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”:
- Consider- consumer considers products/brands attributed to various stimuli (exposure to ads or store displays, encounter at a friend’s house, etc)
- Evaluate- consumer seeks input from peers, review sites, retailers, and the brand/competitors to the brand
- Buy- consumers often put off a purchase decision until they’re actually in the store, making placement, packaging, pricing, etc very important
- 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David Edelman makes a critical point: The traditional sales funnel is outdated; it ignores the enjoy-advocate-bond stage and the shifting nature of consumer engagement in general.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?