Our last Rise breakfast session before the summer break was about consumer journeys. Crowd's Tom Morgan and Essi Mikkola discussed three things that often get overlooked when researching the path to purchase...

So, what exactly is a consumer journey? It’s much more than a specific purchase moment or service experience: at Crowd, consumer journeys conceptualise the experience of being a customer over a length of time, from first hearing or thinking of a brand or product, right through to making a purchase and considering buying it again. This insight can also be used to cause the most (positive!) disruption, whether it’s via innovation, communications or offers and promotions.

At our event, Essi and Tom used buying lunch as an example of a journey. Culture inevitably plays a huge part in decision-making across a consumer journey as it progresses from consideration to evaluation, purchase to post-purchase. For example, not only are current trends important when buying lunch (like the rise in probiotic eating or the proliferation of street food markets in the UK), there are also broader socio-cultural factors, such as customs and rituals that contribute to what actually makes a meal ‘lunch’ within any specific market.

Additionally we use behavioural science to help us to understand consumer journeys. Going back to our lunch example, a survey by Covent Garden Soup found that one in six people eat the same lunch every day and have done for the last two years. When analysing consumer journeys, we need to bear in mind that status quo bias comes into play as consumers often resort to purchasing the same thing. Other behavioural factors that help us understand decision-making are: priming (subconscious influences on our behaviour caused by different cues, such as words, sounds, smells and images) and heuristics (mental shortcuts used to make decision-making less cognitively difficult).

Finally, Essi discussed the power of visualising the journey, which allows us to reveal the pain points and opportunities along the purchase experience. Applying behavioural and cultural theory on top of this provides brands with specific touch-points where they can connect with consumers.

Essi and Tom left us with three reasons why consumer journeys are so important. Mapping journeys prioritises insight to ensure the greatest traction. A journey model creates actionable findings that can be used across the business. Finally, they break down siloes by encouraging holistic connections beyond marketing and product/service design, therefore inspiring cross-category change.

If you’d like to read more about consumer journeys, please contact hello@crowddna.com and we’ll send you a lovely pdf on the subject.