Very generally speaking, the consumer buying cycle can be broken down into three stages: awareness; consideration; and purchase. Traditionally, this was quite fragmented across platforms, while digital has meant that you can theoretically hit all the stages online, in many ways it has also made the process more complex.
According to Forrester, today’s buyer could be anywhere between two thirds and 90% of the way through their buying cycle before reaching out directly to the brand, because they are now so much more in control of the process. Furthermore, that process is now much more fluid and non-linear.
This creates a problem for marketers who are trying to target particular consumers along this journey. Fortunately, the amount of data available online today means there is help at hand for marketers to prepare more targeted media plans. Publishers know their readers and the kind of content experiences that resonate with them most, and now the data and tools are available to engage with those consumers more efficiently. Indeed, now that we have all this information, marketers are urged to engage with consumers in more personalised ways online.