Uncovering more accurate and actionable consumer decision journeys

Nearly all consumer decision journeys have shifted over the past year – new journeys have emerged, while others have been reshaped.

You may be wondering how to best drive consideration and purchase of your brand. For many of our clients, the answer lies in untangling the messy omnichannel decision journey.

With an abundance of online and offline triggers, touchpoints, transitions, and interactions, that means an equal number of paths-to-purchases for consumers. How can you gain clarity here and take action to influence their decisions?

We introduced a new sophisticated insights approach to tackle this challenge – to offer brands clarity on the What, Where, Why, When, and How of today’s multifaceted (and messy) consumer decision journeys.

The resulting insights have been instrumental in helping brands align marketing investments to the most impactful touchpoints.

Here are six steps that can help you better identify and prioritize the decision journeys most important for your brand.

1. Examine what you can impact
Select potential journey touchpoints to optimize

15 touchpoints is a good target when starting to map your consumer decision journey. More touchpoints can add complexity to the connections, which may overwhelm the implementation and execution of the strategy. While fewer may risk missing important areas and pathways. Include decision touchpoints across offline, online, mobile and omnichannel activities.

They should be discernable from other touchpoints, likely to be impactful, and actionable. We often recommending using qualitative research or data reduction to develop this list.

Once you have chosen the touchpoints to assess, the next step is to quantify the impact and importance of each touchpoint on the consumer’s overall decision journey.

2. Capture stated and behavioral consumer data to map the journey
Uncover the frequency, sequence and importance of touchpoints

Calculate how much of a role each touchpoint plays in the final decision using sequence analysis and robust predictive modeling.

A rigorous modelling approach is critical to accurately assess the impact of digital behavior here.

Much has been written about the “messy” shopper journey, so it’s important the model can handle multiple journey possibilities.

A consumer’s decision journey, in reality, is non-linear in nature and context-driven (mobile, location, occasion, social media, etc.) For the most accurate insights, journey model development should include passive metering and digital tracking behavior analysis to fill in the “real-world” behavioral gaps.

The data you uncover in this step will provide input for developing journey clusters.

3. Uncover unique and actionable decision journey clusters
Identify like-minded consumers

We recommend using clustering techniques to capture like-minded consumers. Clusters differentiate journey types and the experiences your customers engage in as they move through paths-to-purchase. Many consumer journey clusters involve an online component, either for information, or searching or recommendations. We expect this to be a permanent change in many journey models.

Clustering helps identify the What, Where, Why, When and How of shopper journeys.

Once you have journey clusters, it helps to type, visualize and size the various journeys and their channel membership.

4. Visualize the decision journeys landscape
Size the clusters within your total market

Sizing the meaningfully different journeys helps you understand how many targetable journeys exist, how prevalent they are and what channels are most important for each journey.

The next step will be to identify your brand’s potential to capture market share.

5. Prioritize which journeys to target for your brand
Analyze which clusters will deliver the most economic potential and capturability

To maximize the ‘actionability’ of this consumer decision journey exercise, you’ll need to capture the relationship among key metrics in the journey model including:

  • Economic potential: Each journey’s potential value to your brand
  • Brand capturability: Your brand’s potential ability to acquire each journey

This is essential for both strategic and tactical execution. Using quad maps can help visualize this prioritization. The last step will be to ensure it works for your team. Socialization and activation are critical for successful marketing to new journey segments.

6. Activate and unlock decision journey insights
Conduct interactive cross-functional workshops

Activating insights - cross-functional workshops

After uncovering today’s decision journeys, consider how you will socialize and activate them internally to inform marketing plans. This step is even more important than in the past because the new, or reshaped, journeys will be more complex and may be unfamiliar to your team.

Consider interactive workshops to improve stakeholder alignment on strategic and tactical plans. Use the voice of the consumer, captured in behavioral research, to better understand how to use your new journey models.

In addition, we recommend developing interactive dashboards to help bring the insights to life and ensure marketing and brand teams can explore new scenarios for reaching your target consumers.

Consumers are changing their habits and behaviors very rapidly. They are choosing – or being forced to choose – different ways of exploring and discovering and buying products.

It is critical for you to capture these changes in consumer shopping habits as they relate to your brand. SKIM’s Decision Journey Mapping offers a sophisticated approach to understanding the implications of specific touchpoints and sequences of actions along the path to purchase.  Leading brands around the world have shifted to this journey modelling approach for a more accurate view of today’s consumer decision journey. If you’d like to learn more about how decision journey mapping can bring greater clarity to your brand and help uncover economic potential, please get in touch. Our team of decision behavior experts would be happy to help you untangle the messy decision journeys in your category.