Consumer Decision Journey

McKinsey Consumer Decision Journey

Consumer Decision Journey

The Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ) is a powerful marketing model introduced by McKinsey & Company in 2009. This CDJ is initiated with a Trigger whereby a consumer recognizes that he or she is in need of a new product or service. Most consumers then enter into a phase called the Initial Consideration Set. It is during this phase that a consumer evaluates some of its initial decision choices, and the options available to that consumer will initially be limited to the personal experience available to that consumer. Most consumers then decide to embark on the Active Evaluation phase of the CDJ. The Active Evaluation phase is a messy and complex phase consisting of information gathering, or the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), and a shopping decision known as the First Moment of Truth (FMOT). The FMOT in the CDJ is denoted as the Moment of Purchase. The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is the process noted as the Post-purchase Experience, and it is during this phase that a consumer evaluates to itself whether or not the chosen brand has fully satisfied its expectations. During the SMOT, consumers often share feedback to their family and friends in the form of referrals and many of these referral methods today are conveyed via digital social media. The final step of the CDJ is demonstrated as a Loyalty Loop. A brand which successfully delivers a quality product or service in accordance with the expectations of the consumer often benefits at the next moment that the consumer experiences that “Trigger” moment. Once a consumer builds loyalty to a known brand, a consumer will bypass the “Active Evaluation” process and take a short-cut to the “Moment of Purchase”.

This is an interesting cycle and simple to visualize with this graphic above. Why is this important to us here at and to you our customers? Because today, much of a consumer’s Active Evaluation process and Post-purchase Experience is shared via forms of digital communication, and, thus data can be collected, analyzed, and reported within our business operations in order to understand the effectiveness of our management decisions. First, we must understand that these forms of digital communications and our ability to collect data is quite messy. We have to get organized and grab control of this process. We must define the questions that we want to ask during the CDJ cycle and the metrics that might drive our quantitative analysis of this cycle.

ZMOT Is A Messy Period of Digital Communication


Question: What creates the consumer need? – Of course there are natural moments that create consumer “triggers”, but display advertising can often create that impulsive “trigger” as well. When we create display ads on billboards, TV, radio, websites and more, we attempt to manufacture those moments and we wish to measure our effectiveness in many ways. Some of our advertising will immediate convert a customer through the “Loyalty Loop” shortcut, and some of our visitors captured through advertising will be lost to the “Active Evaluation” loop, where things get competitive and messy.

Method: Click-Stream Analysis – Yahoo! Web Analytics, Google Analytics, Piwik, Feedburner, Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools.

Digital Channels: Display or Video Advertising

Display Channel Metrics:

  • Impressions: The number times an advertisement is displayed to a customer
  • Click-Through Rate: The average number of click-throughs per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): The average cost per click on a displayed advertisement
  • Cost Per Visitor Acquisition: The costs associated with acquiring the new visitor
  • Cost Per Customer Acquisition: The costs associated with acquiring the new customer
  • Return on Investment (ROI): The gross profit earned from new customers as a ratio to the total advertising expense
  • Macro Conversion Rate: The number of sales divided by the number of visitor sessions
  • Events per Visit: Average number of pre-defined actions completed during a session

Video Channel Metrics:

  • Video Views: Full-length (complete) and partial (incomplete) views of the posted video
  • Play-Through Rate: The number of viewers who watch the video to completion, expressed as a percentage
  • Engagement Rate: The number of viewers who participate with the video by taking some defined action (ie. shared video, left a comment, “liked” or favorited, etc.), expressed as a percentage

Initial Consideration Set

Question: How do compete and stand-out in the digital marketplace? – prospective customers at this step in the CDJ have not immediately converted to you as your customer through the Loyalty Loop. This prospective customer has decided to start searching for information to help him or her make a purchase decision. You need to get found today on search engines, and most importantly, Google.

Method: Competitive Intelligence – Google Search, Google Adwords, Google MyBusiness, Google Maps, Website HMTL Audit, Mobile Responsive Website and Emails, Search Engine Optimization, Secure Your Website, AdWords Keyword Tools, Back-links, Brand Mentions, Social Shares, Twitter Hash-Tags, Email Promotions

Search Channel Metrics:

  • Keyword Strategy: Identify search engine keywords which can drive consumer search activity to your website and specialized landing pages
  • HTML Audit: A thorough evaluation of your website markup and validation that your HTML markup conforms to your keyword advertisinig strategies
  • Organic Search Position: Evaluation of your average organic search position for targeted keywords
  • Paid Search Position: Evaluation of the average paid search position for target keywords
  • Impressions: The number times an advertisement is displayed to a customer
  • Click-Through Rate: The average number of click-throughs per hundred ad impressions, expressed as a percentage
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): The average cost per click on a displayed advertisement
  • Cost Per Visitor Acquisition: The costs associated with acquiring the new visitor
  • Cost Per Customer Acquisition: The costs associated with acquiring the new customer
  • Return on Investment (ROI): The gross profit earned from new customers as a ratio to the total advertising expense

Active Evaluation

Question: Are my digital advertising strategies successfully converting to customer referrals and inquiries? – At this stage in the CDJ we need be able to plan and to implement effective marketing campaigns and we need to be able to measure our performance.

Method: Experimentation and Testing – HootSuite, Google Adwords, Google Trends, Google Correlate

Search and Social Channel Metrics:

  • Social Campaigns: Capture metrics related to the number of blog articles, tweets, etc that your organization is completing over time
  • Social Shares: Capture metrics related to the number of social shares, mentions, etc. and monitor over time
  • Social Membership: Capture metrics related to the growth in your social media following
  • New Customer Conversion Rate: The number of orders received from new customers as a percentage of your entire customer base

Moment of Purchase

Question: Do my sales efforts result in wins for my brands?

Method: Outcomes Analysis – Mongoose Metrics, ifbyphone, LivePerson

Post-Purchase Experience

Question: Do the experiences I deliver fulfill customer expectations?

Method: Voice of the Customer (Experience Surveys) – Qualaroo (formerly KissInsights),,, Concept Feedback, Bounce, Google Consumer Surveys

Loyalty Loop

Question: Do customers advocate for my brand?

Method: Voice of the Customer (Brand Advocacy) – Qualaroo (formerly KissInsights),,, Concept Feedback, Bounce, Google Consumer Surveys

Digital Channels: Social Advertising

Social Channel Metrics:

  • Audience Growth: Increase in the number of people following or liking digital content over time
  • Amplification Rate: Rate at which your followers take your content and share it through their network
  • Applause Rate: Rate at which your followers attach special recognition to your post (Likes, +1’s, Favorties, etc)
  • Micro Conversion Rate: Number of pre-defined goals achieved divided by the number of visitor sessions

Miscellaneous Emerging Analytics Tools

Method: Miscellaneous – Klout, AnalyzeWords, Topsy, TweetBinder, Think with Google


1. Kevin Hartman. “Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals: Marketing Analytics in Theory”. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Obtained online at on August 18, 2017.

Content Marketing Art Science

Marketing Meets Science

Marketing managers and executives everywhere … has the thought crossed your mind that you just might need a data scientist in your marketing department? Crazy question … not really! Digital communication in the form of websites, social media, email, texting, mobile apps, blogs, online media channels, podcasts, and more have become all the rage. Consumers are now highly engaged with digital media; and, as a result, they are highly informed and making purchase decisions way before they arrive at your brick-and-mortar store-front or website. It is during this Zero Moment of Truth stage, that marketing professionals must combine their skills as an artist with the skills of a scientist. It’s not all about the visualization of your page any more. Now, it is becoming far more important to gather data about the consumers’ behavior.

The world of digital communication enables marketing professionals to monitor and to track consumer click-paths; and this behavior can be stored, analyzed, and used to drive data-driven decisions in the management of our business operations. Click paths are monitored and recorded with the use of browser cookies and tags. Cookies and Tags are short scripts that record the click-path for use by an analyst. Web content now needs to be planned with conversion goals and click-path strategies in mind. The web content needs to be written not with just the colors, fonts, images, and videos in mind, but now we must include ID’s and classes within our HTML mark-up that will allow Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics to measure conversion results.

No big deal so far. Marketing professionals have been using Google Analytics and other web page stat-counting tools for years. Monitoring web traffic is easy … right? Well, not so much. Web traffic today goes beyond the scope of your private business website. Today, marketing professionals manage social media sites, PPC advertising, 3rd-party blogging sites, 3rd-party referral sites, and more. Our consumers are influenced by this broad spectrum of digital media, and our ability to capture and to collect data across platforms requires the use of RESTful strategies and advanced programming interfaces or API’s. Data can be collected across advertising domains, but it requires the mind of a scientist, not an artist.

Now, have you ever opened a large data file in Excel and wondered what to do with that data? Who’s going to read that data? Not the artist … call in the scientist! Marketing data needs to be collected, cleaned, analyzed for patterns, and then visualized in useful reports. There are certainly tools available today that makes much of this effort pretty easy. But have you ever wondered if you could customize a tool so that it truly meets your business needs? There is a growing need for a scientist inside all marketing departments today. We are digital marketing strategists here at, and we look forward to helping you increase your marketing effectiveness with the analytical tools that are right for you. No one solution is perfect for everyone. Tool selection depends highly on budget, available resources, and your business strategies. Please Contact Us today and let us know if we can help you.

Zero Moment of Truth

Zero Moment of Truth

Google is not only hard at work transforming the way digital communications are built and published from a technical standpoint, but now Google is transforming how we understand and conduct our business as marketing professionals as well. Google is credited for defining a new marketing phase called the Zero Moment of Truth, and it is during this stage that digital communications like web sites and social media messaging are credited for being highly influential in the consumer selection process of choosing one brand over another.

The traditional marketing model defines for us the concepts of Stimulus, First Moment of Truth, and the Second Moment of Truth. It is the Stimulus stage which generates the idea to a consumer that he or she is in need or that he or she desires to purchase a new product or service. Traditionally, a consumer traveled to a brick and mortar store and made its choice by reviewing packaging or promotional messages offered on the store shelves. This is known to us as the First Moment of Truth. We also know traditionally that the Second Moment of Truth is the phase where the consumer’s personal experience with the post-purchase use or consumption of the product either reinforces or destroys the consumer’s choice in the particular brand selection.

Now enter the Zero Moment of Truth. Today, people in almost all walks of life are thoroughly engaged in the use of their mobile devices because information and communication with our friends is only a few clicks or a few spoken words away. Mobile computing devices are everywhere; and, within these devices, social media has made it incredibly easy to share information, opinions, likes, dislikes, suggestions, referrals, and more. Equally convenient is the ease at which we can use Google and other search engines to type or to speak a few words and to then return to us, in moments, information related exactly to the item or topic for which we are searching.

The Zero Moment of Truth is a very messy and complicated new stage of marketing. There is much happening now with the development of digital communications. We marketing professionals must stay on top of learning new methodologies each and every day. Today, we publish innovative and engaging websites, and this isn’t enough. We must also maintain a presence in the social media, and Facebook and Twitter isn’t enough. We must advertise with the search engines, but don’t forget the social media as well. We are even told to blog and to syndicate content not only from our own business websites but to participate and to contribute to others as well. Often times we can’t do it all not just because of budget constraints, but often due to resource constraints. We need to make choices over one method or another based on the effectiveness of the options available.

How do we make these A/B choices? With digital communications, we can now monitor, track, and collect more data than ever thought possible. We can define and monitor digital click paths, measure goal conversion rates, measure return-on-investment. We can drive sales and promotional campaigns through our websites and social media channels. Let’s now also realize that, with digital communications, we can now monitor brand sentiment analysis and track the effect that our marketing campaigns have with the public opinion of our brand. There are several tools that are critical to the management of digital marketing campaigns today. These tools might start with Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Google AdWords, and other Google resources. But today, HootSuite is becoming increasingly important along with others.

We are digital marketing specialists here at, and we look forward to helping you increase your marketing effectiveness not with just a new fancy website, but with the other tools critical to search engine optimization today. SEO today is all about your marketing effectiveness within this ZMOT stage of the consumer selection process.