The New Customer Path

What is a Customer Path?

A customer path refers to the path or stages or touch points that a customer touches or passes through to reach an end goal. Here the end goal could be a purchase or post-purchase services or anything beneficial you might consider as a goal. The end goal for me might be different from the end goal for you. For you, the end goal could be a purchase but for me, the end goal could be a post-purchase relationship to upsell.

AIDA Model & New Customer Path

The new customer path is similar to the AIDA model. The AIDA model was coined by E. St. Elmo Lewis. It was developed in the late nineteenth century & it is one of the longest serving models in advertising. The model is still actively used by Advertisers & Marketing personnel to plan their strategies & map the path undertaken for purchasing a product or service.

The AIDA model was criticized & modified many times over the years. Many of the modified AIDA models are presently in use. One among them is the AIDAR model.

In the AIDAR model, we have

  • Awareness
    In this stage,  the brands are focused on promoting their product or service and making the customer aware of the brand.
  • Interest
    In this stage, the brands are focused on helping the customers to generate interest on the benefits of a product or service.
  • Desire
    In this stage, the brands are focused on moving their customer mindset from “I like it” to “I want it.”
  • Act
    In this stage, the brands are focused on encouraging the customer to act or perform a desired task.
  • Retention
    In this stage, the brands will focus on establishing a long-term relationship for mutual benefit.

The problem with the AIDAR model was that it demanded the customers to adjust to the model rather than being flexible enough to adapt & adjust to the needs of the customers. The model also didn’t give importance to connectivity & it’s influence on the customer’s purchase decision.

The 5A’s Model – New Customer Path

In the 5A’s model of the New customer path, the external factors affecting the purchase decision in the modern world is considered. Here the external factors refer to the social media communities, influencers, friends & family, online reviews, loyal customers advocating the product & many more. The model also considers & adapts to the needs of the customers & focuses on the post-purchase customer behaviour & relationship.

Now, let’s look at the 5A’s of the New customer path

Awareness

This is the gateway to the Customer path. Here potential customers are exposed to a brand through word of mouth, advertising, social media, past experience & every other medium that lets the customer know about the existence of a brand.

The brands in this stage focus on creating a short-term memory that will help the customers to recall or recognize the brand if they do come across one.

Customer touch points

  • Exposed to the brand.
  • Recall & Recognize the brand.
  • Learn about the brand from others.

Customer Impression

  • I Know

Appeal

Here the potential customers move from the stage of being aware of the product to the stage of wanting to know more about the product.

The brands in this stage focus on amplifying the short-term memories created during the first stage. They also focus to make the brand more appealing by making it interesting or creating a “WOW” factor that will help the brand to provoke or encourage curiosity.

Customer touch points

  • Become Interested in the brand.
  • Amplify past memory.
  • Create a consideration set of brands.

Customer Impression

  • I Like

Ask

After learning about the product the curious customer at this stage will seek out to gather more information & opinions about the product. The customer might approach his friends, family, colleagues or anybody who might have an idea about the product. They might also check online reviews, social channels, forums & any other platforms for more info on the product or service. They might also directly approach the brand through offline or online mediums seeking more information on the product or service. So basically, the customer will gather as much information as he can to make the final decision.

Brands under this stage will help the customer through both online and offline strategies to provide the information the customer seeks to help him make the final decision. The brands will also focus to establish their presence on all platforms the customer might visit seeking out help and try to convince them to act.

Customer touch points

  • Approach for advice.
  • Online reviews.
  • Approach the brand offline & online.
  • Physically try the product.

Customer Impression

  • I’m Convinced

Act

In this stage, the customer is convinced with the gathered information & will decide to act. Here act refers to making the purchase.

The brands in this stage will make sure that the process will not end with a purchase & will try to establish a relationship with the customers by creating a positive & memorable experience for the customer.

Customer touch points

  • Buy the product online or in-store.
  • Post-purchase services.

Customer Impression

  • I’m Buying

Advocacy

In this stage, the customer would have built loyalty to the brand because of the positive & memorable experience. This will result in Retention, Repurchase, and finally Advocacy for the brand. The customers in this stage will turn into brand evangelists and recommend the brand in all possible scenarios.

In this stage, the brands will continue to hold the strong relationship with the evangelists. They will try to retain the quality of their service or product & focus on providing a better experience on every purchase.

Customer touch points

  • Retention.
  • Repurchase from the brand.
  • Recommend the brand.

Customer Impression

  • I Recommend

Reaching the End Goal – New Customer Path

It is important to understand that a customer can be at any stage of the customer path and it is not necessary for the customer to walk through all the stages of the customer path to reach the end goal. Here are some of the instances where the customer can skip certain stages to reach the end goal.

1st Instance – Here a customer is on the Awareness stage but the customer might not be interested to learn about the product. In this case, the customer will skip the Appeal stage and directly move from Ask stage to the Act stage because of the recommendation from a trusted source.

2nd Instance – Here the customer might move from Awareness stage to the Appeal stage and directly to the Act stage skipping the Ask stage because the customer was convinced by the first 2 stages alone.

3rd instance – It is not necessary for Advocates of a brand to be buyers of that brand. The customers might be promoting the brand or advocating the brand just because they admire the brand or perhaps impressed by the brand.

Conclusion

A proper understanding of the customer path will help you to better understand your customers & it will help you to reduce the cost & increase the sales. It will also help you to take the necessary steps to build a stronger relationship with your customers and to understand customer behaviour much more efficiently.

Marketing 4.0 by Philip Kotler
Moving from Traditional to Digital is the much-needed handbook for next-generation marketing. Written by the world’s leading marketing authorities, this book helps you navigate the increasingly connected world and changing consumer landscape to reach more customers, more effectively.

Most of the content from this article was based on the topic New Customer Path from Marketing 4.0 by Philip Kotler. I strongly recommend you guys to read that book.

Hope you guys found this article interesting & informative. If you have any comment, suggestions, advice or request then please do comment it down. I would love to hear from you.

He’s a 23yr old pursuing a career in Digital Marketing, WordPress Development, and Graphic Designing. Trying to create a mark for himself in a Dynamic World. Frustrated by blood-sucking guru’s & specialists, he’s on a quest to educate beginners by creating small communities. He likes to spend his free time creating a purpose to make things more productive, playing games, reading articles & stuff that you wouldn’t care to know.

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