Altimeter's Jeremiah Owyang recently blogged about the complicated path that consumers now take to reach a purchase decision which he calls the “Dynamic Customer Journey.” He describes this phenomenon as a “…disruptive theme as consumers being able to use many sources, devices, and mediums at any given time, giving them more options and choices. The result? Consumers are enabled to have a unique path each time, making it harder to predict. This means the experience becomes increasingly fragmented for the brand, as they struggle to reach consumers across all these choices of sources, mediums, and channels.” Let me explain how our CEO, Rob Fuggetta, and I decided where to get dinner on a business trip to Chicago and you’ll see what I mean.
On our way from the airport to the hotel, Rob said he was in the mood for some good seafood, specifically oysters, so I whipped out my iPhone to do some research. I googled "Best Oysters Chicago" and clicked on a list of restaurants on Yelp which I looked over briefly based on the their star ratings. Once we checked into Hotel Palomar, we consulted the concierge who narrowed it down to three different restaurants for us. Then we headed to the hotel bar where we had a drink and ran these suggestions by the bartender who enthusiastically recommended we go to GT Fish and Oyster. (He also made sure to mention the "aggressively douchey" bars we should avoid. Thanks, man!)
We looked up GT Fish and Oyster’s menu on my phone, decided we’d found the winner, and we were off to a delicious meal. Once we arrived, I checked in on Foursquare and read through tips that other diners had left. One said “Dynamite fish tacos!” so of course I had to try them. We had some amazing oysters and fish tacos, accompanied with great service. We left full and happy and even got some free hot sauce made by the restaurant!
So looking back on our Dynamic Customer Journey, we had consulted:
3) Hotel Concierge
4) Hotel Bartender
5) Restaurant’s website
And this decision was just where to eat dinner! Think of how complicated the customer journey can be for high ticket items like TV's, cars, or computer software purchases.
What this means for brands:
Brands should map out each and every route of the potential customer journey and not only be present at all these touch points, but take it a step further by energizing your best customers (AKA Brand Advocates) to share their opinions where prospects are lurking. Brand Advocates’ recommendations are authentic, trusted, and highly influential in the era of the empowered consumer.