In 1989, the worldwide web was born. Its usage grew fast and in just a few years it became widely available as a communications tool. Pam Ashby, co-founder of Prisma Broadcast, reflects on the power now wielded by prospects and the audiences for marketing.

“The buyer is now in complete control,” she confirms. “When we’re considering investing in a new product or service, we go online and we look. If we’re looking to do business with someone, or searching for an expert, we have the means to explore options. We research people – very often even while we’re on the phone to them. Perhaps you may look at LinkedIn, to see what their level of experience is or which sectors they’ve worked in.

“People may be online during a business meeting. They’re finding out who you are.

“We can research everything online. If we choose to, we can find out a lot of history about the people and the organisations that we’re dealing with. Buyers can look very quickly at your competitors, evaluating their offering against your own. Having analysed a marketplace ourselves, we can then compare that to other people’s analysis.

“Buyers have the power to build a much faster picture of products, markets, services, than has previously been possible. Everything they see online affects their evaluation and their final buying decision.”

The internet is a critical element of your customer decision journey. The trick is to understand how that interlinks with the offline conversations and information that also contribute, and ensure you integrate your communication and make the messaging consistent.

Online, offline, face-to-face – integration and consistency matter.

The worldwide web has changed how we communicate forever. It's critical that we now evaluate and update traditional marketing to be effective in this new world. We need to build relationships, through an integrated approach that recognises the need for transparency, trust and collaboration.

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