Joel Rubinson, chief research officer for The ARF (advertising research foundation) has an interesting post up about the value of path to purchase research and recency in marketing. First off, two points of background: One, at Naked we spent a lot of time thinking about consumer journeys and that has definitely shaped my thinking on the subject and two, if you’re unfamiliar with path to purchase and why it’s valuable you need to look no further than Google. Basically the money machine that is Google Adwords is one of the best purchase path targeting devices the marketing world has ever known. Think about it this way, when you’re thinking about buying a TV you type in some vague keywords to aid your research, advertisers looking to reach you spend less, because they know you’re not as far along on your path. Later on, as you zero in on the make and model, keyword price goes up, as they know you’re close to purchase and they can extract some dough from you.
Anyway, Joel suggests that more brands should pay attention to their consumer’s purchase paths as it will help them prioritize their marketing. If you know that people tend to make a decision before they walk into the store, then you want to be at that last place where they made that decision. Joel acknowledges that this needs to be balanced with brand goals, a point he illustrates nicely with cinema advertising: “Hypothetically, cinema advertising might have the highest LTS of all touchpoints (you’re sitting in the theatre waiting for the movie to start) but a really low recency factor. However, the recency factor itself might be less important when marketing’s main objective is “imparting brand meaning” (say during the launch of a brand).”