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Pondering the New Purchase Funnel

TODAY’S REALITY

Today’s consumer purchase is as complex as ever.

Consumer’s are using multiple devices and shifting behaviors.  It’s easy for the consumer to get to the point of purchase and then drop back to researching, because it’s easy.  A persons path to purchase is both complex and unique.  The goal for a marketer is to make strategic shifts in how they approach this new fluid purchase path and take action.

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CONSUMER SHOPPING PATHS

Let’s look at the consumer journey for a car purchase which is one of the more complex industries for consumers.  Most of the decison-making process and influential touch points are online (85% conduct online research before purchase).

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The typical shopping process:
* Use search engine and checkout review sites.
* Go to car’s brand site before heading to a dealership for a test drive.
* This process last about four months.
* The last month has more activity (which is the opposite of other tradition funnels).
* 100% of consumers will visit a dealer 1 month prior to purchase

Auto shoppers are very diverse but they fall into three categories:
1. High Category Involvement – Heavy use of web resources and search.
2. Brand Pre-disposition – Light use of resources and a quick process.
3. High Social Involvement – Heavy use of social media.

As brand marketers, we can begin to generalize a buyer pattern.

Step 1:  Research – Search and check auto review sites and auto social media
Step 2:  Quantify – Check Online Auto Sites to get market pricing
Step 3:  Specification – Check Manufacturer’s Site for desired model
(Note that steps 1-3 are often repeated during the 4 month period)
Step 4:  Purchase: Go to Dealership, test drive and purchase

KEY AREAS OF SHOPPING INFLUENCE

A recent poll looked at what resources were most influential to car shoppers. Marketers should work to ensure they are maximizing their presence within these consumer touchpoints.

car_purchase_informersTAKING ACTION

So for auto marketers, they need to focus on several things here.

* Marketers need to understand and map the channels where their consumers are researching vehicles (yours and rivals).
* Marketers need to optimize keyword investments to align with purchase intent.
* Marketers need to understand review sites and determine how to partner and optimize those channels.
* Marketers need to optimize their Auto Sites to ensure consumers can take “quick action” in order to capture potential opportunity.
* Marketers need to ensure that consumer paths and communications are consistent with what would be found in their dealership channels.

OPTIMIZING & MEASURING FOR ROI

Consumers are changing they way they research and purchase online.  Marketers have need to reevaluate current strategies.  In adapting to a new purchase path reality, marketers need to make sure their measurement approach does not depend on a linear sequence of events.  Each independent step along the path can be improved to include messaging and navigation that allows for maximizing on that singular touchpoint.

It’s about getting the right message at the right place and right time.  When optimizing and measuring various touch points a brand needs to understand how they work around these 3 dimensions are working.

1. Touchpoint’s Effectiveness to deliver the Brand Message
2. Touchpoint’s Influence and Authority
3. Touchpoint’s Ability to be Engaging

A compressive measurement program will score touchpoints using these KPI’s and help to inform an action plan.  Finally, make sure to invest in tools, platforms and modern analytics techniques.

January 27, 2014

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