The New Customer Purchase Journey

AS WE'VE DISCUSSED, THE AGE OF THE CONSUMER HAS LAID THE foundation for a new brand-customer dynamic, and marketers have little choice but to adapt. Building and sustaining a customer-dominant relationship depends on creating engaging, relevant, customer-centric experiences—from initial awareness to post-purchase—at every point along the customer purchase journey.

So it's not surprising that these new relationships are translating into a shift in customer purchasing behavior. What used to be a linear process is now a nonlinear journey with a lot of side trips along the way. The traditional marketing and sales process, affectionately known as the funnel, was made up of four stages: awareness, interest, desire, and action. In practice, the brand would use some form of disruptive communication or stimulus to create awareness so that the top of the funnel would fill with potential customers. Once in the funnel, customers would evaluate the offering and proceed through the various stages or touchpoints, with some dropping out along the way, until the remaining customers fell to the bottom and bought the product. It was very linear, and marketers could assign some level of predictability to each stage of the process and ultimate outcome. One of the reasons direct marketing became very effective then was that marketers ...

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