Marketers are Spending Money in All the Wrong Places

Have you seen the cover story of Harvard Business Review’s latest issue? It was all about…you guessed it…brand advocacy!

It's called, “Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places” by David C. Edelman (Principal, McKinsey & Company.)

The article highlights the “consumer decision journey” (CDJ), developed by David Court (McKinsey & Company) from studying purchase decisions of about 20,000 consumers across five different industries and three continents.

Four Stages of the “consumer decision journey”:

  1. Consider- consumer considers products/brands attributed to various stimuli (exposure to ads or store displays, encounter at a friend’s house, etc)
  2. Evaluate- consumer seeks input from peers, review sites, retailers, and the brand/competitors to the brand
  3. Buy- consumers often put off a purchase decision until they’re actually in the store, making placement, packaging, pricing, etc very important
  4. Enjoy, advocate, bond- when pleased with the purchase, consumers will advocate the product/brand by recommending it to others. As the bond between the consumer and brand becomes stronger, consumers will enter an “enjoy-advocate-buy” loop that skips the consider and evaluate stage

David Edelman makes a critical point: The traditional sales funnel is outdated; it ignores the enjoy-advocate-bond stage and the shifting nature of consumer engagement in general. People like to talk about products and brands- they write reviews, create testimonials, recommend products to others, and more. In fact, the average American consumer discusses brands 56 times per week; 62% of these discussions are positive (Keller Fay, 2010.)

But check this out: 70%-90% of marketing budgets go to advertising and retail promotions that hit consumers at the consider and buy stages, yet consumers are often most influenced by the evaluate and enjoy-advocate-bond stages (McKinsey.)

Why aren’t marketers spending money on driving advocacy?