Becoming Part of the Consumer Journey
Posted: Feb 25, 2017
The classic model of the consumer’s journey is the purchase funnel, which describes consumers narrowing down their options until they have settled on one thing to buy. However, digital technologies have made that journey more complicated, and research shows that each consumer’s journey is unique. Modern marketing is moving away from strategies that focus on traditional touch points in a regulative journey and towards fully integrated experiences that reach out to consumers in more personalized ways.
Beyond the Funnel
One of the weaknesses of the funnel model of the consumer journey is that it does not capture the complexity and interactivity of the modern digital consumer. In the funnel model, consumers are initially aware of a variety of brands, and they then narrow down their decision over time. In practise, however, consumers are increasingly more likely to expand their list of options during the research stage, given their easy access to search tools.
Furthermore, the vast majority of products are looking for brand loyalty; they want consumers to make the same decision again and again—there are few products these days that you buy for life. Active brand loyalty is the holy grail of the consumer journey since loyal customers will skip the usual process of considering all their options and just return to the brand they know and trust. However, active brand loyalty (as opposed to passive brand loyalty, which is when a consumer is loyal only because they don’t want to do the work to find another option) is hard to achieve with traditional marketing techniques because it relies so much on the consumer experience after they have already made the purchase.
Another weakness with traditional marketing is that it relies on statistical averages, which in the past allowed marketers to target the largest groups of consumers, but not the oddballs and outliers. Thanks to contemporary technology, however, it is now possible for a website, app, or other automated process to learn from the user’s behaviour and respond to their individual needs in real time. E-commerce websites can figure out what a user is looking for and help them find it faster. In this way, digital technology is able to respond to many different consumer journeys, rather than the single, most common consumer journey of the past.
Mass Appeal versus Individual Appeal
At its core, the modern marketing revolution in how to understand the consumer journey is about a change from mass appeal to individual appeal. Before, when advertisers made a single television commercial for the handful of stations that every TV got, and consumers went to the store looking for salespeople to advise them, the best strategy was to create and market a product in a way that would appeal to the most people possible. Now, however, information technology allows marketers to connect consumers with precisely what they need, resulting in a greater emphasis on customizability and overall experience. These changes to marketing mean that the future is uncertain, and that makes now the best time for innovation.
Kelton, a market research firm in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and London provides actionable strategic plans with a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies like brand tracking, consumer journey ( www.keltonglobal.com/consumer-journey ) market segmentation, copy testing, omnibus surveys and many more. Visit www.keltonglobal.com for more info.
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