Customer journey mapping has helped companies improve their customers' experience, but we have to be smart about the fact that it's just a tool for planning and for empathizing with our customers. How customers actually decide and adopt our services is very unpredictable, and we should keep studying the real data all the time.
VentureBeat: The 'path' to purchase is really a random walk, 2017-Jun-11 by Jason Carmel
As an example, a study by the travel company Expedia found that people make, on average, 140 visits to various travel sites in the 45 days before making an actual booking. That’s just one channel (web). Imagine how many other influences, from social media to TV, to friends and family, also impact that one purchase decision. Even in the most poetic sense, that is no discrete “path.” Yet the entire ad industry develops campaign strategies, buys media, and tracks success based on this fiction. This weights channel preferences to those that benefit from last click attribution, which subsequently weights budgets to those media as well.
It might finally be time to throw away the “path” metaphor altogether. This is by no means the first call or attempt to do that – we have seen purchase “stages,” “loops,” “funnels,” and “sine curves,” all striving, with varying degrees of success, to put a more nuanced framework of order around the chaos that is purchase decision making. But it is precisely in that adherence to “order” where most of these frameworks break down. Most of our decision making, some experts put it as high as 95 percent, happens at a subconscious level, influenced by dozens of known and unknown variables far beyond the marketer’s control. Forcing that messiness into an order is folly. It’s time we embrace randomness...