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Nov 6

It Isn’t Her Path To Purchase

It’s your path to a sale. We often use phrases such as “moment of truth” and “path to purchase”shutterstock_103545335 Reduced 3 when referring to customers and how they interact with products, follow a path to purchase and ultimately make the decision to buy. These terms, and the processes and principles behind them, have proven invaluable as marketers sought to better understand where and how the customer made the decision to purchase (and repurchase) goods and services. They helped to identify how to better influence and incent these decisions and focus attention and resources on the moments that made a difference


Is it time though to evolve this thinking? Or at least amend it. These ideas, while instrumental in moving marketing forward, are defined primarily from the perspective of the company doing the selling. In this Age of the Customer (as coined by Forrester), it is time to change the way we think about and measure communications opportunities and challenges. We all seem to agree that the future is not about pushing more and screaming louder, but is instead about creating compelling content that your audience wants to and can easily come and get. Building plans around the customer and fully leveraging data and insights (and enabling technologies) to do that well.

Which is why we need to start here. The customer isn’t on a path to purchase products, she (or he) isn’t on a journey through a land of brands and it isn’t her moment of truth. These are the experiences of the company. This perspective is valuable, but it doesn’t fully address the customer perspective. The customer is making her way through her days, hoping to make a difference, taking care of her family (and herself) and enjoying her friends. On good days she is getting the most out of her life and on bad days she may be just working to minimize the losses. On all days she is inundated with thousands (upon thousands) of messages, all insisting they will help her to work better, parent better, experience life better, look better, feel better, really just to do anything better. Whether your brand is a $50K car, a $2 bottle of tea or the best business analytics software package, you are simply one of thousands and thousands of goods and services claiming to be the one she must have.

It’s more than semantics. Being customer-centric, changes focus, processes, priorities and how we measure success.  Relevancy takes the lead from reach and frequency. It forces companies to work harder at creating differentiated value and connecting it with the right audience. It turns the focus away from pushing more messages in every possible channel and towards finding the right channels for your customers and your messages. And it demands a robust use of data and research to uncover, track, analyze, apply and continuously improve.

What does this move to customer-centric mean for “moment of truth” or “path to purchase” and “journey”? They are all pieces of getting smarter and more efficient at doing what we do. Marketing. Connecting the right customers with the right messages and experiences about the right products and services, in the most efficient way possible. How that looks is different today than it was yesterday (and will be again different tomorrow). The world in which we market is changing rapidly. The responsibility is on us to as rapidly evolve what we do and how we do it.

To keep her clicking that buy button, build your plans around her.

  • Tina says:

    That was such a wonderful piece of insight to wake up and read. The theory of path to purchase shifted just like how we market. You inspired me to think differently today :)! Thank you!

  • Margaret says:

    Well said! We must keep thinking about how we can fit into and around our consumer’s lives and schedules, rather than trying to make them follow our paths to purchase.

  • Jay Schemanske says:

    Agree… great perspective… all marketers should take pause… reaching the consumer along one’s decision-making process is too often mistaken for true relevancy and meaningful content that conforms to the consumer’s interest or life demands. This is an important pardigm shift.

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