It has been called everything from the ‘buyer’s journey’ to the ‘consumer buying decision process’. But no matter which label brand marketers slap on the phenomenon, most experts divide it into five basic stages.
Interestingly, the conception of these stages is not a recent breakthrough in marketing science. The concept was formulated and adopted in the last century – early in the last century – 1910, to be exact. The idea was the brainchild of philosopher-psychologist John Dewey. Yes, you might say it has stood the test of time.
Since the concept’s introduction, life in the marketing world has accelerated to a blistering pace. The biggest influencer of the new tempo is, not surprisingly, the digital infrastructure. As information flies through cyberspace in what is now compressed into microseconds, consumer purchases are accordingly clocking in at faster and faster times. What used to take days now requires a quick series of screen swipes to go from ‘that product seems interesting’ to ‘I just have to buy this!’
This faster pace naturally demands a brisk, up-tempo consumer journey. How fast is your brand carrying consumers through the process? How easily are they digesting your messages? All this matters tremendously. Which means campaigns must address each one, sequencing them in the following, pre-designated order:
- Problem/Need – Basically, consumers must require or perceive they require a product or service for some tangible reason
- Info Hunt – Once a need or problem is identified, the average consumer will explore the marketplace for a solution. Digital interfaces provide an instant gateway to information about potential solutions. Ordinarily, the hunt will lead these inquisitive folks to multiple brands.
- A Peek at the Possibilities – After loading up on info, consumers compare, contrast, evaluate, and scrutinize the available brands. Positioning your product to stand out from the crowd is crucial at this interval.
- Surrendering of the Currency – Convinced that a brand is the one and only, solution-seekers at long last will plunk down their hard-earned money for the favored product.
- Finding the Proof in the Pudding – Does a product fulfill its promise? If so, chances are good the reliable brand has earned a long-term customer. If not, there may be angry letters.
Marketing campaigns that address these five stages stand the best chance of success. By incorporating them into media strategies, you’ll be guiding consumers through a journey they feel compelled to make. The better the guidance, the faster they’ll arrive.
If you have any questions or comments about the buyer’s journey as it pertains to your brand, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.