For many years marketers are searching for the moment, when they have the greatest influence for the customer’s decision. To make it easier, the sales funnels were created, but they are not useful anymore.
It shows the process of making a purchase decision when customers had not access to information like today. At that time consumer began with a set of brands in mind and whittled them down until he decided what to buy. It was a time, when customer was liable to all kind of advertising. The outbound marketing was the only way to gain a brand awareness. So – the more company was investing in advertises, the more customers it had.
Since then, the world has changed, so did the process of making purchase decision. The main reason of this fact is easy access to the Internet. Nowadays, the customer has a wide choice of every product and service. Moreover, he can use many communication’s channels, where he can familiarize with the products and get many opinions about them. We rotate among the increasingly independent, well-informed and more demanding consumers. It turns out, that the process of making purchase decision is much more complex and varied than a classic funnel suggest. Therefore the marketing must rely on a different, more sophisticated approach.
The decision-making process is now a more circular journey, with four primary phases representing potential battlegrounds where marketers can win or lose:
- initial consideration
- the process of researching potential purchases
- closure, when consumers buy brands
- post-purchase, when consumers experience them.
When consumers reach a decision at the moment of purchase, the marketers still have to work: the post-purchase experience shapes their opinion about the products, so the journey is an ongoing cycle. The change of consumer behavior opens brand new possibilities of reaching them and influencing purchasing decisions. The decision making process is now so complicated that we can no longer refer it as channels of communication. Now we have to talk about customer’s ‘points of contact’ with the company.
That is why it is important to stop thinking about selling as a linear conversion path. Nowadays we need Marketing Automation Systems to recognize each customer, identify his behavior and then nurture him and present the right offer.