PALM DESERT, CA: Marketers should work out how they will reach the “homes” of consumers, as well as their “heads” and “hearts”, according to Randall Rothenberg, President/CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Rothenberg discussed the rise of brands selling products directly to consumers using digital channels during the IAB’s Annual Leadership meeting. This process, in turn, is reshaping how marketers can connect with their target audiences.

“The last mile to the home is shrinking – for more consumers, more companies, in more categories, day by day,” he said.(For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Ecommerce revolution: Digital delivers brands to the head, heart and the home.)

Such a trend, he added, implies there are now “three ‘last miles’ that any consumer brand must traverse” – the other two being rational claims that appeal to the head, and emotional messaging that pulls at the heartstrings.

Digital – and “even more specifically, the cloud-based internet”, Rothenberg said – is effectively “closing the gaps” that traditionally separated brands and consumers on all three of these dimensions.

“The cloud took this increasingly finely-tuned ability to manage supply and demand across borders, and enabled it to segment down to the individual level,” he continued.

“For the first time, it became possible for customers to make demands of companies as individuals – and to have those demands fulfilled.”

In fact, the utility of this technology means the “individual connectedness between companies and consumers – an impossibility just 25 years ago– is now an assumed right.

“Today, J.D. Power says two-thirds of consumers expect direct connectivity to companies. An equivalent number say they use companies’ websites for servicing.”

Given there is a growing slate of digital purchasing channels, subscription models, product personalisation options and data streams – from first-party insights to third-party information – to coordinate, brands must become more sophisticated.

“It is not just about consumer convenience. It is not just about data. It is not just about the sale. It is about all three, together, inextricably intertwined,” said Rothenberg.

Sourced from WARC