How to understand your consumer’s journey along the path to purchase

Understand your consumer’s journey

One of the key foundational marketing lessons any business owner needs to grasp is the importance of understanding the customer’s journey to purchase. By understanding this journey, you will be able to effectively and efficiently reach consumers at several different points along the way, increasing both conversions and profitability. Within the field of marketing these points are known as micro-moments, and with the increasingly fragmented and mobile nature of consumer decision making, understanding them has become one of the most important areas in modern digital marketing.

Traditionally the customer journey was one that was entirely linear, with a predictable arc that enabled businesses to rely on a funnel model of marketing. Whereby the goal of each stage was to lead the consumer to the next, and then finally to purchase. This still has relevance for certain customer journeys, but increasingly a different model is becoming prevalent, that of micro-moments. Micro-moments help describes an entirely nonlinear journey, with several different moments of intent and decision making for the consumer, that depending on the individual case can describe different types of interactions on a range of platforms.

Each specific micro-moment is a moment of intent, where a consumer will use their device to achieve a specific goal or fulfill a specific need. The easiest way to conceptualize this is in behavioral terms, conceiving of them in terms of the motivations and desires of the consumer. These can include moments such as “want to know”, “want to go” and “want to buy”. Pertinently, micro-moments often serve as flashpoints, with consumers increasingly expecting and demanding more of these interactions and wanting to complete their purchase journeys as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

The importance of each one of these singular interactions cannot be understated, and in terms of marketing, it means that you now must reach customers effectively at every and any potential stage of their journey, knowing that any one of these micro-moments could be the one that creates the conversion to purchase, often referred to as an assisted conversion.

Once you’ve arrived at using this model to correctly understand your customer’s path to purchase, there is a range of strategies and tactics you can employ to both enhance your understanding, and to implement the knowledge effectively. One important strategy is to correctly define what moments constitute your customers “I want to buy” moments, by knowing when it is that most of your customers make that choice, you can tailor that moment to make purchasing easier for them, increasing conversions.

Another key strategy is to make sure the content provided is relevant, for example, if it’s a “want to know” moment then it would be most effective to ensure the customer has all the relevant information they desire. Most importantly any effective strategy evolving around micro-moments will be one that is uniquely tailored, catering to the nature of the motivations, how you best want to provide for those needs and your target audience.

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