I am constantly saying that you need to understand your customer journey. In this fabulous piece from Google outlines how people are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase. They are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable moments. People turn to their devices to get immediate answers. And every time they do, they are expressing intent and reshaping the traditional marketing funnel along the way. Here are some key insights to consider as you plan your funnel:
- Journeys as unique as each consumer
- Researching the best brands — and beyond
- Looking for the last brand standing
- Searching long after a purchase has been made
- Verifying even the smallest details
Advice for us marketers include: Align marketing to business outcomes, stop marketing to the average and automate everything.
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Forget everything you know about the marketing funnel. Today, people are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase. They are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable moments. People turn to their devices to get immediate answers. And every time they do, they are expressing intent and reshaping the traditional marketing funnel along the way.
Journeys as unique as each consumer
So how has the marketing funnel changed exactly? In the last six months, Google looked at thousands of users’ clickstream data as part of an opt-in panel.1 And we found that no two customer journeys are exactly alike. In fact, even within the same category, journeys take multiple shapes.2
EXPLORE FOUR SAMPLE CUSTOMER JOURNEYS ACROSS KEY VERTICALS.3
JILL’S MAKEUP JOURNEY
Researching the best brands — and beyond
For some people, research is paramount — and their journey widens and narrows as they not only consider multiple brands but entire categories. Jill turns to search to first learn about hypoallergenic makeup. And though she eventually narrows her search to a brand, her journey doesn’t stop there. It widens and narrows a few times, as she considers a few other brands before ultimately heading in-store to purchase.
JUSTIN’S HEADPHONE JOURNEY
Looking for the last brand standing
Sometimes a person lands on one or a few brands quickly, and the key is to see which one holds up to obsessive rounds of research. This is the case for Justin. Just when it looks like he’s ready to purchase, he turns to Google Search and YouTube to find reviews, watch product tests, and determine whether his first-choice brand meets specific criteria. There’s one brand that is able to stay on Justin’s radar throughout his search, and ultimately this brand wins the sale.
AVA’S FLIGHT JOURNEY
Searching long after a purchase has been made
In today’s consumer journeys, a purchase doesn’t necessarily mean an end to the search. Take Ava’s flight journey as an example. After finding an affordable airfare, Ava turns to search to plan every detail of her travel experience — not only gathering information about the airport and in-flight experience, but also researching luggage, passport information, and tourist attractions.
SARAH’S CANDY JOURNEY
Verifying even the smallest details
For today’s search-savvy consumers, even a more linear path to purchase involves a lot of touchpoints. Take Sarah’s search to find the perfect candy bar. Although this may seem like your typical consumer journey, moving from awareness to consideration to purchase, Sarah does a lot of research along the way. She’s searching for types of candy, specific retailers, and even shipping logistics — gathering every detail before heading in-store to buy.Sarah, 24
Total Touchpoints: over 20
Align marketing to business outcomes:
Be there. People now expect to be assisted everywhere. And that means it’s critical that you’re measuring and understanding the impact of your media touchpoints on the consumer journey. Look past impressions, clicks, and online conversions and connect your media to revenue, gross margin, and profits. Help your marketing team understand the intent, interactions, and signals that are driving long-term growth.
Stop marketing to the average:
Be useful. People respond to brands that understand their needs. So, it’s important to optimize your media for both relevance to the consumer and lifetime value for the brand. Some customers spend more — a lot more — and many customers spend less. Understanding that can mean the difference between paying to acquire profitable customers and paying to acquire the customers your competition didn’t want.
Be quick. To succeed, brands must deliver experiences that are fast and frictionless. It’s time to invest in mobile experiences as well as a machine learning and automation strategy. Machine learning can help you understand and predict intent in ways that simply aren’t possible manually. It can also help you find missed or unexpected connections between business goals and the habits of your key customer segments.
- Google partnered with Verto Analytics to analyze the consumer opt-in Verto Smart Cross-Device Audience Measurement Panel for click-stream data of n=2,989 individuals over a period of 6 months.
- Google/Verto, Journey Finder, U.S., Sept. 2017 - Feb. 2018, n=2,989 A18+
- Customer and brand names have been anonymized.
Dive deeper into the new mobile search behaviors: In the age of assistance, delivering growth starts with predicting what people wantPerspective - Aug 2018Consumers in the Age of AssistancePerspective - Jul 2018Beyond the traditional marketing funnel — a new formula for growthPerspective - Sep 2018
Source: Google, Thinkwithgoogle
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