In 1898, Elias St. Elmo Lewis developed the Purchase Funnel, the now familiar pathway customers travel from consideration to purchase. There are four steps in the process that have always been integral to every CMO’s approach to marketing: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.
The Purchase Funnel
Awareness – A person becomes aware of the product either through advertising or the recommendation of a friend.
Interest – After having been made aware of the product or service and determining its relevance, the person expresses interest.
Desire – This step is an exponential progression from the Interest stage. The person moves from a “nice to have” mentality to a “must have” mentality.
Action – The person puts desire into action and makes a purchase decision.
While this purchase funnel has served marketers well over the years, a recent study conducted by Latitude found 87% of consumers now travel a less linear, more complex pathway to final purchase. The study identified six behavioral or mental states a buyer experiences when considering a purchase.
The 6 Behavioral and Mental States Involved in the New Purchase Loop
1) Openness – Consumers experience a receptiveness to new or better experiences, which results from pre-existing interest in or curiosity about a category or topic area. At this stage, it can be a conscious or unconscious desire for a brand.
2) Realized Want or Need – A piece of information, a news story, an article, or a friend’s recommendation acts as a catalyst, giving the consumer a reason to start looking into things the person wants or needs.
3) Learning and Education – At this stage, the consumer moves from initial interest to a research mentality to gain an understanding of the broad fundamentals in order to make a purchase the consumer can feel good about.
4) Seeking Ideas and Inspiration – Here, the consumer seeks a solid reason to look for, notice, and keep track of examples, thought-starters, and motivators surrounding the product in question in order to take the next step.
5) Research and Vetting – Here the consumers gathers information to support feelings of purchase intent. Options are compared, deals are sought, prices are compared, and reviews are read all to determine personal associations with the brand.
6) Post-Purchase Evaluation and Expansion – Following purchase, the consumer uses and experiences the purchase to decide how he or she feels. At this stage, they might post a product review or share their experience with friends.
This new purchase consideration track takes into consideration a person’s emotions, and understands the process isn’t linear — that a person can bounce from one stage to another as they make their way to final purchase.