12 September 2007

Purchase Pathways

It’s the treasure trail that every marketer is obsessed with.The purchasing behavior/pathway of consumers – known as the Buying System at JWT - is as unique as it is common.

Each category has it’s own path. From the display window to the shopping bag, there are as many paths as there are consumers.

In an attempt to put these paths into perspective, some directions have come out of a recent study conducted by Yahoo & OMD, titled “Long and Winding Road: The Route to the Cash Register”. Different purchase pathways of different categories as well as different kinds of people: http://www.scottweisbrod.com/index.php/?p=301

Different kinds of purchase pathways
· QUICK: This path involves little consideration. Consumer packaged goods are often quick paths.
· WINDING: Comparison-shopping between different channels, including online and offline retailers, typifies this path. Retail goods are often winding paths.
· LONG: This path involves researching various options over an extended period of time. Technology purchases are often long paths, particularly if the price tag is high.
· LONG AND WINDING: This path requires investing a considerable amount of time researching across several channels. Many big-ticket items — including automobiles and financial services — follow a long and winding path. These paths offer marketers the most opportunity to impact and possibly sway a purchase decision in their favor, because consumers of these products are the hungriest for information.

You can see the full report, The Long and Winding Road: the route to the cash register research here.http://www.scottweisbrod.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/Long_Winding_Road_v10.pdf

A related comment: the traditional marketing funnel is dead, measuring reach and frequency vs measuring engagement. http://www.scottweisbrod.com/index.php/?p=293


  1. Hi

    Are these pathways a function 'involvement levels/familiarity aspects with product/brand ? Do you think there exists a duality state - a battle going on in the consumers mind - want vs should battle. For example "this is what i need, but this is what i should buy" and hence the time delay .

  2. Generally a function of familiarity with category (cameras vs detergents), extent of previous brand experiences and levels of loyalty (first time car buyer vs fifth time), and risks involved (house, car, holiday vs chocolate, dinner out).Also a function of different kinds of PEOPLE/psychological make-up and their innate decision making processes.