The Marketing Corner: Consumers’ Online Identities

By Adele Lassere
Adele Lassere
Adele Lassere
November 20, 2016 Updated: November 20, 2016

“We know what we are, but not what we may be,” William Shakespeare wrote in “Hamlet.” This simplistic statement accurately describes the quintessential quagmire of marketers.

Digital marketing is very prolific and by nature its use allows consumers to enjoy many social and utilitarian functions online. Most importantly, it creates an atmosphere for consumers to be anonymous. This anonymity permits consumers to be very different from who they actually are if you meet them in person. As such, marketers have to be crafty by learning techniques to capturing the many faces these consumers put on.

One method to accomplish this feat is to follow the consumer’s journey and the communities they associate with. These communities let marketers identify consumers and deliver relevant messages to them. If the message is not personalized, many consumers will not follow through on the purchase journey and thereby abandon the discovery and exploration phase of purchasing a product or service.

For many consumers, the content being generated from these niche communities are having an enormous impact on consumer’s consideration set and eventual purchase. In many cases, these communities generate content that may accelerate the purchase cycle. Consider these reasons for focusing on communities:

  • Heighten brand awareness and social chatter
  • Higher engagement and development of brand ambassadors to maintain conversations
  • Better coordination between content and use of technology to explore the consumer’s purchase journey

All of the above will assist in better understanding the consumer and their many identities they have online. It will also help your organization to identify the tools needed to achieve desired marketing goals.

Social listening can expand learned consumer insights and propel you in developing a better overall experience. While developing your marketing plans, remember to focus your energy toward consumer behavior.

Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant, freelance writer and author of “Elements of Buying” (a self-help advertising guide), available at Adele was listed as Black Enterprise’s 2016 Women of Power in Advertising & Marketing and 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: