Do you remember a time when the path to purchase was a simple, linear affair? First, there was a need. Then, there was brand awareness through word of mouth or a traditional media ads. Then came consideration that usually involved a visit or two to the brand outlet. And finally, we purchased what we needed. For generations now, marketers have sought moments or crucial touchpoints in this linear path to purchase. These were touchpoints where consumers were most willing to have their decisions influenced by marketing messages. Traditionally, these moments have always been understood through the metaphor of a funnel. What the metaphor implies is that consumers start with a number of potential brands in mind – at the top end of the funnel. They then move methodically through the funnel wherein they are exposed to marketing messages and experiences as well as peer reviews and word of mouth. For more expensive purchases, cars for instance, they also try and test brands before making their final purchase decision. This traditional marketing funnel was designed for linear consumer journeys of the pre-digital era. With the explosion of choice, increased disposable income, and buying power, the marketing funnel has transformed and so has the path to purchase or the customer journey. There is an urgent need for marketers to take a new, refreshed look at this customer journey. This new view gets far more holistic with mobile intelligence in the equation. Let us see how.
Customer journeys have transformed in the digital age
For starters, a significant part of the customer journey now happens online. Awareness comes from an ad exposure and considerations are formed based on reviews and videos. In order to grapple with this changing journey, marketers made a simple switch in their data sources. They started relying singularly on digital footprints to understand consumers and their interests, affluence levels, and brand affinities. However, an average consumer’s digital footprints are just not enough to understand who they are and what they truly care about. They exist in two worlds today, online and offline, making the switch from one to another quite seamlessly and this is reflected in their buying journeys too. Consequently, digital footprint alone is hardly equipped to fully and comprehensively predict which messages, creatives, and platforms would actually influence a consumer’s final purchase decision.
Consumers exist in two worlds today, online and offline, making the switch from one to another quite seamlessly and this is reflected in their purchase journeys too
Brands continue to hoard data about how consumers interact with them both online as well as in-store. That said, brands are now seeking to understand where else their consumers go, which other brands they interact with, and what else they care about. This ‘other’ information now forms as much a part of the customer journey as their online engagements with these brands. Digital footprints by no means can answer all of this single-handedly. What brands need is a powerful combination of both online and offline insights. Mobile Intelligence holds the key to unlocking these.
What has also changed is that today, no two customer journeys are alike. Consequently, a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing does not work anymore. According to the American Marketing Association, “The best way to visualize this is to imagine the shopper standing in a room with 50 doors that represent the different places they can go for information—from word of mouth to retail to online to consumer reviews. The shopper chooses a door and goes through to another room with another 50 doors. The shopper makes more choices until that person selects a brand to purchase. When we survey 1,000 respondents in our research for a particular category, we find 1,000 different “paths” taken. There is no consensus on how many doors shoppers open or which doors they gravitate toward. Attempts to find some paths more frequently taken often result in seeing no more than 5% of shoppers opening the same door in the same room, but they still diverge when they get to the next room.”
What this means is that there is no preconceived buying journey that exists anymore that marketers can tap into. These journeys are extremely individualistic, and therefore drive a new need for brands to get a holistic view into each consumer and their preferences instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
How mobile intelligence is filling this data gap
Simply put, all that a consumers’ digital footprints can’t answer about his or her path to purchase, mobile intelligence does. It gives a holistic 360-degree view of each individual consumer. It reveals sharp insights about where they live and work, how they spend their weekends, their lifestyles, and which brands they interact with most often both online and offline. Digging deep into this data is helping marketers uncover consumers’ brand preferences and purchase habits, i.e. where they go and what they do before and after a purchase. These insights are now shaping marketing on the whole.
Data is the fuel that drives new age brands and their marketing efforts. Real world behaviour data, gleaned via always-connected mobile devices, is a game changer as far as consumer insight is concerned. This layer of insight is crucial in understanding the transformed buying journey of consumers.
Clearly, mobile intelligence is the answer to a complex marketing problem in a forever-evolving landscape. Brands and agencies across the Asia Pacific have started to rely on Lifesight Data Solutions to get a vivid view of the customer journey and make better business decisions. Are you ready to one-up your marketing game as well? Holler for a demo and let Lifesight help you!