruptors. And with brands racing to find the next frontier in consumer convenience, anything less than seamless just doesn’t cut it in today’s digital marketplace.

But giving users the experience they want starts with a sophisticated understanding of what consumers are trying to achieve, and how outside interferences impact the way they go about fulfilling these objectives.

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The savviest brands understand that one consumer does not equal one customer decision journey. Visitors will engage with your site differently depending on their immediate circumstances or their digital end goals.

Insofar as they do not take into account the variables that impact consumer navigation, traditional personas — still a cornerstone of many a marketing strategy — can only give you an incomplete picture of user behavior. Knowing the age, marital status, occupation, or media subscriptions of one of your target audiences can tell you some things about how they shop online, but it can’t tell you everything. Other factors will come to bear on how a particular demographic engages with your brand online.

Pushing products to someone who is looking for a store locator, for example, may be off-putting. On the other hand, unnecessarily interrupting the buyer journey for someone with a strong purchasing agenda may lose you a customer.

Browsing for rental cars for an imminent getaway on a laptop in bed will trigger a certain set of feelings. But that same visitor checking out a summer sale from a subway platform with spotty WiFi may have a lower tolerance for heavy inspirational content. In short, one persona can go through several different mindsets in one day — and sometimes even in one browsing session.

Adding intent and context to a persona unlocks a user’s mindset, allowing for a deeper understanding of user behavior. The persona methodology gives digital marketing teams a static understanding of the ideal customer, but the beauty of a methodology based on consumer mindset is that it gives a realistic and dynamic one.  

The good news is that technology is adapting fast to brands’ need to understand the fast-changing patterns of user behavior. By adding crucial layers of understanding to traditional persona segmentation, a new breed of analytics is helping teams keep up with the fluid nature of consumer behavior.

By taking into account the impact of intent (for example, looking for a store locator) and context (for example, on a laptop in bed) on navigation, digital teams are able to better understand their customers, and identify the needs and behavioral patterns of their best-performing mindsets. In turn, they can build experiences that address the emotions of their most profitable segments for an even more profound example of the concept of seamlessness. 

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