Mapping the consumer journey
The Customer Purchase Journey takes shoppers from existing life experiences to initiation, cross-channel consideration and purchase, so marketers need to research and analyse this to understand the specific dynamics to maximise sales.
Market research often takes a future perspective and asks about awareness, top-of-mind preference and shortlist of potential brands. The challenge in researching the future is that people are quite bad at acting according to their own intentions. Habits, convenience and instincts drive behaviour in unexpected directions that are difficult to predict by research.
These studies also often miss a major point. They ask customers which brand they prefer and make them choose one, and, consequently, fail to recognise that people might have only brand options, not a specific preferred brand. For example, in a Telco case, we learned that 76% of customers had a pool of options but they didn't have a specific preferred brand. This means that most of the market is floating. When the time comes, the best/first/nearest/ most conveniently available deal will win regardless, as long as the brand is within the pool of options.