Path to purchase data mining

The world of digital marketing is rich with content, analytics, and information, but few of us use the tools that are available…but is this caused by the amount of clutter that hits marketers every day, or is it the lack of understanding of the tools available, or can it be we just don’t care?   This article get’s into this topic and helps you understand the issues surrounding what marketers are doing with the data we gather and receive every day.   If you understand the path to purchase data that flows through the internet you will succeed.


Survey: Marketers Aren’t Tapping Into Power Of Path-To-Purchase Data

by Marsha Lindsay
Lindsay, Stone & Briggs

In an earlier story on, I suggested that if marketers don’t know the path their customers are taking to buy what you’re selling, it’s practically guaranteed your marketing is both inefficient and underperforming.


  • Even of those who at least had some information on their target’s path to purchase, 22% confessed they don’t do much with it.
  • 95% of marketers said they don’t have any P2P information on the impact of their content marketing.
  • Would asking bosses to fill out a similar questionnaire open their minds and wallets to funding path to purchase research?

A follow-up survey of marketers by my company, Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, in partnership with, revealed that nearly three-quarters admitted to not regularly researching their customers’ path to purchase, likely rendering their efforts both inefficient and underperforming.

Even of those who at least had some information on their target’s path to purchase, 22% confessed they don’t do much with it. Some admitted to it being years old and thus probably irrelevant anyway.

Of those who did have some information on their target’s path to purchase info:

  • Only 19% said they use it to track the effectiveness of their marketing communications impact over time.
  • Only 20% said their model allows them to ID where people fall off the path to purchase.
  • Only 14% said it allows them to optimize conversion rates.
  • Only 10% said it allowed the to track the customer journey in real time.
  • Only 10% said their model allows them to track and model the customer journey by individual customer so as to customize the mix and message that moves them best.
  •  Only 7% said they take the raw data and make it more insightful and useful with charts, graphs, color, or infographics.

The irony of these findings? The very purpose of marketing is to identify where to leverage marketing dollars to be at the best time and place for effect, with the most persuasive message for the prospective buyer.

The survey also revealed that 9% have a media-based model. And 55% of those modeling the customer’s journey use a framework based on touch points. A potential disadvantage of each of these is that as media and touch points continue to change, these marketers are at risk of their data being useless almost as soon as it’s captured. The 34% of respondents using a cognitive or behavioral model (such as awareness, consideration, trial, purchase, repeat, first moment of truth, second moment of truth, etc.) may find themselves better able to draw meaningful conclusions over time.

Of the many touch points that are presumed to be impacting the path to purchase of most every consumer and many B2B brands, the survey revealed a surprising 94% or more of respondents that were using P2P models did not account for any of the following:

  • Experiential marketing
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Online video
  • Pinterest
  • Traditional publicity
  • Mobile search
  • Digital ads of any sort

And despite the conventional wisdom today that content marketing is a basic requirement of all marketing plans, 95% said they don’t have any P2P information on its impact, and only 8% said they wish they did.

However, it appears that just taking the survey prompted respondents across the board to face the fact that they don’t have anywhere near the basic information they need to understand and leverage their customers’ path to purchase. That’s because at the end of the survey, 76% said it was “critical” or “imperative” that they get more and better info on their customers’ path to purchase starting in 2015.

This commitment on the part of so many marketers to get the critical information they need is great news. But it’s coming at the end of the survey makes me wonder: Did just taking the survey help them realize how much more effective and efficient their marketing would be if they mapped and modeled their customers’ journey? If so, would asking bosses to fill out a similar questionnaire open theirminds and wallets to funding path to purchase research? 

About Marsha Lindsay

Marsha Lindsay is CEO of Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, the brand-marketing firm specializing in the successful positioning of brands

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