The Marketing Funnel is Now Obsolete; Understanding the New Path to Purchase

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By: Brittany Barillaro


The Time Before Cross-Device Strategies Were Possible

The original path-to-purchase model shows a consumer’s linear journey. The process entails that a consumer must first become aware of a particular product or service, at which point they’ll develop interest and consideration. Once attracted, they’ll begin narrowing their options, ultimately making a selection for purchase.

Why a Cross-Device Strategy is Necessary for Today's Consumer Journey

Today’s shoppers take a multi-faceted approach to their shopping process. Because of the internet, they have more options than ever before. Mobile has further eroded the linear path, as consumers can now be influenced at any stage of the process. Prospects engage with brands at various points throughout the path-to-purchase, and each comes to the interaction with a different level of knowledge, interest, and complexity.

So, what do we know about today's shopping trends?

  • Only 2% of consumers buy on their first visit to a website.
  • 67% move between devices when shopping online.
  • 65% start their path-to-purchase on a mobile device. 
  • 61% continue their journey via PC or laptop, and 4% via tablet.
  • Two-out-of-three are more likely to purchase a product or service from a mobile-friendly site.
  • Eight-in-ten smartphone purchases are spontaneous, compared to six-in-ten on PC or laptops.
  • 61% are more likely to buy from a company that delivers customized, real-time content.

What was once a direct process is now non-linear, making it crucial for brands to be present throughout the purchase journey. Knowing what we know, following are some recommendations for tailoring campaigns to reach consumers throughout their journey.

Online Advertising Tips for the Consumer Shopping Journey:

  • Create cross-screen consistency: As consumers move back and forth between devices throughout their purchasing journey, it is important to remain omnipresent to stay top-of-mind.
  • Communicate your brand in real-time: Customers enter the path-to-purchase at different points in the journey; some are looking to get inspired, others are looking for information, and some are ready to make a purchase. By customizing and personalizing messaging, you’re meeting your customer wherever they are in their journey, and improving your chances at being their solution.
  • Capture your audience: Shoppers make spontaneous purchases and they’re always looking to be inspired. Even consumers who enter the journey with the intention to make a specific purchase can be swayed as they entertain last-minute options.

A brand’s ability to recognize key consumer moments and interact with the consumer at each part of the shopping journey through online targeted advertising will define its marketing success.