Deciphering Customer Intentions in an Online World

The digital narrative can be explained as an evolutionary process, just like any young and yet to be established phenomenon.  Enter Steve Woods, CEO of Eloqua.  It was an enlightening discussion on the future of marketing in a highly digitized world at the Ivey Centre in Toronto, when Woods, author of “The Digital Body Language” addressed the crowd.  Woods spoke vehemently about the state of marketing in the business to business cycle, a discussion many want to partake in, but often don’t know where to begin.  With the message that marketing and sales need to strategize and execute in tandem, it’s clear that Woods wants to uncover customer patterns and behaviours in an online world.

Consumers and strategic managers alike know that marketing as a discipline is changing.  And how could it not? Because ‘The Four P’s’ of marketing are based on information scarcity, buying patterns can’t help but be revolutionized before our eyes.  Buyers have access to more information and as such the creation and dissemination of information is now done at no cost – a deeply profound concept.

Woods explains that in order to reach customers effectively we need to maintain permission from them to stay in contact, and that means understanding their profile.  But don’t be mistaken; Woods wants us to recognize that data is not synonymous with relationship building, because relationships in their very essence are about familiarity.

Woods emphasizes the importance of metric driven actions in order to be fully strategic in the consumer and buying cycle.  He believes that in order for marketing to have a bigger seat at the table, leaders must exemplify the ability to impact revenue and the buying process as a whole.  In essence, Woods is looking ahead at a new generation of metrics and believes that marketing needs to shift its approach and respond to actions in order to be valued as part of the strategic consumption experience.

“Rather than looking at demographics, we should be looking at the psychographics of the consumer,” says Woods.  With the effervescent emphasis and benefits of online search, this model has become a filtering mechanism.  The two important things to be aware of in this realm are where results come from and why they appear in a given hierarchy.  If you can’t add more value than Google and search in a sales conversation, then you need to re-evaluate your model.

Woods understands the complexity of the digital landscape in a pragmatic and palpable way.  We live and exist online and understanding and deciphering Woods’ narrative comes at no better time.