Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Consumer Journey, Stupid

What is the most fundamental issue facing marketing?

Borrowing the line that became the central theme in the 1992 presidential campaign there is an emerging focus on the consumer journey as the foundation of marketing.  Two recent articles provide good bookends to the evolution of the story.

First, Brian Solis talks about the imminent shift from social to digital engagement.   Toward the end he makes the point...
The digital lifestyle is just a way of life now and businesses that don’t think beyond social or traditional will miss the greater opportunity to lead desirable customer journeys, experiences and outcomes.
Second, McKinsey & Co. writes about the coming era of 'on-demand marketing.'
Across the entire consumer decision journey, every touch is a brand experience, and those touches just keep multiplying in number.
Both articles offer some prescriptive steps that a company can take, but they share a common thread - think differently and from the outside in.   A very difficult prescription for firms rooted in independent P&Ls, autonomous decision making and the inevitable silos that result.  

While clearly directionally correct, there is still room for more than just a pure digital look at the path to purchase.  Browsing a magazine or reading a flyer is just as important to the decision making process as price shopping.

Someone in the organization needs to be not only the 'voice of the customer' but the travel agent as well...

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