Written by: Madhumita Manna
About the author: Vice President – Consumer Health with a Nutraceutical company
The consumer journey to picking up your brand is not a straightforward process of eye level & buy level anymore, which means that no more does it involve only being present in the retail and blasting the media out with the brand hard-selling proposition. Consumers are evolving and the information overload because of the digital world the complexities are increasing by the day.
It involves many explorations over the net, checking with friends, experts, word of mouth, the influence of peers, media, and other touchpoints that the consumer visits. It is essential that the brand engages the consumer at all these points to drive him towards the moment of truth where he or she feels the real urge to pick up your brand.
So how do you map this journey?
Understanding what the consumer is looking for in the product?
Normally, during the planning stage, we might start with a business objective and a set of brands offerings, but you may discover that your consumer may be wanting expecting something else as the brand proposition.
For example, soap may be wanting to sell beauty as the end benefit, but what the consumer could be looking for a soap which softens their skin. Study the consumers need closely and see how your goal to sell beauty and consumer’s need for a skin softener can be aligned.
Study all the touchpoints where the consumer is interacting with the category getting the information about the products
Follow or shadow the consumer to see what his or her current interaction with the various other offerings in the category, with your brand and what are his or her sources of information.
Discover the corresponding touchpoints you may have missed. Track what activities and interaction has happened between your brand and your consumer, before he purchases, during the purchase and post he has used.
Searching for all these touchpoints can rapidly help your team to understand the nuances and sub-associations.
For example: For an acne product the consumer may have multiple interaction points starting from the mother, to a friend, to the parlour, the beautician at the parlour, the internet search, retail recommendation to the doctor in severe case. As a marketeer, we must be engaging all these critical touchpoints or stakeholders to make sure they influence your consumer to choose your brand.
Experience the problem areas or pain points and the moments of joy
The pain areas or the moments of delight may not be always to do with the product itself it could be the journey along the way.
For example, every little thing like when she was searching for the product how easy was it for her to find the product, was the product placed at a store at arm’s reach or did she have to go scouting for it, well what was she told about the brand at the store by the salesperson who often gives multiple choices, as she looked at the brand did the packaging fulfilled what she wanted or had visualised about the brand, post her purchase what are the interactions she is going to have with the brand, after the usage of the product what kind of experience she is expecting, these are some of the micro-moments one needs to study so that the confidence is built at every stage.
Draw up the consumer journey map in micro details:
It is critical that all observation be mapped and put into a visual flow chart form to understand the multitude of activities that the consumer is taking at every point and where all the brand interaction needs to happen. Joining all the dots will help understand the key touchpoints to influence the consumer.
Consumer Decision Journey is one of the most important tools to understand the consumer and the most critical part to design your launch plan and the Go to market.