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This paper explores changes in the purchase process for consumer goods (automobiles, electronics, and groceries) brought about by digital and social media. Commissioned by the Advertising Research Foundation; conducted by Communispace, comScore, Converseon, and Firefly Millward Brown; sponsored by General Motors, Google, Kraft, Motorola, and Young & Rubicam; and with guidance from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the qualitative, quantitative, and social-listening research was conducted in 2011.
Findings indicate that digital and social media have empowered consumers, and that brands have an important role in facilitating conversations amongst consumers and themselves, openly sharing the values that will help consumers connect with them and with each other. The research shows that some “shopping” behaviors are taking place outside of consumer consciousness, as digital and social media have infiltrated consumers’ lives and continue to provide them with opportunities to explore, engage, and validate ideas about brands in a medium that puts them more in control.
Digital and social media—often thought of as merely information-gathering venues—also drive consumer emotion, albeit in distinctly different ways, by product category; even consumers shopping for groceries online desire an experience that allows them to discover something new. Clear implications of the research are that new consumer-engagement metrics should be added to the evolving purchase decision model, and that there is a need for marketers to actively participate in simplifying online information for consumers. Marketers also have an opportunity to leverage digital and social media to facilitate conversations about their products and brands.
This white paper was based on an Arrowhead project called Digital & Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process. Learn about the Arrowhead Project here!
Please contact Peter Orban if you have any questions, thank you.