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The Importance of Holistic Marketing in eCommerce

Posted by Contributors on November 12, 2017

Digital marketing is complex. It includes channels that range from your website and social media accounts to paid advertisements and post-purchase emails, all aiming to both attract and retain customers. This complexity, in turn, can also complicate your marketing management.

You might outsource your email marketing to one company, and your social media management to another. Customer service is handled by a social media response team that doesn't much interact with the professionals who built your website. In today's complicated marketing world, this type of fragmentation is too typical. 

Now, consider a more holistic marketing approach as an alternative. A single, centralized team manages every ecommerce marketing message exposed to a brand's customers. From the audience's point of view, a wide range of messages get unified into a single, coherent brand story. Such an approach won't just improve your brand image in the eyes of your audience, it can elevate your digital marketing performance and improve your return on ad spend.

holistic-marketing-chart.jpgUnderstanding the Importance of Cognitive Dissonance

Advanced marketers tend to be familiar with the concept of cognitive dissonance, which describes our inability to process concepts that we think belong together but aren't consistent. When exposed to ads and other marketing content, we tend to find brands less credible who put out messages that conflict or contradict.

Too often, however, that's exactly what happens. When multiple and disconnected entities manage a single marketing strategy, consistency will be lost. The result is not just a less effective brand message, but an actual loss in credibility.

If, for instance, you project a different message in a social media ad than in a follow-up email over an abandoned cart, the chances that your audience will come back and actually finish the order decrease drastically.

A Coherent Buyer's Journey, From Discovery Through Purchase

The importance of avoiding cognitive dissonance in your marketing becomes especially important when considering your audience's buyer's journey. As they move from awareness to consideration and decision, they need to form a very distinct picture of your brand and its products in their minds. By the time they choose your brand from a variety of options and complete the check out process, they need to know exactly what to expect, and why your products are the best choice.

Achieving that type of consistency is difficult, and impossible if your marketing is disjointed or decentralized. Even with a comprehensive brand guide in place, different interpretations of that brand guide can lead to slightly different versions of a single unique selling proposition. You need a holistic approach to convince your audience on their way to (and after) the sale.

Better Coordinated Efforts = Less Marketing Waste

Finally, it's important to understand just how vital a holistic approach to digital marketing can be even on a micro level. Facebook, for instance, assigns every ad a relevance score. Google uses a similar mechanism in placing its search results ads. 

A higher relevance score means lower cost per click, along with a higher potential audience reach. The score is calculated using positive (engagement) and negative (ad hides) actions from Facebook users. In other words, the consistency of the ad is directly responsible for how well it performs.

Most eCommerce brands measure return on ad spend (ROAS) as online sales generated divided by costs. A more consistent marketing experience from your users' point of views doesn't just generate more sales, thanks to a more coherent buyer's journey. It also reduces your ad costs, improving ROAS on both sides of the equation.

Holistic Digital Marketing: A Hypothetical Example

Perhaps the best way to convey the importance of a more holistic approach to your digital strategy is through an example from your audience's point of view. Imagine a 35 year-old male, in search of new casual business wear.

They first become aware of online fashion outlets through a paid ad on a Google search, intrigued by a message of value and high-quality fabrics, they click through to read more on your website. When they get to the product page, they will only be likely to add any clothing items to the cart if that message gets reinforced throughout descriptions and visuals.

And it doesn't end there. You're probably fully aware that the majority of online shoppers (70 percent, in fact) abandon their cart. These shoppers need to be convinced to come back, through additional ads and follow-up emails. And even after they finally check out, it makes sense to stay in touch with them to encourage repeat purchases.

All of these messages are separate from the brand's point of view. But for customers, they all need to be consistent, highlighting your core value proposition. Only holistic digital marketing can get you to that point, improving the coherence within your strategy and maximizing your message effectiveness as you attract and retain new customers during the peak holiday retail season.

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Topics: Ecommerce, Marketing, Digital marketing, agencies

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