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Posted: September 27, 2013

The new consumer decision journey

Hint: it’s no longer the oilcan’s best friend

Marni Hale

Remember the good ol' days when marketers could track a consumer’s purchase decision journey by a linear funnel? Oh, the simplicity of being able to push out a message to a consumer knowing you’re sending them the right message based on the stage they’re in in the purchase funnel!

Many brands choose to simply focus on the top of the funnel, AWARENESS, with above-the-line advertising tactics and achieve a high success rate of making it onto the ever-important consideration stage.

Well, the days of pushing out one message to a mass audience and trickling it through the funnel are gone. Consumers these days demand more – more attention, more engagement and more understanding of their needs and wants.

The new funnel or journey looks like this (thanks to those smart people at McKinsey.

 

There are now many ways and times to reach the consumer through an integrated marketing approach. However, it’s not as simple as putting out different messages and reaching them. You must be much more involved with your target audience and meet them where they are researching, with the right message that evokes an emotion in them and continues to do so without fail.

The first step in this process is putting a listening strategy in place to help you (the brand) understand how consumers go about becoming aware of your brand, which sites they use to research brands to consider and how far in advance from purchase they start their research.

At Philosophy Communication, we have a deep understanding of the new consumer decision journey and best practices for navigating in it. In fact, I had the opportunity to work directly with McKinsey on a six-week project discussing just this topic. The experience was extremely detailed and educational.

What did we learn at the end of the project? Well, that answer would take quite some time and lots of spreadsheets to provide, but in a nutshell, it’s understanding your customer and talking to them rather than at them with a benefits-focused message and then taking very good care of them even after the sale.

Writing about Luxury is nothing new for this California native. Marni has worked with luxury brands including Thermador home appliances and Mercedes-Benz. She heads the Southern California office of Denver-based Philosophy Communication.

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