Decision making is a simple yet complex process. Have you ever wondered how you got to a certain choice or what may have influenced you into taking that next step? Decision making is multi-layered and often it’s not fully understood. So, what does this mean for the way marketers are thinking about and how they are targeting their clients?

In today’s world marketers and advertisers seek to understand decision making in a digital context. Using lesson for past marketing initiatives, while also understanding how changes to technology are impacting the decision life cycle. Fortunately, we have loads of data points to help us better understand potential and existing customers. However, be conscious of using data for the sake of using it. A large part of using data effectively in your marketing initiatives and campaigns, requires thorough interpretation of what the actual data means. A good marketer will have a grip on interpreting data as well as being able to craft communications that identify with the audience that they are targeting.

It’s relatively easy to spot a brand that hasn’t done their homework on the audience that they are trying to target, whether they are operating in a business to customer (B2C) or a business to business (B2B) environment. To spot a brand that isn’t fully utilising the data available on their audience you just need to pick one of the irrelevant brands that is following you around the internet. It is fascinating to see how different brands approach creating an audience, many trust the categories that are presented on Facebook and other platforms. The real power lies in combining the audiences created by platforms like Facebook with data from a few other sources. Some may argue that B2B marketing is just getting started in the digital marketing space, but I think that it has actually been around for a while and that the so call “different” approaches to B2B and B2C are not entirely separate. We can learn a lot by thinking about how communicate to both of these audiences and where it is relevant for your brand to be as there is often a bit of an overlap.

One of the main similarities for me between B2C and B2B, is that in both cases you are talking to and directing your messages at real people. I understand that this may sound like a rhetorical statement, but because technology offers marketers a mechanism to reach a significant number of people with ease it is something that I always remember to emphasise in my own digital thinking. Never forget the person…

Having access to data has added a powerful tool into our tool box as marketers and designers. In unpacking the way decisions are made we also need to factor in the changes that occur in technology and which technology is relevant to our audiences based on where they are located. I won’t go through all of my thinking or research points, but here are a few examples.

  • Facebook’s launch of Libra, as their very own crypto currency or digital dollar, clearly signals that they are wanting to create an interoperable platform. What does this mean if your business is targeting or providing a service to small businesses?
  • Youtube’s launch of augmented reality into their videos, is a massive step towards offering customers the ability to virtually experience different product offerings. This blog by Ad Age showcases how it works in the makeup brands could utilise the offering.
  • Snap Chat is back and its filters are causing quite the stir. The gender swopping saw downloads dramatically increase. What does this platform offer marketers and how can we use it to recent a specific audience? We should definitely be paying more attention to it.
  • Slack drives cloud based collaboration between teams and this week they listed directly on the New York Stock Exchange without an IPO. They definitely took a risk by listing directly, but what can we learn from the way that they approached it? There are also significant lessons that we can learn from their approach to digital collaboration in the working environment.
  • Zoom continues to change the way meetings are conducted and allows teams to collaborate around the globe. The growth in the use of Zoom is something that we should track closely as it have implications for how clients may interacted with sales teams.
  • Airbnb’s launch of their Airbnb Experiences—offering locals the opportunity to host a unique activity for guests visiting their area. Having already disrupted the accommodation space with their shared economy thinking, this offering provides an avenue for tourism/activity partners to explore.

There are new tweaks, improvements, new products and changes being made in the digital world on a daily, if not hourly, basis. As a result, there is a lot for marketers to consider. We need to unpack how people are making decisions and how these ongoing technology/platforms changes influence how the target audience is interacting with marketing messages that are being distributed.

One of the biggest errors is that people promoting brands, products and services forget to consider the entire journey that clients may have. We need to think of the journey as entirely connected, we can’t isolate separate elements of it. A client could have multiple touch points with your brand while making their decision and do these points all make sense or are they disconnected?

While data analysis has been around in marketing for a couple of years now, it is just getting started as far as I am concerned. There is still much for us to learn and do, especially as we move towards a world with increased privacy regulations, private groups and encrypted messages. These changes don’t mean the end for advertising, they mean that we need to adapt and change the way we think about connecting with different audiences.

We need to be far more aware of everything that is going on around us. It is all far more connected than it may appear to be at first glance. The influence of the digital world is growing, but we need to remember that we are still dealing with real people. We can learn a lot from history and studying the way people make decisions. It’s an exciting time to be thinking about the influence the digital world is having on our decision making.