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Published October 28th 2014

Path to Purchase: Understanding the Customer Journey

Understanding your customer's path to purchase is vital in a today's multichannel world. Find out how social can reveal rich customer journey insights

For many brands, there is little understanding of the path by which consumers discover, learn, purchase and experience a product. Many marketing teams, operating in a near vacuum, will compensate for the lack of information by spraying their efforts through every possible outlet.

Rather than aiming for the bullseye, they’ll take the whole target down.

While a buckshot marketing strategy can work, it is not efficient and for most brands it isn’t feasible.

In order for businesses to be more strategic about how they connect and provide information to their consumers, they need to have a stronger understanding of a customer’s full journey. They need to understand where and when it is best to reach out.

Understanding the consumer

In our recent social media report on Consumer Technology, we took a deeper look into consumers’ discussions of products at four points along the purchase journey: Awareness, Advice, Purchase and Experience.

The aim here was to gain a stronger idea of the leading concerns consumers face when considering certain groups of products.

For brands, identifying a heavy volume of discussion around awareness or early interest indicates that they should focus on nurturing those early leads into stronger consumer action.

However, if the conversation is mostly centered around advice or comparisons, brands can focus more on educating their consumers and marketing their comparative advantages.

The chart below, taken from the Consumer Technology report, reveals how the conversations in these four areas differ across various product categories.

As you can see, the social data reveals that the consumers for each product have unique concerns and conversations along the purchase path.

For navigation products, there is far more conversation expressing awareness in the product than discussions of purchasing or experiencing the product.

Using the insight

What does that mean for businesses in this space?

It suggests that the technology is still in its nascent stages. There is a lot of excitement and buzz around the products but less knowledge, competition and fewer actual purchases.

Brands selling navigation products should focus on generating more conversation around the actual purchase and experience of their products.

By carefully promoting advocacy and nurturing social influencers, brands may be able to reimage their products as a more mainstream item.

Conversely, TVs represent a far more mature product category. As such, the conversations center around actual purchases and experiences but there is far less chatter expressing the early interest or excitement.

For TV brands, uncovering ways to make their products seem new and exciting may be the key to their success in the consumer electronics market.

For more insights like this, take look at our Consumer Technology report.

Now you know.

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