Impact of Digital on Marketing and How the Geeks Took Over

Going back twenty years from now we can divide the age of internet into four digital epochs.

Since the purchase of the first banner ad by AT&T on, up until now: the age of unicorns.

Unicorn is a term which describes tech startups with the evaluation of $1 billion.

Neither Google nor Amazon was ever worth $1 billion as a private company but we’re at a point where we have herds of unicorns – startups having the magical $1 billion valuation before going public.

It’s the digital epoch of prosperity.

After tracing the Internet age, it’s interesting to look at marketing over this period of 20 years, especially the year 2005 after the bubble and the burst but before Facebook had taken roots.

Proctor & Gamble came out with a three step marketing model and called it The First Moment of Truth.

This model proposed that the consumer needs some sort of stimulus. It can either be an ad or something that triggers a need to have a certain product.

Maybe they run out of product, maybe they hear about another through their social network – but the stimulus happens.

This model proposed that the consumer needs some sort of stimulus.

It can either be an ad or something that triggers a need to have a certain product.

Maybe they run out of product, maybe they hear about another through their social network – but the stimulus happens.

Next step involves the first moment of truth where consumers find themselves in the market with a number of different options and they must choose.

According to P&G this is the real battleground where brands have to fight for attention and get themselves noticed over the others.

And the second moment of truth happens after a consumer makes a purchase decision and gets home with the product. Does the product live up to its expectations? This experience is vital, both for the consumer as well as the brand.

This model of marketing was coined in 2005 but the world is not quite the same as it was back then.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

This is right around the time that P&G has released its theory.

It describes the consumer behaviour at the installation of Pope Benedict in Rome in St Peter’s Square.

Then eight short years later, the same place in 2013 at the installation of Pope Francis, you can notice the dramatic change in consumer behaviour.

All due to the mobile technology which exploded during this time.

Our devices became so much more powerful every single year and got smaller and smaller.

They became a vital part of our lives – forever changing our shopping experience.

It became possible for consumers to gain access to any kind of product information or nearly any person they wanted to connect with.

This is the reason why Google introduced the idea of ZMOT in 2011, The Zero Moment of Truth.

Zero Moment of Truth is the time between stimulus and the first moment of truth when consumers are collecting information about the brands, doing evaluations, checking their social network to see how they feel about certain products.

They are also leaving behind a trail of online data while collecting these inputs.

The studies conducted by Google in 2011 determined the new buyer’s journey:

  • 50 percent of shoppers used a search engine to research a product or brand.
  • 38 percent comparison shopped online (reviews, prices and so on).
  • 36 percent checked out the brand/manufacturer’s website.
  • 31 percent read online endorsements, reviews or recommendations.

Follow up study of 2014 suggested that approximately one-third of all CPG(Consumer Packaged Goods) searches now originate from smartphones.

When consumers are moving around to different websites and social media channels, it’s an important time to understand them so they can still be moved in their decision.

Consumers are producing and exposing a vast amount of data about themselves.

Not exactly a neat picture though, it’s messy all the way through from receiving a stimulus till the point of purchase.

Eventually more marketers in the meeting rooms started asking the question – what is the data telling us?

This is the moment where the true impact of digital can be observed and digital marketing really kicks in.

Facebook’s success as one of the biggest companies in the world is built entirely around the extraction of consumer data.

We gladly offered our information and invested our precious time on it.

Now if I say Facebook knows more about us than our friends and family, it wouldn’t be wrong.

No other platform probably has as much consumer data as Facebook.

They use it to full effect by targeting specific ads at millions of users everyday while offering Facebook Analytics to track consumer behavior on the social network.

Google is yet another giant.

It’s dominating the internet with tools like Google Adwords, Google Analytics and many more – providing marketers the ability to track behavior online and subsequently targeting consumers throughout their journey.

But operating these tools in an efficient manner requires an analyst(geek) who can collect information from this data and draw some sort of conclusions.

The dominant strategic forces within marketing started sharing the power of decision making with geeks.

Characteristics of a geek:

  • A geek is someone who is obsessed with data and excel sheets.
  • Someone who regularly seeks and tries to understand patterns in everything related to consumer behavior, business events and marketing programs.
  • He knows buls*** when he sees one and calls it for what it is.

This is how the geeks took over a field which was traditionally driven by big creative personalities.

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