From Brand Awareness to Purchase: The Consumer Purchase Funnel Process

How many times throughout the week do you see a company logo slapped onto a billboard, incorporated into the name of a sporting event, or even plastered on the back of a boxer? These are classic examples of brand awareness strategy. With brand awareness, companies are simply making the consumer aware that they exist—that’s about it.

While brand awareness is generally of little use on its own, it’s an important first step in a process known in marketing as the purchase funnel.

The purchase funnel measures and studies how your marketing audience flows through the steps of your campaign. While there are variations, the basic structure is:

  • Awareness: The consumer knows about your product or service.
  • Opinion: The consumer has developed some sort of belief, attitude or judgment about your offering.
  • Consideration: The consumer is actually thinking that maybe, just maybe, she will buy what you’re selling.
  • Preference: The consumer has done some homework and, given the available options, is leaning towards your organization or has at least put you on her short list.
  • Purchase: the big moment where money changes hands and you’ve finally made a sale

Obviously, it’s hard for a customer to make a purchase, show a preference for or even form an opinion about your products or services without first being aware of them. That doesn’t happen with brand awareness only. That’s just the first step.

In truth, it may be that the concept of a purchase “funnel” creates some unfortunate expectations. When we think of a funnel, we may envision fluid simply flowing from top to bottom in an effortless manner. This is not so with the purchase funnel we’re speaking of here, though. There’s a great deal of effort and strategy required to move from one step to the next.

Unfortunately, too many companies focus an inordinate amount of time and money on brand awareness, without having a strategy to push that awareness through the purchase funnel to, ultimately, generate real revenue.

In addition, many also fail to realize that marketing communication isn’t the be-all and end-all to business success; it’s just one part of the marketing mix. Success requires all four of the apocryphal “4 Ps” working together to achieve results: a product that the market values, a price-point that best reflects that value, ready access (place) when a purchase decision is made and, of course, promotion to ensure awareness, to create a positive opinion and, ultimately, to drive a purchase decision.

The bottom line here: you don’t have them at awareness; it takes a bit more effort than that!

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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