SMS Research Advisors

How to best engage customers in their purchase decisions

P2P GraphicYour customers can take many different paths to discover your products. Search engines, online reviews, blogs, trade journals and social posts are just some of the sources customers use to discover, research and shop. It is critical to understand all facets of your customers’ and prospects’ purchase process. Our proprietary Path2Purchase (P2P) helps determine the best ways to engage your customers.

P2P identifies optimal marketing channels to capture and nurture prospects, convert them to customers and ultimately promoters. It provides direction for B2C and B2B audiences—the latter being critical, as the typical B2B buyer is 57% of the way through the purchase process before directly contacting a potential provider.

How P2P works
Customers and prospects pass through four stages during the purchase process. At each stage, they use a wide variety of sources to gather information to make a decision and proceed to the next stage. They may continuously recheck and confirm information, both within their current stage and previous ones.

The four stages are:

  • Awareness: They first become aware of the category and learn the types of choices available.
  • Research: They find out what questions to ask and what products/services are available to meet their need.
  • Reduction: They start to narrow down choices to those that best fit their need.
  • Selection: Choices are reduced to the last two or three, and then they decide which product/service to select.

P2P examines each of these stages to align your overall brand value proposition to your content, tools and channels, so that they work in tandem to best promote the customer journey and facilitate a purchase decision. Our Customer Value Measurement tells you what to say; P2P tells you how to best say it.

Nokia: A cautionary tale
In 2007, Nokia commanded half of the global market share for telecommunications. By 2013, that shared had dropped to just 3.1% – a nearly 94% loss.

Nokia failed to recognize how customers purchase journeys were changing. Consumers had different needs (the emergence of smart phones valued software over hardware) and were using different channels to learn about and shop for phones. Nokia poured money into traditional media advertising, but the message and its information was lost on consumers. This inability to grasp their customer’s path to purchase cost the company both significant market share and marketing budget.

Learn more about how P2P drives customers towards your products and services
Understanding how customers engage with your company or products throughout the purchase cycle has never been more critical. Today’s customers have unprecedented access to advanced tools which enable them to explore their options and inform their buying decisions.

Companies that understand their customers’ purchase path can design highly effective marketing strategies: they ensure that potential and current customers have access to the right content at the right place, at exactly the right time in the purchase process.

Learn more about P2P and emerging buyer trends by requesting a free copy of our report, “Understanding how Your Customer Buys (and How to Get Them to Buy from You).” You can receive your report by contacting us at jmeola@smsresearch.com or (952) 939-4310.

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