Same prospect, two trajectories: how brand vs conversion behaviour differs

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Measuring from awareness to action online is not simple. It’s an ecosystem, it’s a path, it’s a narrative. Whatever the new buying process is, it’s clear that a funnel is no longer what we’re working with … or is it?

Data shows there are two customer trajectories for all but the most rote or impulse of purchases: the long episodic brand trajectory, where a customer either forms a relationship with a digital, eventful brand narrative across multiple channels, or they do no. Its counterpart is the acute purchase trajectory, which arises out of need (and may or may not coincide with the brand narrative) as soon as a customer has a need for a specific product or service.

Whether these two trajectories intersect is largely a matter of timing and recall perception. Does it matter to all but the most loyal customers whether their new dishwasher is whirlpool or IBM? If it doesn’t then the way to engage with them at the critical moment is to be the top of mind option. And in the digital era, that is a function of engagement peaks and weak to strong tie conversions over time.

As someone famously said, “no one is going to buy a refrigerator because of a Tweet.” Almost indisputably true. However, if your marketing is entertaining/informative/culturally aligned enough, a series of engagements can lead to an opportunity to win that person’s business.

Think about everyone who had ever interacted with your company and it’s products and services as tiny asteroids, alone and unaffiliated, moving through the cosmos, not yet subject to gravity, constantly moving and shifting. However whenever these asteroids come into contact with your digital properties and their gravitational forces, if the opportunity presents itself (and the CTA is clear enough) some will shift into a closer orbit, from weak to stronger ties.

What does that look like over time and in the real world? Do you see different trajectories in your audiences? Let us know in the comments.

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Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans

President at B2B News Network
President, @B2BNewsnetwork (launched Nov 2014). Content, community and analytics obsessed. Inventor @squeezecmm. Past chair, @itac_online @whiteribbon
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