Local Marketing Blog
Local Marketing Blog
Local Marketing Blog

The Four Phases of the Consumer Decision Journey

Consumer Decision Journey Blog Title

The Consumer Decision Journey

Your marketing efforts should start with a basic understanding of how customers shop. You can then target important phases to influence a customer’s purchasing decisions.

Published in June 2009, the McKinsey Quarterly introduced the consumer decision journey (CDJ). The CDJ maps out the process a customer goes through when shopping for products and services. Consumer behavior has changed and will continue to change over time.

Customers have a lot of choices and a lot of information at their fingertips. It’s important to know how to guide them to your door.

Consumer Decision Infographic 2


A customer begins with the companies they can think of off the top of their head. This includes any storefronts they’ve passed by, branded vehicles rolling through their neighborhood, postcards they’ve seen–any brand they’ve passively encountered.


This is the research stage, and it will most likely start online and on a mobile device. Customers will also reach out for information and recommendations from friends and online reviews.


Most customers wait until they’re in the store to buy anything. Sales interactions and pricing at this point are crucial.


Customers will advocate your brand through social media and word-of-mouth after the sale. It will have a greater impact if you have a social media presence so that the communication goes two ways.

Target Your Marketing

The three phases where your marketing efforts will be most influential are Consider, Evaluate, and Advocate. Customers will not actually decide to purchase until they are already in your store so advertising won’t matter as much here.

When it comes to understanding where to begin in allocating your marketing budget, the five things to focus on are local search, direct mail, email marketing,  social media, and third-party reviews.

  • Optimizing local search will increase the appearance of your online properties, like your company website and social media profiles, during a customer’s online research process.
  • Direct mail coupled with email marketing will increase the reach of your brand across your local area. Direct mail is great at making past customers repeat customers. When they need your services again, they now have an email, postcard, or flier with how to reach you.
  • Customers will go to friends for recommendations and the internet for reviews. A testimonials page doesn’t have the same power as having a cache of third-party reviews across several directories. Consumers want to know that you had no influence on the reviews of your business.
  • Having a strong social media presence will give customers a direct way to communicate with you and voice their opinion about your business. Remember, both positive and negative feedback are marketing assets for you.

Each marketing channel has their own components and can take time to set up and maintain. Customer Lobby can help boost your local search ranking, collect, and manage online reviews. Our Campaigns mail program can also help keep your business top of mind with personalized messages to a targeted group of past customers. Click here to learn more.


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail