How Content Discovery is Intelligently Helping Brands Reach Consumers

Feb. 5, 2018

BY TARA CARTER

 

The Web is essentially at everyone’s fingertips, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy to find answers to common questions or solutions to typical problems. In fact, conducting research for a specific topic is usually quite cumbersome and time consuming. Often times, effectively researching a specific topic requires looking up multiple keyword variants, all leading to a mound of different websites to sort through and tons of information to analyze.

On the flip side, from a corporate perspective, companies are faced with the difficult challenge of presenting their offering to the right customers. Finding that ideal customer in a ready-to-purchase state is challenging. Products and services can easily get lost in the crowd, and advertising doesn’t provide the results it once did.

Here’s where the need for a content discovery Software as a Service (SaaS), with an intuitive, data-based engine as its backbone, becomes extremely valuable - for both the customer with a highly specific need and the brand trying to reach customers who are ready-to-purchase.

How Customers Make Buying Decisions

Before a customer decides to pay for a product or service, they often conduct extensive research. In addition to clicking on ads and reviewing social media posts, they often utilize a search engine to find information online. In many cases, they’re not even looking for a product, rather, they’re looking for a solution to their problem. But unfortunately, search engine results are commonly too broad to help someone solve a specific problem. That’s where finding the right content comes into play.

Providing better and more thorough product information is an important differentiator to compete in the market. Customers have become very specific in their needs. For example, instead of broadly looking for “beauty cream,” many are instead searching for a highly specific product or service that fulfills many different criteria. So instead of a broad search for “beauty cream,” what the customer may actually want is a beauty cream that’s 100% organic, that contains specific anti-aging ingredients, that doesn’t contain certain allergens, that was not tested on animals, that fits within a certain price range, and so on.

Additionally, customers are commonly solution driven when looking for a product. Instead of searching for “beauty cream,” along with the specific criteria mentioned above, consumers are more likely to search for how to look younger or how to reduce wrinkles.

Increasing the number of search criteria and becoming more solution-oriented is only one piece of the puzzle for brands to reach consumers’ pockets. Consumers are more likely to take advice from sources other than the brand itself.

The Need for a Credible Information Source

According to Oracle Consumer Review, “54% [of consumers] regularly employ two or more channels before they make a purchase.” That means if a business wants to sell products and services, someone else must be positively talking about them. A brand gains credibility when someone else suggests their products or services as a solution to their particular problem. This must come from an independent information source that is considered trustworthy, an unbiased subject matter expert on products and services. That’s where a content discovery service comes into play.

By utilizing intuitive, data-based logic, a content discovery engine can help direct customers towards the the specific products and services that match their exact needs. 

For example, a content discovery service for the beauty industry would ask relevant and specific questions to determine how to both solve a customer’s problem and match to their highly specific criteria. An intelligent engine then searches available content online and finds a product or solution that meets their exact needs.

Which Content Qualifies?

While much of the content found on the internet is in written form, content in this case is more broadly defined. Content being discovered can be anything to do with an industry, including products and services. For example, it could be beauty products, mystery books, specialty coffee products, educational programs, recycling services, country music, Italian restaurants, and so on.

How Content Discovery Works

The content discovery service can be tied to any specific industry. If the service is organized well, customers will start their search by answering relevant questions designed to fulfill their personalized needs. The content discovery engine then conducts an intuitive search of available content on the web and displays product or service results that match the customer’s specific criteria.

The content discovery service takes on stages 2 through 4 of the consumer’s decision-making process. The service allows consumers to perform in-depth searches, shares all products or services that meet their exact needs and allows customers to feel comforted that all of their personalized requirements are being met in the product they decide to purchase. From a consumer perspective, the engine serves as a trusted and convenient central repository for all content on a specific topic. It allows them to identify products and services that meet their exact needs and, taking it a step further, allows them to compare their intelligently matched results across various dimensions, such as price and brand, before committing to purchase.

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5
Need recognition / Problem recognition Information search Alternative evaluation Purchase decision Post-purchase behavior
Source: Guided-Selling

In having identified their best-fit solution, the customer is ready to purchase and doesn’t need to be sold. So instead of spending exorbitant funds on advertising with low click-to-purchase rates, companies buying into a content discovery service can feel reassured that customers coming their way have already done their homework and are ready to purchase.

BY TARA CARTER
CONTENT DISCOVERY, CONSUMERS, BRANDS, CONSUMER RESEARCH, SOFTWARE-AS-A-SERVICE