As we wrap up another year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Microsoft Advertising is excited to provide an update on our recent research on the consumer purchase decision process, which we call the Consumer Decision Journey. Through our partnership with Ipsos OTX MediaCT, we have concluded Phase One of the project and are heading into Phase Two this summer.
Initial insights from the Consumer Decision Journey confirm that the traditional purchase funnel model is no longer relevant. In its place we see the path as something like a multi-dimensional journey with five distinct stages that consumers travel through on their way toward making a purchase decision. Those five stages are: Pre-Trigger; Trigger; Pre Shopping; In-Store; and Usage. Further, our own estimates on global advertising spending indicate that 94 percent of advertising dollars are spent in the Trigger and Pre Shopping phases. These estimates are based on media type spends and direct response.
This lack of awareness and correlated spend in the Pre-Trigger and Usage stages signifies a huge missed opportunity and cries out for a re-allocation of marketing spend if brands are to leverage the critical consumer behavior patterns that take place during these stages.
The Pre-Trigger stage is where new users and buyers are generated and where competitive market share battles can be effectively waged. This is a crucial phase that allows marketers to reach consumers further upstream, yet it has been largely ignored until now. The Usage stage at the end of the journey is where consumers become brand advocates and repeat buyers. During this stage, the consumer receives validation for their purchase decisions. If the Usage phase is not successful, it sends consumers back to the beginning of the decision journey instead of creating a repeat customer.
As we head into Phase Two of the Consumer Decision Journey research, we will focus on understanding the specific influences contained within each stage. To successfully quantify and validate the qualitative work, we will recruit 1,000 consumers to help uncover what we are calling the mental context, the influence context and brand context across all stages of the Consumer Decision Journey.
Understanding how people navigate the five stages of the Consumer Decision Journey and how the digital world impacts each stage is crucial to mastering marketing in the digital world -- as a deep understanding of these decision phases will enable marketers to invest their dollars where they have the most impact. As we continue to explore this topic, we look forward to sharing more on the Consumer Decision Journey and how Microsoft Advertising can help marketers reach consumers at each stage.
Natasha Hritzuk – Microsoft Advertising