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Understanding the customer journey

The Outdoor Media Centre's Customer Journey research sets out to investigate the path to purchase from the customer's perspective.

Consumers utilise a mix of media and non-media sources when making up their minds about purchasing

Consumers utilise a mix of media and non-media sources when making up their minds about purchasing

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By asking questions to a large scale panel and then collecting additional data via mobiles and smartphones, we can understand respondents’ view of the world and of the influences they receive via both advertising and non-advertising stimuli.

This may be the first study to look widely at a number of categories across the whole gamut of brand usage, editorial reading, word of mouth and advertising media.

What we have learned, and in retrospect it seems obvious, is that consumers utilise a mix of media and non-media sources when making up their minds about buying stuff.

No single touchpoint (encounter type) does the whole business in any category, and of course every category behaves slightly differently. 

We identified four stages in the journey, which we designated as absorbing, planning, obtaining and sharing.

What is different about the Customer Journey research is that we can investigate the differences at each of those four stages of the journey, especially where respondents have moved forwards on their path to purchase.

We have learned that buyers use different influences at different stages of the purchase process.

Groups most responsive to OOH

Source: Outdoor Media Centre

A quick overview of the numbers. Our total sample was 3,700, broken down as 1,500 on the nationally representative panel, and 2,200 in the dynamic stage of the research, carrying mobile handsets for two weeks, with each respondent being in the market for one of nine product categories.

This second wave generated 13,000 logged brand encounters, where respondents checked in to note a brand encounter and told us the nature of that encounter, including any resulting feelings and actions taken.

Outdoor scored second highest of the media encounters, behind television. Across the categories, fashion encounters were logged most frequently by those in the market (an average of 11 times in two weeks) compared to banks (an average of four times in two weeks).The all-category average was just over six times.

Share of media encounters

Source: Outdoor Media Centre

Across all categories, media advertising accounted for 54% of total encounters. This rose to 65% in cars and 66% in films - sectors where we can infer that advertising is an especially strong influence on the decision. Perfumes, pay TV and fashion are also areas where advertising plays a stronger than average role.

Share of encounters

Source: Outdoor Media Centre

Category by category, magazines, radio, online, TV and press all have a share of the honours. But in all categories there is a consistent outdoor story.

From the static phase of the study we also know much more about people’s interactions with outdoor: which types of people search online, search via their mobiles, investigate brands and buy products as a result of seeing out of home advertising.

We learned that those most exposed to outdoor - the affluent, those with smart phones, longer commuters, those in cities, younger, mobile people - are also much the most likely to have investigated and bought because of out of home advertising.

That is a feature of out of home - the people you reach most are the people you most want to reach. The virtuous circle also means that a higher frequency of exposure is well worth having, as it continues to drive investigation and purchase. There are strong links with social media and with mobile search too.

All this underlines a role for outdoor’s ability to place a visual branded message in the right context to influence the people who are in the market.

But again, in summary, no single medium cleans up, and media planners might more than ever look to combinations of media to get their messages across most effectively. The Customer Journey shows a buyer’s view of relevant brand encounters, and can help to inform the planning process.

Outdoor Media Centre

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