What is the Consumer Decision Journey?

The Consumer Decision Journey is a framework for evaluating how consumers make buying decisions and how marketers can influence those decisions. Used by many companies who sell products to consumers — especially Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies — this framework helps marketers better understand the key touch points where the right message target at the right consumer can change consumer behavior.

  1. Path to Purchase

    The first three steps in the consumer decision journey comprise the path to purchase. The first step, "aware," refers to consumers being aware that your product even exists. While it might seem obvious, in a landscape where consumers are exposed to many thousands of products every day, awareness isn't a given. But simple awareness isn't enough. After consumers are exposed to a brand, they still have to decide whether to actually use it—which is when the second phase, "consider," comes into play. If a consumer transitions out of the "consider" phase, they move on to the final step of the path to purchase. They decide to buy a product—but that's only the beginning. After purchase, the path to securing a loyal customer for life begins.

  2. Path to Passion

    The consumer starts the path to passion by experiencing a product. For example, if it's a face wash, consumers decide whether the packaging is annoying, get used to the scent, and monitor their face to see if it's drying. Experience is continual, and can change in the first week's consumers buy a product. And, if all goes well, they'll repeat the experience—moving on to the "repeat" phase of the consumer decision journey.

    However, just because a consumer buys a product again doesn't mean they're a loyal customer. They can have a negative experience the second time around, or find a product that suits their needs better. This is why continual product updates and upgrades are key.

    As a consumer continues to repeat the experience of buying a product, a brand eventually experiences the last phase of the journey—loyalty. This is a coveted status, but it can change at any time if a consumer has a better experience with a competitor product—so CPG brands have to stay continually on their toes.

    What is your brand doing to build a path to loyalty?