Infographic: The Right (Marketing) Tool for the Job

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Everything may look like a nail when you have a hammer—or an opportunity for email marketing when you have an engaged customer—but in marketing the adage “the right tool for the job” is where the real opportunity for impact lies.

In fact, although consumers consider search engines and brand and retail websites to be useful when shopping online, those tools do little to impact shoppers' behavior; instead, daily deal sites and retailer social media efforts are more likely to change buyer behavior, according to Ryan Partnership's Digital Shopping Tool Impact Study 2013. Conversely, consumers rank brand and retailer email, online product reviews, and shopping apps as most useful when shopping online—and those tools are highly likely to impact buyer behavior.

The study, which comprises the results of a survey of more than 10,000 consumers, probed into their knowledge and use of 16 digital tools across 12 product categories and 12 retail channels.

Not surprisingly, 86% of shoppers are familiar with retailer websites, 84% with search engines, and 81% with printable coupons. This familiarity is followed by retailer emails (78%), brand websites (76%), daily deal sites (75%), brand emails (72%), and brand social media (71%). The digital tools with lowest awareness among shoppers include shopping apps (54%), retailer texts (51%), and mobile payment (43%).

Awareness, however, doesn't translate to usage. According to the study, mobile payment has an awareness of 43%, but only 6% of shoppers (which equals 14% of those aware) have used mobile payment when shopping. Conversely, retailer websites have an awareness of 86%, and 61% of consumers have used them (i.e. 71% of those aware).

Further, some digital tools have a greater impact on actual customer behavior than others.  While some tools have high usage—Ryan Partnership defines this as “penetration”—other tools are far more likely to drive actual behavior. For instance, although search engines (cited by 61% of respondents), store websites (55%), and printable coupons (54%) top the list in terms of usage, retailer texts (31%), brand and retailer emails (30% each), and brand social media (30%) have the highest impact.


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