Customers seek ability to research brands

Over the past several years, a company's web presence has grown from a bonus marketing tool to an absolute imperative.

Over the past several years, a company's web presence has grown from a bonus marketing tool to an absolute imperative. It has become so important that businesses that are not easily searchable are not taken seriously.

A new survey by media agency Initiative finds more than 40 percent of consumers claim they will not buy a brand if they can't find the right information about it online. That figure climbs to roughly half of survey respondents when it comes to larger purchases such as cars, TVs, computers and mobile devices.

"Consumer involvement with brand communication is a key to unlocking growth. The more we can get consumers to participate with our brands in paid, earned and owned media, the more a brand will grow," the study reports, according to Media Post, adding that "consumers are becoming ever more active in their brand choice."

The study highlights the role of marketing and customer research in determining how consumers are finding certain brands and products and making decisions about those labels.

Strategies such as mystery shopping, for example, may help retailers determine their customers' in-store preferences and services standards.