HOBOKEN, NJ: A brand’s ability to deploy impactful and efficient marketing strategies depends on how it understands and responds to relevant consumer journeys, so the ability to map these across all touchpoints and channels is essential for today’s marketers.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to analyze the omnichannel consumer decision journey, Alex Zhu, who leads the Customer and Decision Journey Mapping practice for SKIM, explains that the traditional sales funnel has been transformed into a web of multichannel interactions that influence and guide today’s customer decision journey.

“Visibility into that web can uncover opportunities for refining and optimizing customer acquisition, conversion and retention strategies for your brand,” he says.

To that end he sets out a seven-step process for brands to follow in order to discover their true customer journey, beginning with the exercise of mapping the customer decision journey – identifying strategic touchpoints and associated content expectations as well as friction points and desired experiences.

Then there are journey frameworks to consider: these typically differ depending on category but “the (disrupted) habitual journey” is the one most applicable to the FMCG and CPG sectors.

The defining characteristic of the disrupted habitual journey is the shopping trigger, Zhu explains: is a purchase routine or is the consumer choosing a different product? If the latter, this represents “a huge opportunity for brands where category involvement is generally low”.

Appropriate research methodologies can then be deployed to break down the decision journey to identify the point at which it can be influenced.

Further, once the actual journey has been revealed, much can be learned from analyzing the gaps between the consumer’s desired experience and their actual experience. As well as understanding the effects of any pain points, Zhu observes, it may also be the case that “some touchpoints are unnecessary, redundant, or serve only to diminish the overall brand experience”.

The next step is to establish shopper profiles or refine existing ones and to consider customizing a retailer-specific playbook that focuses on category level insights.

Finally, Zhu notes that as voice enters consumers’ daily day routines, this not only introduces another touchpoint on the decision journey, “more importantly, it may represent a new disruption point” – and brands should evaluate their voice strategy accordingly.

Sourced from WARC