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Path to Purchase Model: Touch Points & Overview

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Understanding the Path to Purchase Model can help business owners reach consumers in each stage of the buying process. In this lesson, you'll gain an overview of the Path to Purchase Model.

Reaching Customers Where They Are

Customer Bob is in the market for a new vehicle. He has done his research and identified a few makes and models that he would consider for his next purchase. He's about ready to make his decision and follow up by closing the deal.

Understanding the Path to Purchase Model can help you better reach customers where they are.
Understanding the Path to Purchase Model can help you better reach customers where they are.

How has marketing helped to impact Bob's buying journey? As he was researching cars, what types of advertising introduced new vehicles to him or excluded certain models from his consideration?

To adequately market to Bob, and any other consumer regardless of the product or service being sought, marketers must understand the various steps along a consumer's journey and how best to reach them with messaging that will help them learn more, decide on an item, and make a purchase.

What is the Path to Purchase Model?

Today's Path to Purchase Model looks significantly different than the models of old. It shows the various stages in which the customer becomes aware of a product up to the point of purchase. The more advanced we become technologically, the more opportunities consumers are presented with to acquire information and make decisions about buying products or services. The good news for businesses and marketers alike is that these new opportunities for consumers also present new and varied ways to reach consumers with messages about your brand, business or product offering.

Consumer buying behaviors typically go through a lifecycle with various stages including deciding to purchase something, narrowing the options, and completing the buy. For marketers, the goal is to reach consumers at each stage along that journey with targeted advertising in the right media or platform.

The stage of the buyer journey the consumer is in helps guide businesses in reaching them with the right message, but first, we must understand the various phases of consumer buying.

1. Awareness: This is the first step of the pre-purchase process when customers are acquiring information and conducting research on brands and products. They become ''aware'' of their options.

2. Consideration: Buyers in the consideration phase are narrowing down their options and ''considering'' one, two, or more for purchase. Here is where they're digging deeper into information, taking test drives, reading reviews, and watching product demonstrations.

3. Action: A customer is converting in the action stage, making a purchase or ordering an item and anticipating delivery.

3. Loyalty: This is the post-purchase relationship developed between the buyer and the brand. Happy customers become loyal ones and they advocate for your product to their friends and family.

At each step along this journey, customers are presented with opportunities to gain marketing and advertising messages through a variety of channels or touchpoints.

Touchpoints

Let's examine the various stages of the buyer journey and the various touchpoints, or a form of contact or interaction between a consumer and a business. The touchpoints along the path to purchase involve a variety of channels customers use or are exposed to from the time they start acquiring information to the purchase of the product. The channels probably look familiar to you because you use many, or perhaps all, every day: email, mobile apps, search engines, websites, social networks, television, newspapers, product review channels, and more. By creating an interaction with these channels between the customer and the business, marketers have opportunities to help gain customers and retain them long after a purchase is completed.

Of course, some touchpoints work better in certain phases of the buyer journey than others. Let's take a look at some best practices using various tools and channels to reach consumers with your message.

  • Awareness: In the awareness stage, consumers are focused on gathering information and becoming aware of their options.

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