Marketing has grown more complicated, media choices have exploded, and consumers have asserted themselves more visibly than ever before. So perhaps some of the classical ways to understand and visualize marketing concepts, need to change and evolve too.
Forbes.com shared some information from Forrester that found that 53% of U.S. online consumers research products online that they’ll then purchase in the store. This process exposes consumers to brands they might not have previously considered, expanding their consideration set at exactly the point where, according to the traditional funnel, it should narrow.
The author, Forester analyst, Steve Noble proposes to bury the marketing funnel and introduce a new model–the customer life cycle.
Discover: Every customer must discover a brand, product category, or personal need–the initial trigger that leads to a new or repeat purchase.
Explore: In this phase, customers explore the brand–and their options. When visiting an online store or handling products in a well-crafted shop environment, customers are immersing themselves in the explore phase.
Buy: Customer experiences during this phase include product availability, inventory lookup, and satisfaction with the checkout process. It also includes the actual price paid, the perceived value, and the experience with the sales channel if there is a problem.
Engage: After buying a product or service, customers engage with brands in several ways.
We reported on the evolution of the way people make buying decisions based on some data from McKinsey. That study found that “traditional” marketing was still a very important part of the buying process, it just happened earlier. This latest information from Forrester Research also supports the important role that direct mail can play in the buying process, during the discovery and engagement phases.