The Modern Way of Defining Consumer Journey!

The Modern Way of Defining Consumer Journey!

And what are the 5A’s of marketing for a business ?

A typical purchase in the digital era. Image credit: Freepik

Sam wishes to buy a DSLR Camera. So he does some searching on google and comes to know about Canon Cameras. Then Sam goes to the Canon website, checks a few pages, and forgets about it. A few days later Sam sees the ad of the same camera on Facebook, so he clicks on it, then adds it to cart and decides of buying it later after asking his friends. Next Sunday Sam receives an email from the same site with a limited period flat 5% discount for the same camera. This offer gets Sam excited and he decides to grab the offer and finally buys it. Later, Sam even gets his cousin to buy the same model as he is impressed by the quality of the pictures. Both of them start clicking awesome pics and become the national geographic photographer of the year! Hehe jokes apart, has this happened to you yet? I am sure it would have! and this is how a consumer journey takes place in the digital era with multiple touch-points! From your first interaction with a brand to your final purchase & even post-purchase in form of after-sales service.

A consumer journey is a path a person takes from becoming a prospect to becoming a consumer to becoming a brand advocate.

In this article, you will know about the modern way of Mapping Consumer Journey and what each stage of the journey means to a business. This new way of categorizing stages is explained in Philip Kotler’s book “Marketing 4.0”. I have used this book as a reference and tried to put the concept in simple words. without further ado let’s begin!

Modern Customer journey is categorized in 5 A’s. Aware, Appeal, Ask, Act & Advocate. Keep in mind we are essentially tracking the number of customers who go from Aware → Appeal → Ask → Act → Advocate Lets dive a bit deeper in each of the stages…

Stages of modern consumer journey. Image by Author.

1. Aware

is the first interaction of a prospect with the Brand. Prospects may come across the brand through Ads, referrals, or through own research. But this is the first impression of the brand on the customer’s mind. If this first interaction is up to the satisfaction of the prospect, he/she moves to the next stage. In the Camera example, it was his own research as Sam did some searching on google to arrive at the Canon website.

2. Appeal

If awareness is generated properly at the first stage, i.e. Ad is interesting enough, the prospect moves to the second stage that is Appeal. Prospect likes the impression of the brand product/service and wants to know more. This stage might occur again through ads, retargeted ads & customer research.

3.Ask

If the product/brand is able to hold the excitement still, it will generate curiosity in the prospect’s mind and drive him/her to ask & know more about the product. This might be done through prospects visiting social media channels of the brand for more information, checking reviews, or visiting the website/physical store. In our case, Sam chose to ask his photographer friends about the Camera before making a purchase.

4. Act

If the Brand is true to its advertisement, Prospect will be attracted to it even after asking a lot of questions. The Prospect finally makes the purchase and becomes a customer. This can be done as an online/offline purchase. In our example, Sam was satisfied with the camera and couldn’t miss the discount so he purchased it online.

5. Advocate

This is the last stage of the journey. After the product/service is bought, the customer will check if the product is up to the expectation Or the aftersales service of the product is good enough or not. This experience will create an opinion in the mind of the customer. If the customer is satisfied with the purchase he will finally become an advocate of the brand/product and become an advertiser of the brand. Meaning the Customer will tell good reviews about the product/service and bring in more customers ! and on the other hand, if the customer is dissatisfied, he/she may write bad reviews, stop friends from buying it. In Camera’s example, Sam, satisfied with the purchase got his cousin to buy the same model!

The result of the interaction of customers at each stage gives us an insight into whether a brand/product/service is doing things Right/Wrong!

For example after the ‘Act’ stage, if the number of people going to the ‘Advocate’ stage is dropping, it means our product is not good enough and customers aren’t satisfied, Which will lead to lower Brand Loyalty. Let’s take another example, Suppose the number of people in the ‘Ask’ stage is higher than the ‘Appeal’ stage and further lower at the ‘Act’ stage. Then this could mean that our Ad / Communication is confusing! which leads our prospects to ask and research more about our product. And further, the product is not up to their expectation, so the number of people taking action i.e. purchase / subscribe is even lower.

There can be ’n’ number of combinations of these experiences at each stage. But broadly there are 4 Major Archetypes that describe all of the major industries. These Archetypes are very useful but a bit hard to explain in this article. I will be explaining it in my next article so I can write in detail with good examples for better understanding. More on that later.

Why don’t you try and apply this method to map your journey for your latest purchase! Do you think this modern way is simpler to understand and comprehend as compared to older “Awareness -> Interest -> Desire -> Action”? Let me know in the comments!

Your ideas and suggestions are most welcome ! You can reach me at contact@madmarketingman.com !

Cheers!

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