Path to Purchase vs Customer Journey

Posted by Andrea Ramirez on May 13, 2015 2:26:00 PM

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Path to Purchase vs Consumer Journey

The future of marketing begins with identifying the difference and correlation between the Path to Purchase and the Customer Journey. We’ve spent an entire blog series breaking down the basics of the Path-to-Purchase (P2P), now we need enterprise level brands to shift gears and understand the significance of the Customer Journey. Understanding how these concepts work in tandem will help marketers to understand the behaviors of their local customers.

First, let’s begin by defining these two terms:

What is the Path-to-Purchase?

The Path-to-Purchase refers to series of channels that customers use or are exposed to in order to convert into a ‘purchase’. These channels include everything from emails, apps, search engines, brands’ websites, loyalty programs, review channels and social networks. Google recently noted that through such channels, “micro moments” occur and provide marketers with the opportunity to gain and retain customers after an in-store purchase. The goal is to ensure every point of contact on the Customer’s Journey is ready to be activated instantly.

What is the Customer Journey?

The Customer Journey refers to the experience consumers have in the process of purchasing an item from a brand. We are referring to the customer’s actions within these channels that influence them to either proceed or drop off from the journey they are on. In the intent-driven moments of decision making throughout the customer journey, marketers can note their efforts and track the patterns within the customer journey to improve the overall purchasing experience.

What does this mean for marketers?

The devices in our pockets, on our wrists, or in the office have trained us to expect brands to deliver the results we crave – the moment we crave them. It is in these micro-moments that marketers have the opportunity to be as contextual, valuable and influential to customers and generate more interest for their products. It’s not only about making the sale: it’s about helping customers to come back over and over again.

With the need for real time responsivity and communication, mobile customers have set the bar higher than ever for brands nearby. Since 2011, Google search interest in “near me” has increased 34 times over. Your brand must optimize every local channel on the Path-to-Purchase to provide value when and where customers need it most. Even if you have locations all across the country, your ability to bring your content to the local level will be your locations’ defining factor.

The successful brands of tomorrow will not only be able to meet the demands of micro moments reactively, they will be able to create them proactively.

To start creating these moments, ask yourself:

  1. Are my local properties currently valuable to consumers?

This question is essential in evaluating your current local marketing status. In both the Path-to-Purchase and Customer Journey, getting a deeper understanding of your local-mobile optimization efforts, social engagement, and reviews can paint a clearer picture of your previously executed strategies. Utilize a tool that will help you develop and set baseline metrics of consumers’ perception of your locations.

  1. Is my brand anticipating my customers’ needs?

Many enterprise brand marketers get so caught up measuring results that they don’t utilize them to leverage next steps. Make sure you are using a marketing platform that provides you with clear, actionable insights to improve the Customer Journey and create the next ‘moment’ moving forward.

Conclusion

Stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your customer’s Path-to-Purchase and Journey are in line with one another. Your marketing team needs to nail these concepts to consistently monitor, adjust and optimize every micro moment to provide your customers with more value.

Dive into our two latest white papers to gain a better understanding of these topics, and capitalize on your consumer's moments.

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Topics: Online-to-Offline Attribution