Hansel & Gretel and the Map to Consumer Behavior

By Rebecca Chandler

Hansel & Gretel

Are you misreading the map?  Like Hansel and Gretel on their way to the house of sweets, consumers leave a bread crumb trail of the activities they use to search for real estate and real estate professionals.  The only problem is that the Hansel and Gretel's of today are not cautiously stepping down a single path.  They might as well be flying over dumping breadcrumbs with a crop duster.

You see, today's consumers are not using any single media.  We search magazines, newspapers, websites, blog sites, social sites, mobile apps, television, radio, and billboards - basically anything that enters our stream of consciousness.   We are inundated with information and are accustomed to digesting and analyzing large amounts of information.  The National Association of REALTORS survey of home buyers and sellers indicates that they consciously searched, on average about 4.5 sources of information when shopping for a home.  And, that sounds low to me.    

Crop duster

I recently read an article on the Six Ways to Effectively Track Offline Sales on eConsultancy.com - an interactive site for digital marketers.  It lists a number (6) ways to link your offline advertising efforts to your online presence - with a reminder to digital marketers that the ultimate goal is to map the effects of consumer behavior throughout an integrated offline and online campaign. 

If you were to map your behavior, for example, you might find that you watch TV while reading the newspaper, or a magazine, or surfing the net.  You see an ad in a direct mail piece for a restaurant and you look them up online and check their reviews online or on a mobile app.   The brands you find most memorable and the purchases you make are often influenced by the frequency and quality of your interaction with that brand - through multiple means.

That's why saying that you are investing all your efforts, money or business in your social media marketing plan, or your website, or just your print ad, for that matter, means that while you're looking for Hansel and Gretel on a wooded path, they are flying over in a crop duster.

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