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As social, mobile transform the consumer purchase ‘funnel’

Marketing in a digital world has changed many traditional ways of looking at the consumer and the chain of communication. The traditional path to purchase could have been easily defined as a funnel that began with awareness, to create familiarity and allow consideration, leading to purchase and eventually developing loyalty. Everything old may be new again but the balance has changed and so has some definitions.

According to Andrew Knott, Vice President, Media and Digital, McDonald’s Corporation, the purchase ‘funnel’ has morphed into a new form. The consumer journey now moves between two key triggers – the interest trigger and the decision trigger. The decision trigger sees the cycle begin with consideration, evaluation and commitment leading to purchase and the interest trigger highlights the key role that experience and advocacy plays in this.

The change has come on the back of a world where social media and mobile are rewriting new rules, and it is imperative for marketers to understand some of these rules. Speaking at the MMA Forum in Singapore last week, Mr Knott, elaborated on the McDonald’s view. “One of the insights we came across was that people will not bother sharing ads but they will share content that embraces issues. This puts a new spin on the importance of transparency and some of our initiatives factored this.”

One such initiative is ‘Our food your questions’, where consumers could pose any question to McDonald’s and the fast food major would reply to these with detail, in some instances even taking a behind the scenes tour to explain how McDonald’s approached food.

“This is not just selling brand love but being truly transparent and it has been very good for us despite the fact that in some markets, these are also uncomfortable subjects,” remarked Mr Knott.

While the real power through social is one dimension, the other more important aspect is that this does not sit in isolation. The data that is captured in the process is another area that corporates such as McDonald’s utilise to be able to create engaging and more continuous conversations with its consumers.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.