his post is part of the #JUMPchallenge, a blogging competition designed to raise awareness of how to join up online and offline marketing, launched to support Econsultancy’s JUMP event.

This post by Robin Collyer was originally published on the Aprimo blog… 

Consumers (that includes you and me by the way) are complex beings. We always set out to make rational buying decisions but can’t avoid the emotional strings that invariably resonate to sway our judgment in all sorts of unpredictable ways.

Buying a new washing machine looked like a rational “it’s just a white box” decision that could readily be made over the web – seeking out the best combination of features, warranty, delivery and price.

So how did we end up visiting John Lewis, Comet and Currys, consuming a valuable Saturday afternoon in the process? Because we wanted the reassurance that only comes with face to face contact. We had rationally already decided on the best solution but it took the eye contact and reassuring smile of the experienced John Lewis assistant to close the deal.

In a B2B context, we recently saw a similar “emotional” response to our Ask the Experts Seminar. Our current nurture programme revolves around a series of chapters from thought-leaders in the marketing world. The chapters have been printed for distribution at events but are primarily available through a “Thoughts from the Frontline” microsite.

Having received some great feedback on both the printed (offline) and PDF (online) copies, we brought a number of the authors together for a breakfast seminar in London. Not only did the turnout exceed our expectations, the interaction was both lively and informative. The overriding feedback was that the event really brought the content to life – re-enforcing the point that we are emotional creatures and value interaction through the full range of channels – offline, online and in-person.

My advice? Empathy and relevancy must inform the marketing value chain’. Walk a mile in the shoes of your recipient and craft your multichannel engagement plans accordingly. The marketing revolution has put the consumer firmly in control. You’re no longer “selling” to them, you’re helping them through the buying process. Perhaps we should change “sales pipeline” to “buyer’s pipeline”?