Friday, 20 September 2013

Snakes & Ladders

I'm still in two minds about the Customer Decision Journey way of thinking: a model of how people make purchase decisions and what influences them along the way. Of course, the McKinsey model is a vast improvement on those funnels of bygone years. And it's good to see them adapting and updating the model to the digital world, and putting more emphasis on experience and advocacy.

But... as McKinsey themselves describe it, it's about "a series of interactions with a brand where a customer makes a decision or completes a task." This makes two assumptions:

1. It's about a sequence of events, where one follows another. Yes, I know that it's circular and not linear, and that feedback loops are probably implied at all stages but it's still about one thing following another in time. Experience comes after purchase.

2. Brand, product, communication, media, customer, company are all separate and clearly defined entities.

On real journeys, life's not like that. Unexpected events occur, things don't go in sequence and sometimes you end up back where you started - or lost. A wise research agency once compared the purchase decision process as being more like a game of snakes and ladders.

I'm not suggesting that the CDJ is not a useful tool - and I know many people find it a great method of clarify thinking and generating communication ideas.

But any kind of thinking should also be complemented by your own personal experience.

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