The Consumer Decision Journey

A marketer’s day to day is filled with industry-specific terms and jargon that exist for the sole purpose of better understanding customers and harnessing that knowledge into something actionable. In the field of online marketing, in particular, the precision and adaptability that lead to rapid developments in technique and technology makes them all too familiar then obsolete at the blink of an eye.

So it is wildly refreshing when industry researchers dig deep beyond the clicks and whistles to provide a holistic view of what it is customers are doing at every step of their purchasing decision. This is called the Customer Decision Journey, or CDJ. Bing Ads has come up with new insights and findings along this journey that will help marketers and business owners tackle online marketing with a top-down view of their clients and customers.

The Five Stages of Every Purchasing Decision

Consumers go through five stages when conducting a purchase: initiation, research, comparison, transaction, and experience. These five steps are found in every purchasing decision whether you want to buy a carrier for your pooch or you’re replacing your car. You’ll likely skip a few steps to buy a pet carrier and jump to comparing different models and price before making a purchase soon. But it’s a different story for a car. You might be surprised that there are new incentives the government gives to electric vehicle owners; or that brands previously overlooked are making a splash.

What’s important is to figure out the mindset of the consumer and which stage of CDJ they are in when they are looking for your product. If they are engaging in a high frequency, high cost-of-failure purchase, they will take it slow and steady, which researchers have dubbed the deeply considered journey. If the purchase is infrequent and the cost of failure is low, they will be more leisurely or impulsive about the decision.

If your customers are choosing a pet carrier or a restaurant for dinner, your business must appear at the purchase stage. This means ratings and reviews and local deals. If, on the other hand, you offer products that necessitate a deeply considered journey, you have to make sure you are within the customer’s line of sight at every stage such as research and education not to mention the critical purchasing stage.

Types of Consumer Decision Journeys

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