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Rethinking the journey
Apr 30, 2021

It’s time to rethink the consumer journey

David Edelmen defined the consumer journey as “the sequence of touchpoints people have throughout their purchase, usage, and service experiences.” A well-developed consumer journey can greatly impact a customer’s experience and increase the likelihood of doing business with a brand.

But, do your customers care about the “consumer journey”?

Of course not! 

Marketers must dissect consumer decisions at each stage of the buying journey. This helps them find ways to enhance the consumer experience. Luckily, omnichannel digital technology is giving marketers new tools to help them rethink the way they plan, execute and understand the consumer journey. 

Here are 5 tips to help you update your thinking on the consumer journey:

1. Multiple considerations factor into a consumer decision

The playbook on how consumers shop, research and engage with products and services has shifted. We see people spend more time on their devices than ever, they stream video content, browse social networks, use apps, and game. As a result, the media landscape is highly fragmented and reaching consumers where they are has become paramount. This is why a well-mapped consumer journey, which considers all possible touchpoints, can ensure your brand is present during conversations it can influence in the decision making process.

2. For many products, decisions are made over time

Have you ever seen a car commercial and then immediately picked up the phone to purchase a car? I didn’t think so, but General Motors spent 2.95 billion US dollars on advertising in 2019, so what did they accomplish?

Consumer decisions in the automotive category can take anywhere from 6 months to 1 year, and this is just one example. Decision making can take months to years, and brands must stay top of mind. This means capitalizing on moments that matter in the buying process and understanding when a consumer is ready to make a purchase.

The consumer journey must account for the time required for consumers to discover a brand, learn more, and decide. Understanding the timing related to your target audience’s purchase behaviors will help to refine your approach to messaging and the placement of your product/service. 

Just remember, there’s a reason why the cheapest items at the grocery store can be found near the check-out (less education and critical thinking is required to buy a $2 chocolate bar).

3. Decisions require touchpoints suited to the stages of the journey

Imagine going on a road trip. The goal is to reach a final destination but along the way, you need gas stations to fuel your journey and ensure you arrive at your final destination. Touchpoints within the consumer journey are just like gas stations – they refuel the drive to reach the end goal. Marketers need to sprinkle touchpoints into the consumer journey to remind their audience they exist, and hold their hand through the awareness phase all the way to conversion.

Here is an outline of the important stages in a consumer journey where marketers will insert touchpoints that help consumers along the way (ignore this outline at your own risk!):

  • Awareness
    • Display banners
    • Blog post / guest articles
    • Videos (commercials)
    • Social media
    • Infographics
  • Engagement
    • Whitepapers/academic articles
    • Brochures
    • Surveys & questionnaires
    • Newsletters
  • Conversion
    • Social proof & client testimonials
    • Webinars and events
    • Product demonstrations or giveaways
    • Sales and discounts
    • Case studies

4. Attribution is better understood by observing impact at each decision stage

The messaging you deliver at each stage of the consumer journey will determine the likelihood of pulling a prospect towards your desired goal. Different messages will have different impacts depending on the channel and stage. If you observe the impact of messages at each stage, the contribution of individual channels and your approach to optimizing creatives will be better understood.

illumin is an advertising platform that provides a view of the consumer journey in real time, allowing you to take immediate action on problematic messages and see the impact of your optimizations. Mapping the consumer’s interests and behavior can help to harmonize touchpoints throughout the journey and de-silo the execution of omnichannel media programs.

It’s critically important for marketers to test and refine their messaging at each stage of the journey. Using an advertising automation platform like illumin can help marketers understand the effectiveness of interactions.

5. AI can find efficient communication paths among journeys

Artificial intelligence is being used in platforms like illumin to present messages to users that they are most likely to be receptive to. This is one of the leading use cases today of AI as it allows marketers to reduce wasted impressions, and helps them learn faster. Algorithms prioritize communication paths that are most effective with an intended audience and aid in reaching your desired outcome.

See for yourself 

illumin is an advertising automation platform that provides marketers a holistic view of their advertising campaigns in real time. The journey canvas allows you to activate omnichannel consumer journeys exactly as you plan them. Get in touch to schedule a demo of illumin and start planning the consumer journey today!