Geek looking at data

Omni-Channel Marketing: Not Your Father's Customer Journey

Published Jun 10, 2016, 09:23 AM by Vito De Filippis

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping for home stuff. Blame it on the fact that my wife and I are moving out of our one-bedroom condo and into a house in the suburbs. To me, the best thing about suburbia is the ability to barbecue in your backyard. Thus, I have decided that my first purchase for the new crib will be a nice, shiny barbecue. I can almost smell the charbroiled burgers and dogs—not to mention taste the chill brews—as I write this blog.

vito-researchBarbecue research: serious business.

But a barbecue is a big purchase, and I wasn’t going to just waltz into my local home improvement store and pick one out. I needed to conduct weeks of meticulous research online—visiting retailers’ sites, manufacturers’ sites and watching YouTube videos of people lovingly unboxing their newly acquired barbecues—before I found the right one. Finally, after developing a complex price versus feature comparison spreadsheet detailing 10 different models, I eventually picked the one: the Weber Genesis E-320. I monitored the Home Depot website for about two weeks, waiting for it to go on sale, and once it did, I promptly pulled the trigger.

A few days later, I went to visit my parents where I expected to engage in some manly bragging with my dad about my shiny new barbecue. I walked around to the backyard where they were enjoying some short-lived good weather when I was unhappily surprised to see the same Weber Genesis E-320 sitting under my parents’ deck—uncovered and seemingly taunting me across the yard.


“Hi, Vito. Do you like our new barbecue?” my father asked cheerily. “It was about time to scrap the old one, and this was on special in the Home Depot flyer.”

I smiled wanly, but inside I was fuming. I don’t know what upset me more: the fact that I couldn’t one-up my parents with a better barbecue or the fact that I spent weeks deciding which one to buy, going over every excruciating detail of the product specs for multiple barbecues, and yet they had come to the same decision by simply opening a Home Depot flyer and thinking, “What the hell? Let’s do it!”    

“Wow, Dad, what a coincidence,” I said. “I just ordered the same one online, and it’s coming in a few days.”

“Oh, you lucked out then,” he replied. “The guy at the store said it was a really good buy.”

I’m not sure that two weeks of research qualifies as “lucking out,” but that was okay if I somehow managed to impress my dad.

Once I cooled my jets, I began to think about the different “paths to purchase” that my dad and I followed, only to arrive at the same destination.  I decided to do a bit of analysis comparing our neighbourhoods’ PRIZM5 segments to see if these differences could be captured using our segmentation system and Opticks databases. Maybe, statistically, it is more likely for people in my younger, suburban cluster, 16 Pets and PCs, to make more research-driven purchases than my dad’s older, urban segment, 63 Lunch at Tim’s, who may rely on flyers to learn about products. The graphic below displays the clear differences in customer journeys for members of the two segments. (Data come from the Opticks databases powered by Numeris RTS and AskingCanadians™ for the Greater Toronto Area.)

(Click image to enlarge) blog-defilippis-bbq

PRIZM5 can be a very strong tool for marketers to use when determining and optimizing their omni-channel strategy. The above analysis was developed using our Opticks databases, but PRIZM5 can be appended to any data with a postal code and used to understand business specific channels like mobile app use or digital kiosks. Smart marketers know that their business doesn’t attract just one type of customer, so why only have one omni-channel strategy?

While I have yet to fire up my new barbecue, I have developed a strong bond with it as a result of my protracted customer journey. My dad, on the other hand, is just happy to get back to grilling up some dogs and burgers.

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