When we look at generating insights in the digital age, information is available but we need to understand where to find the right kind. One of the most useful ways to get this information is by understanding the consumer decision journey.
This journey talks about the different stages the consumer goes through before making a purchase. Now as a brand you can’t possibly target all of these stages.You need to understand how and when to target consumers during these different phases. These 5 phases are
- Initial consideration stage
- Active evaluation
- Moment of purchase
- Post-purchase experience
- Loyalty loop
Now let’s take an example of a product and see how the digital consumer goes through the different stages.
Let’s say the consumer wants to buy a phone. The consumer first has a budget in mind. This is the most important information that any brand can get. The consumer filters the search based on his budget and gets a list of brands. This would be the initial consideration set. Then the consumer with the available list of brands evaluates and shortens his list to a couple of brands. Then here comes the part where word of mouth and online reviews play a huge role.
Word of mouth can’t be controlled or handled by brands as it is very hard to figure out the right sentiment in this case. In the case of online reviews, brands at least can respond to comments put forth by the consumer and help mitigate the issue before it becomes a serious one.
Then the consumer with the available list of brands evaluates and shortens his list to a couple of brands. Then here comes the part where word of mouth and online reviews play a huge role. Based on the time spent by the consumer in conducting the research, the consumer finally, figures out what to buy and then comes the final phase, the post-purchase experience.
The loyalty loop needs no specific mention. The brands on this loop enjoy a comfortable position. All they need to worry about is how not to hurt their consumer sentiments with their future releases.
The consumer gives reviews and thoughts about the product which is free information for brands. Each of the stages mentioned above gives you so much information about the consumer and his buying behaviour online.
One important source of information is online communities which are driven by influencers and enthusiasts. They have a big hand in deciding the initial consideration set for consumers. Consumers who look at these communities as a source of information, get a better understand of what should constitute their initial consideration set. For brands, this is a goldmine of information in trying to understand, what it takes to be a part of the initial consideration set.
Another important source is the offline channel that is the retail POS. This is where you as a brand understand what other offers by competitor brands help influence the consumer buying decisions. Like, enticing offers at display right next to the counter at the retail store. This is a good source of insights for brands to figure out what the competition is offering.
If you want to get deeper into insights, you could look into sentiment analysis tools which would give you a brief idea about the sentiment of consumers with respect to your brands. This does require a bit more investment in terms of time,resources and money.
As you can see from the above-mentioned analysis of to generate insights in the digital age would help brands to reach a wider audience with the right products/services.