THE EVOLUTION OF THE CONSUMER DECISION JOURNEY

Updated: May 13, 2019

Credit from Chris Greenough


In 2009, McKinsey pronounced the classic funnel dead. In its place, the “Customer Decision Journey” accurately depicted how customers use technology to inform themselves about brands and products before making a purchase decision.





Then, in 2015 they revised it with the notion that the consumer has accelerated and they eliminated the consideration and evaluation phases. At this time, I challenged that the advent of conversational commerce was the possible cause


However, a lot has changed since 2015. Bitcoin cost about $200, Snapchat was supposed to take down Facebook and #FakeNews wasn’t an international debate. Now consider how much has changed since 2009, when this was created. The way we communicate, shop and experience the digital world has fundamentally changed.


And since marketers have been kicking this dead horse for a long enough time, I can confidently proclaim that the Consumer Decision Journey is no longer relevant.


The fundamental shift between 2009 and now is regarding the balance of power in the decision making process. The McKinsey model suggests that consumers are firmly in the driver seat, and brands must engage and influence them into a cycle of loyalty.


However in today’s mega-platform world, consumers are not as in control they may think. Consumers today are spoilt for choice and consequently, we have handed over our decision making powers to the machines.

Consider how we discover news, new music or movies today — Facebook, Spotify, Netflix (and Medium) show us what they think we want to see, and unless we actively breakout of the cycle, our experiences are highly curated.


It’s this shift in power, from decision to curation, where we find our successor — The Curated Customer Journey.



The advent of the Custated Customer Journey requires that brands of the future must navigate the balance between profits and ethics as they curate journeys for their customers. And, as personal data privacy becomes more important for more customers, certain businesses will need to consider how this impacts their business model.


For example, Netflix and Spotify are in a strong position to continue to personalise our experience in a fairly innocuous way, while advertising-driven businesses are at the moment navigating foggier seas.


With that in mind, businesses must shift their models to accommodate the evolving customer journeys rather than designing the customer journey around their legacy structures.


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