March 6, 2019

From awareness to advocacy: How a customer interacts with your product

Hand enabling a customer on their purchase journey right from the start (Awareness stage)

Marketers have forever mulled over how they can reach the customer in the most effective manner possible. They have yearned to map out the perfect path that a customer takes to the product, hoping to understand best all the thoughts and impulses that drive a purchase.

The truth of the matter is that there isn’t one path that a customer takes in every single case; each situation is different and unique. However, if you were to paint a customer’s journey in broad strokes, the five following stages certainly explain it best:

1. Awareness

In a lot of cases, the journey to the eventual purchase begins with awareness of a new product. This can happen in a lot of ways, from a friend’s recommendation to an advertisement that you may have perused when you least expect it.

Let’s assume that a consumer chances upon a healthy snack that can be a suitable replacement for what they usually buy. The new snack could be gluten-free and lower in calories than their regular teatime snack. The next time they are at a supermarket, there is a chance they just might pick up the new product to try it, and hopefully, for marketers, become regular buyers.

2. Consideration

Taking off from the above example, is it really worth it for a customer to replace their favourite snack with the new one because of its health benefits?

At this point, they weigh the pros and cons before making the purchase. The higher the cost of the eventual product, the greater your consideration will be. For instance, customers generally conduct significant research before buying a high-investment item like a car, a home or even a high-end smartphone.

However, in the case of FMCG products, like the one outlined here, this stage may not be nearly as important.

3. Purchase

Contrary to popular belief, the purchase isn’t the final stage of the customer’s journey. At this stage, they make a monetary transaction and consume the product, following which it may or may not make an impression on their minds.

Whether they want to try it again is based on the experience of using the product and the benefits that the customer experiences. Other factors such as the willingness to shift to this product from a tried-and-tested brand and even the ease of obtaining it contribute largely to a customer’s purchase journey.

4. Retention

A repeat purchase usually depends on whether the decision to buy the product was an impulse choice or was well thought-through. A satisfactory experience with the product can usually guarantee that the customer will return to the product to sample it again.

A lot of times, an impulse purchase may not get ingrained in a person’s mind, and consumers may forget about it subsequently. Therefore, packaging and advertising play such an integral role in brand loyalty and engagement.

5. Advocacy

Finally, if the product becomes a regular part of their routine, the customer becomes a brand ambassador for it.

It is said that there is no better testimonial for a product than a customer’s positive review. Conversely, a bad experience may wean a customer off a product, and they can become an advocate against it, warning others from testing and trying it.

If the advocate can inspire a new customer to try the product, then the whole process begins again.

To sum up

By understanding the journey that a customer takes to reach the product effectively, brands can aim to create engagement at every single step, and therefore build bonds that endure with the customers. While it is not an exact science, it is a valuable tool to gauge your market effectively.

Also read: How to understand your core audiences