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As I continue to thread the new journey to profit, it becomes more and more clear that as much as emotions are a key driver for your consumers, it is a matter of logic that brands adapt their approach to driving revenue. If you are following along, the last few posts clearly outline the value of context and content… where context must be understood before content can be created, distributed, and shared.

journey to profit

In 2009, McKinsey undertook an initiative to develop a new, more effective approach to the marketing. They explored the purchase decisions of 20,000 consumers, across five industries and three continents. The proposed approach seriously challenges the traditional view of the consumer sales funnel; suggesting that a consumer’s process, when making a purchase decision, is far from linear. The approach –the consumer decision journey (video)—also suggests that, from a marketer’s point of view, there are new opportunities to connect with, and convert potential consumers. The consumer decision journey reinforces the value of context and content, squarely placing the understanding of context as a mandatory precursor to the creation, delivery and distribution of quality content.


Consumer decision journey, McKinsey (2009)

What happens once you’ve gained the awareness required for your brand to satisfy the first step on the way to a transaction in both the traditional funnel (awareness) and the consumer decision journey (initial consideration set)? You’ve now proved yourself to your new consumer. You’ve become a brand they really, really value –today. If they make a purchase, you’ve just made a little profit. But, the third element businesses are desperately seeking these days is loyalty. One transaction is not loyalty. Even a repeat transaction for points isn’t real loyalty; is it? The proposed loyalty loop is precarious.

Jill Griffin has authored multiple award-winning books on consumer behaviour, including loyalty. Griffin suggests that there are four types of loyalty that exist:

loyalty types

    • No loyalty: A consumer who is neither interested, nor would spend money on your brand.
    • Inertia loyalty: A consumer who offers repeat transactions because you are convenient (i.e. the gas station at the corner). They don’t love you. If another gas station opened across the street and offered a lower price (if it was possible), they’d go there!
    • Latent loyalty: A consumer who loves you, but for situational (read: context) reasons, can’t buy (a lot) from you. Think luxury brands like Ritz Carlton – everyone loves ‘em, but not everyone can afford to visit.
    • Premium loyalty: A consumer who loves you, who buys from you, who keeps coming back and who brings their friends! Spend a lot of time on them.

Combining the two models, it is easy to see that the context of your loyal consumers continues to be critical to your success –beyond the initial step—to ensure they remain in your loyalty loop.

So, how do you move your new consumer to continue to interact (and transact) with you? I would like to bring us back to my proposed concept of Motivational Marketing Math. In this loyalty and consumer decision-making journey, table stakes are a mandatory element! All these hot button topics we discuss: social media, content, engagement; those have little value if, once the consumer finalizes a transaction, the experience with the actual product fails.

Now, assuming the product or service you are selling delivers on your promises, I suggest the following equation can help us understand what could encourage our consumers to navigate from the moment of purchase to a repeated loyalty loop… Or, as Griffin put it, becoming a premium loyal.


Motivational Marketing Math

ActionSatisfaction = Likelihood to repeat or Likelihood to refer

Once your consumer takes action – every touchpoint: the interaction, the transaction and the use of the product/service must be stellar. With each impeccable interaction, your consumer will be exponentially more satisfied with their decision. If the next interaction reinforces the positive impression of the last interaction, you are on your way to creating a bond with your consumer.


Put yourself in your consumer’s shoes and walk through the moment of truth. Will your consumer be captivated enough to complete the purchase, let alone come back another day?


In most situations, the transaction itself is the easiest part. The consumer has made the decision to purchase; and all you need to do is ring it up! Is your entire team knowledgeable about: the product, its use, its price, its benefits, its specials and discounts and promotions? Can your representatives talk about your brand, intimately? Are your employees bonding with your brand? They are where the moment of truth occurs.


Once the consumer has walked away from your point-of-sale, then the only thing left to make an impression is the product or service itself. If it doesn’t work, the relationship will not go well!


Some products and services have become causes and communities in and of themselves (think Toms Shoes). As your consumer is using your product or service, they may be seeking ways to enhance their experience; they may be looking for help troubleshooting; or, they may simply be looking for ways to share and discuss their experience. Are you enabling them, or standing in their way?

Think about those components… when your consumer takes action, they need to find satisfaction in every step. If they do, the likelihood of them returning and, potentially even referring, increases exponentially!

What are you doing to ensure that your consumer is finding satisfaction and reinforcement in every single interaction with your brand?

The true marketing revolution will elevate the role of the business from making money to satisfying consumer needs and desires to making genuine contributions in their communities (local, national and global).