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The Consumer

Journey:
Auto-Buyers
Influences & Mindsets along
the Path to Purchase
Storyforward
Table of
Contents
Storyforward

Executive summary .............................................................................................................. 3


Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 4
Methodology ............................................................................................................................. 5
Market overview ..................................................................................................................... 6
Journey model .......................................................................................................................... 7
The ecosystem of influence ............................................................................................. 11
Ready, set, drive ..................................................................................................................... 12

01 Open to Possibility ............................................................................................. 12


02 Decision to Change ........................................................................................... 12
Influencers and mindsets along the journey....................................................... 14
03 Evaluating ................................................................................................................. 14
04 Shopping: The Terrain ..................................................................................... 17
04 Shopping: The Car & The Deal ................................................................. 23
05 Experiencing ........................................................................................................... 27
Reach and engage consumers ....................................................................................... 30
Executive Summary
1. Consumers across markets experience five 5. Consumers seek enrichment opportunities
distinct stages as they travel along the auto where they can experience the car before they
path to purchase, and digital media plays get to the dealership. Rich media, video and
a critical role at each stage. interactive gaming can bring the test drive
experience and feeling of driving the car alive
2. US consumers move through the path and foster more confidence before consumers
with relative ease due to a long legacy of interact with dealers.
home-grown industry knowledge. But many
consumers experience switchbacks to earlier 6. Consumers are more likely to purchase
stages, based both on unique cultural and from a dealer they like, but there are myriad
infrastructural realities, as well as needs that opportunities to enhance the dealership
go unfulfilled by media and technology. experience through touch screen technology
and ongoing mobile communication.
3. Most consumers establish their consideration
set by determining the best fit for their current 7. Consumers who personalize their vehicle
lifestyle. Marketers should leverage content post-purchase, via mobile apps and
such as Top Ten Family Cars or Best City communication technologies, are more likely
Vehicles to help consumers establish their to become loyal advocates for the brand.
early fits before they embark on heavier Marketers should leverage the window of
eliminate-and-compare research. opportunity after a new purchase to encourage
consumers to fully integrate mobile and
4. Consumers seek ways to avoid switchbacks in-car technologies.
to earlier stages of the journey through a
combination of authoritative content, expert 8. While knowing where consumers go for
reviews, consumer opinions and local dealer information is a critical part of media
information across PCs, tablets and mobile planning, marketers who understand the
phones. Marketers should consider ways to emotional or functional needs of consumers
help consumers triangulate and store their at each stage in the journey will be better
research to keep it accessible at home, at work able to develop effective messages across
and on-the-go. media channels that build brands and enable
decision simplicity.
Introduction
When I first drove, the car was everything.
It meant freedom.
Female, US

F
rom famous movie stars leaping into For The Consumer Journey: Auto-Buyers
getaway cars to beloved childhood study, we partnered with Ipsos Media CT and
cartoons that bring vehicles to life, the Iposo OTX to transform the traditional sales
iconic imagery of the automobile has been with funnel into a consumer-centric model, one
most of us since our earliest memories. Cars where consumer behavior and need-states
evoke freedom, lifestyle, status and mobility. drive marketer opportunities and solutions.
And for many consumers, they represent one of The Consumer Journey: Auto-Buyers
the biggest purchase decisions they make over addresses the following questions:
their lifetimes. But while our grandparents had
a finite and well-known set of influences when How do consumers travel along the path
purchasing a car, its a different story today. to purchase?
The proliferation of digital channels is reshaping What points of influenceincluding media,
the way consumers make purchase decisions; activities and other peopledo consumers
they take more time, complete more research, encounter when researching cars?
and travel through more points of influence than
ever before. As a result, consumers are faced How are local markets unique? How can
with an overabundance of information, while manufacturers in emerging markets such
marketers are also facing new challenges: how as Brazil and India start to create brand
to engage their audiences at the most relevant equity with a large and influential emerging
points of influence. middle class?

At Microsoft Advertising, we believe What types of interactions trigger specific


marketers can get closer to consumers in a outcomes, such as making a purchase, sharing
more meaningful way by gaining a deeper recommendations or experiences with a friend,
understanding of consumer needs throughout going to the dealership or changing long-term
their journey, and how digital channels can associations with brands?
meet those needs.
What emotions and consumer need-states
are involved when people are considering car
brands, researching, searching or discussing
autos with their friends and family?
Where are the gaps in the journey? At what
points do consumers need help, and what are
the opportunities for specific platforms to assist
in making the process smoother?
METHODOLOGY
Quantitative and qualitative:
Brazil, India, UK & US

M
icrosoft Advertising partnered with For the quantitative segment, we built a
Ipsos Media CT and Iposo OTX over questionnaire for a panel of 1,000 consumers in
a five-month period from February each market (Brazil, India, UK, US)* where we
to June 2012, leveraging both quantitative mapped the influences, triggers and emotions at
and qualitative methodologies to uncover the each step along the path to purchase. This enabled
influences, behavioral themes and mindsets of us to draw out the influencers and milestones, and
consumers as they make buying decisions for subsequently quantify the channels, people and
economy and mid-size cars. brand experiences along the journey in order to
identify successful connection points, as well as
The first stage consisted of qualitative and gaps where opportunities for interaction between
consumer-led discussions, where we sought to marketers and consumers could be improved.
understand each individual purchase journey,
while exploring influences in terms of people,
place, content, media and devices. With 12-16 in-
depth interviews in each countryBrazil, India,
the UK and the USwe uncovered the patterns
of decision-making with a unique emphasis
on emotions, behaviors and triggers for action
throughout the path to purchase. We followed up
with consumer online diaries, where we tracked
and validated behavior over the following month.

* Quantitative Sample = 1002 (Brazil), 1022 (India), 761 (UK), 1106 (US); +/- 3.10% (Brazil),
3.07% (India), 3.55% (UK), 2.95%(US) at the 95% confidence level.
Market
overview
Brazil, India, US & UK

I saved from my first job in a fish and chip shop to


buy my first carand was very proud of myself!
Female, UK

M
ore than 60 million passenger cars The United States and the United Kingdom,
will be produced in 2012, according to where markets are more saturated, offer a
the International Association of Auto compelling contrast. The homegrown US
Manufacturersthats 165,000 new cars on the automotive industry carries a long brand lineage,
market every day. And much of that growth is and average consumers have bought and owned
driven through emerging markets. cars for several generations. Throughout US
history, commercial content and American
In Brazil, where business is thriving and literature have associated cars with freedom,
the emerging middle class is acquiring new rugged individuality and the myriad options
consumption patterns, the automotive industry available on the open road (Whither goest thou,
has beaten its forecast for five years running.* America, in thy shiny car in the night? Jack
But we found that overall cost considerations, Kerouac, On the Road).
including fuel consumption, availability of parts
and ease of maintenance are all still significant Despite a reduction in car manufacturing in the
factors in choosing a car. The feeling or UK, commercial auto imagery is still associated
experience of driving was also critically important with classic, urbane stylethink James Bond
to the consumers we spoke to, more so than the and often drenched in sex appeal. But petrol and
image the car projects. tariffs are high, and the UK consumers we spoke
to tended to take a slightly more hesitant path to
India, where local sales are up 7% this year**, purchase as a result.
is reaching the very first stages of mass
motorization. For middle class consumers, we
found that image is importantand so is the
feeling of driving the right car. As one consumer
put it, cars define you in the same way that
technology does. Perhaps not surprisingly in
a market where the tech industry is booming,
the desire for new and better features is more
predominant in India than in other markets
(39% vs. a global average of 33%).

* Brazils Record Car Sales to Continue, The Rio News, January 2012
** India Car Sales Rise 6.7%, The Wall Street Journal, August 2012
JOURNEY MODEL
The right fit for where you are now

C
ars are a major purchase for most The Consumer Journey: Auto-Buyers research
consumers and demand a rational reveals five key stages on the path to purchase.
decision-making process, but we often The first three stages build clarity, and the last two
underplay the emotional factors that persist build confidence. Both the clarity and confidence
throughout the journey. In established markets need-states have a dynamic range that varies by
in particular, people start out with pre-conceived country, from clarity to confusion, and then from
ideas and brand preferences that are difficult to confidence to uncertainty.
change. But consumers still feel pressure to work
out what they want and how they approach the
buying process.

Each stage contains at least one phase that is specific to the automotive category, described overleaf.
JOURNEY MODEL
The right fit for where you are now

OPEN TO POSSIBILITY
When I first
Current state
drove, the car
From what our parents drove and what weve was everything.
owned in the past, to the influence of glossy
advertising campaigns, cars are everywhere It meant
and every encounter we have with them shapes freedom.
our perceptions. Some consumers, especially Female, US
in developed markets such as the US and UK,
have established solid brand preferences over
the course of their lives, which help them move
through their auto-buying journey faster and
with more certainty. Other individuals may
approach car buying in a more open way.
This openness, however, can often prolong
the process.

DECISION TO CHANGE
Motivation
Over time, a consumers new car becomes his
current car. Some purchases are driven by the
age of the car, while for some, the motivation
to purchase a new car is linked to a life-change:
the birth of a child, a new job in a new city or
the freedom of becoming an empty nester. Very
occasionally the motivation may be the strong
desire for a specific cara desire that can be
driven purely through advertising.
JOURNEY MODEL
The right fit for where you are now

EVALUATING
Worldview
In the Worldview phase, there are generally four steps that the
consumer has to work through: confirming if he or she is going
to buy a new car, working out what he or she wants from a new
car, determining how he or she is going to make the decision, and
establishing a level of brands or models. Those with solid brand
preferences or past experience get through this stage quickly and
easily, but most consumers have trouble with some, or all, of these
steps. In some cases, it may be difficult for the consumer to work
out how to get the information needed to move on to the next stage.

I use the Internet for all kinds


of information online.
Male, Brazil

SHOPPING
 e Shopping or In-store stage happens in a
Th The Car
unique manner for car buying. Most of the
eliminate-and-compare activity that consumers At this point, consumers are focused on the
naturally exhibit when researching purchases one. Theyve narrowed the choice down to a
happens online, well before people make it to car, specification and options. For some,
the dealership. Three phases make up this stage The Car phase comprises planning negotiation
for auto buyers. tactics and knowing where to compromise.
Others are determined to hunt down the one
The Terrain ideal car at exactly the right price.
In The Terrain phase, consumers commit to The Deal
buying a new car. Their consideration set is
based on experience, trusted recommendations, Ideally, the consumer wants to go to the
advertising and some light research. Some dealer to buy a specific car, armed with
makes and models will not be the right fit and all the facts that he or she
consumers will eliminate these quickly. After needs to get the best price
a bit more light exploration, theyre down to possible. He or she will
a smaller group. At this point, the real work want to meet his or her
begins: a compare-and-contrast task based on objectiveand then get
more detailed specs, reviews, seeing the vehicle out as fast as he or she can.
in person, andfor a fewan early test drive.
JOURNEY MODEL
The right fit for where you are now

EXPERIENCING
Ownership
The final stage of the consumer journey is focused on the car, how
it performs and how others react to it. More than ever, consumers
personalize their vehicles through technology, and often discover
unexpected features that can drive their advocacy, such as integration
with their smartphones via apps and other technologies. This is where
consumers not only determine their personal satisfaction with the
vehicle, but also seek out external post-purchase validation
through reviews, friends, family and even media.

Clarity & Confidence


The following figures (clarity, then confidence) are derived from market-level index
data, where 100 is average.

The Car &


Country Worldview Eliminate Compare Ownership
The Deal

Clarity/Confidence

Brazil 92/92 109/93 93/99 100/102 104/112

India 86/90 105/95 104/102 103/102 102/108

UK 90/91 88/92 98/99 102/99 119/116

US 80/80 99/94 96/91 114/120 109/113


The ecosystem
of influence
People, media and activities

Aspirational

If Im honest, Key


Effectiveness/impact

Im driven and
of influence

People

influenced by
Functional

Emotional
Media

media more than


Activities

Size: degree
of influence

Id like to admit. Location :


Alignmentw ith segment (closer to
Female, UK edge = more specific)

Informational

At each part of the journey described above, we highlight the influencers at play, as well
as the consumer mindset.
Effectiveness Consumer need-states
The outer-ring of the bubble shows the degree Comprehension: Making sense of the
to which an influence has a lot of influence vs. information I have to help me make a
a little influence at this stage (more complete smart decision.
= more effective). The size of the bubble is
determined by the following data: Projection: Thinking about what might
70% and above = more coverage from outer ring work and how the car would fit my lifestyle.
55-70% = middle-weight coverage from outer ring
Visualization: Imagining or dreaming
<55% = smallest coverage from outer ring
about what I want.
Specificity Discovery: Getting ideas to help me
How closely aligned an influence is with the figure out what fits.
specific role in which it is placed (closer to
edge = more specific). Enrichment: Going deeper and learning
more about the cars Im considering.
Frequency Confidence: Being certain that I have
This is the degree to which an influence what I need to make the right decision.
is sought (larger = more used).
48% and above = largest circle Validation: Getting evidence and support
32-48% = mid-sized circle that confirms my thinking.
<32% = smallest circle
Investigation: Getting very specific
Function of influence information that fills knowledge gaps.
Placement of the bubble and its relationship
with other bubbles within the segment shows
the role the influence is primarily serving.
READY, SET, DRIVE
01 OPEN TO POSSIBILITY
02 DECISION TO CHANGE

CURRENT STATE & MOTIVATION

I
n the US, consumers generally begin their eliminating the cars that dont feel right before
journey with more clarity than people in they begin comparing and contrasting a shortlist.
other markets. Assessing what they want They are subsequently able to focus on a narrow
and what else is available is relatively quick consideration set and hunt down the best car
and painless. American consumers are used to for them.

Cars to me are more than transportation. They define you as person.


Male, US

Where they begin


We asked our consumers how they would rate their levels of knowledge, interest and
understanding at the very start of the journey. Heres how they compare:

KNOWLEDGE* INTEREST* CONFIDENCE*

29% 40% 35%

34% 40% 60%

48% 55% 50%

36% 54% 47%

* top 2 box
READY, SET, DRIVE
01 OPEN TO POSSIBILITY
02 DECISION TO CHANGE

Purchase Considerations

I
n other countries, personal factors (i.e. A consumers current state and motivation drive
increase in wealth, changing family dynamic, the first two stages of the journey, and these tend
change in commute, etc.) tend to weigh more to be very specific to an individuals circumstance.
heavily on the decision-making process than As a result, well focus on influences during the
in the US. This comparative lack of extraneous Evaluating, Shopping and Experiencing stages.
concerns is another contributor to the smoother
consumer journey we see in the US relative to the
other countries examined.

IN BRAZIL AND INDIA, ALMOST EVERYTHING IS TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION


Fuel efficiency 85% 91% 89% 85%

Safety 82% 91% 89% 85%

Price/payment 83% 90% 88% 80%

Performance 76% 87% 84% 84%

Warranty 76% 87% 83% 81%

Body/style 72% 74% 81% 77%

Brand 61% 75% 75% 75%

Specific models/options 59% 69% 70% 73%

Innovation & tech 47% 75% 57% 73%

Green/environment 39% 66% 40% 68%

Stereo equipment 41% 53% 50% 62%

Location of dealer 44% 56% 42% 60%

GPS/navigation 31% 53% 39% 58%

Hybrid technology 26% 62% 32% 63%

Hands-free mobile tech 30% 43% 39% 55%

Voice command tech 19% 41% 26% 43%


Av. number of factors
considered important 8.7 11.1 9.8 11.2

...Whereas in the US and the UK, auto-buyers focus on fewer factors


INFLUENCERS AND
MINDSETS ALONG
THE JOURNEY
03 Evaluating

WorldviewHow consumers navigate the journey

Consumers in the Worldview phase make four key decisions:

1. They confirm that they are going to buy a new car.


2. They determine what they want from a new car.
3. They decide how theyre going to make their decision.
4. They establish a base consideration set of brands and models.

T
his early stage is critical for automobile seeking out a new category of car thats
marketers. For consumers, anticipation is less familiar to them. US auto-buyers are
the dominant emotion here, although its predominantly looking for enrichment,
often tinged with some regret at the passing of confidence and investigation.
their current car and, in some markets, anxiety
about how to make the best possible choice. Brazilian consumers approach the Evaluating
stage quite differently as there is mistrust of media
In the UK, deciding between a new or used car sources and less knowledge of the auto market
is a common and often complex decision. in general, mostly due to a lack of strong brand
And even once committed to a new car, some legacy. As a result, many Brazilian consumers
consumers dont know exactly what they want cycle through a vortex of doubt as they turn
from it. Different emotional and functional need- to many different sources to try to make up
states are fulfilled through car comparison and their minds. Partners inspire confidence here,
review sites, with close family members such while cars on the street and seen at work provide
as partners and parents also providing input. aspirational guidance.
The influencers are slightly more diffuse than
in other markets, however. For an Indian consumer, family acceptance of the
proposed purchase is key, so the Worldview phase
In the US, clarity and confidence are at their is focused on convincing friends and family what
lowest in the Worldview phase; they both index at type of car should be pursued. First, a consumer
80, which is below average. Clarity and confidence must identify the purchase that seems to fulfill
will eventually grow to 113 and 120 respectively their needs; then use the same logic to persuade
at the moment before purchase. But compared the family and get buy-in before moving forward.
to the UK and other markets, US consumers Indian consumers are already turning to media
typically require only a quick assessment of what sources here to provide evidence.
else might be out there, particularly if they are
INFLUENCERS AND
MINDSETS ALONG
THE JOURNEY
03 Evaluating

Aspirational Needs and opportunities


How consumers navigate the journey

Projection Discovery and


Partner Current state Enrichment
Dad Served via partner and to a Current state
lesser extent, friends and travel Served via print and web
Needs & Opportunities autos content, particularly
Functional

Emotional

Car review sites


Autos Portable lifestyle-related autos consumer opinions
Car
comparison content: most fuel efficient Needs & Opportunities
sites
Opinions
small hatchbacks Video from experts to build
Car Car review Video: help auto-buyers confidence that consumer
comparison sites sites experience the car, engaging opinions alone cannot provide
Opinions
them with sight, sound Early fit and experience
Car review sites and motion comparison: more general,
softer version of an
Eliminate opportunity

Informational

Projection Enrichment
Current state Current state
Served via partner, and to a Currently served via autos
lesser extent, Mom, search and dealer sites, and to a lesser
(deals), and travel extent, friends and some TV
Needs & Opportunities Needs & Opportunities
Portable autos content: Expert opinions (text or
most fuel efficient small video): bridges enrichment
sedans, safe family cars, etc. and boosts confidence
distributed across network, Early fit and experience
including lifestyle comparison: more general,
Video: help auto-buyers softer version of an
experience the car, engaging Eliminate opportunity
them with sight, sound
and motion
INFLUENCERS AND
MINDSETS ALONG
THE JOURNEY
03 Evaluating

Needs and opportunities


How consumers navigate the journey

Discovery & Projection Enrichment


Current state Current state
Discovery not served Served via autos and dealer
Projection served traveling sites, friends and to a lesser
to work extent, TV

Needs & Opportunities Needs & Opportunities


Portable autos content: Expert opinions (text or video):
most fuel efficient small bridges enrichment and boosts
sedans, safe family cars, etc. confidence
distributed across network, Early fit and experience
including lifestyle comparison: general, softer
Video: help auto-buyers version of an Eliminate
experience the car, engaging opportunity
them with sight, sound
and motion

Discovery & Projection Enrichment


Current state
Current state
Discovery not served
Served via autos and
Projection not served dealer sites
Needs & Opportunities Needs & Opportunities
Portable autos content: most Expert opinions (text or video):
fuel efficient small sedans, safe bridges enrichment and
family cars, etc.distributed boosts confidence
across network, including Early fit and experience
lifestyle and family needs comparison: general,
Video: help auto-buyers softer version of an
experience the car, engaging Eliminate opportunity
them with sight, sound
and motion
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: the terrain

As consumers move into the active Shopping stage, they travel through three
distinct phases: The Terrain, The Car & The Deal.

The Terrain: Eliminate

T
he Terrain consists of two steps: a deeper In the US, this step is where an assessment of
analysis that starts with elimination of fit is madean emotionally-led route where
any car that doesnt fit, which is followed consumers discard the cars that really wont
by a rigorous comparison of those that make work for them. This is a fairly clean, straight-
it through. forward process.

In the UK, eliminate and compare behaviors For Brazilians, this step tends to happen in
exist, but they are often combined, and happen combination with comparison behavior, making
in a more haphazard way. We call this The Fog it a painful part of the consumer journey, and
of Consideration. No single source of influence sometimes causing a vortex of doubt that can
stands out here, but car review and comparison reset the consumers Worldview, and set them
sites, manufacturer sites and dealer sites help back an entire stage.
often found through search engines. There is great
potential in the UK for consumers to switch Indian consumers, however, often rely on family
back to their earlier Worldview. to help them eliminate options; this trust in the
opinions of others helps them move through this
phase relatively smoothly.
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: the terrain

The Terrain: Eliminate


Needs and opportunities
How consumers navigate the journey
Projection & Enrichment
Comprehension Current state
Current state
Served via cars in street, travel,
Served via partner and work print and review sites
Needs & Opportunities Needs & Opportunities
Virtual test drives, video General fit and experience
and 360 degree views: Must comparison: incorporating
be prominently positioned factors of lifestyle, life stage
to encourage and facilitate perhaps with game elements
Eliminate behavior before
Comparison that gets local:
Compare begins
prominently connect fit and
experience elements to local
dealers, influencing later stages
Again, a key benefit to
consumers is in disentangling
Eliminate and Compare,
making their path smoother

Projection Enrichment
Current state Current state
Served via partner, as well as Served via autos sites,
some travel, work primarily comparison
Needs & Opportunities Needs & Opportunities
Virtual test drives and General fit and experience
360 degree viewsmakes comparison: incorporating
eliminating options by how factors of lifestyle, life stage
well they fit, relatively hassle- perhaps using game elements
free and accelerates this stage Localized comparison:
of the Journey prominently connect fit and
Video experience elements to local
Cross-category opportunities, dealers, influencing later stages
especially in Travel content
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: the terrain

The Terrain: Eliminate


Needs and opportunities
How consumers navigate the journey

Projection Enrichment
Current state Current state
Served via travel Served via autos sites,
Needs & Opportunities primarily comparison
Virtual test drives and Needs & Opportunities
360 degree viewsmakes General fit and experience
eliminating options by how well comparison: incorporating
they fit relatively hassle-free factors of lifestyle, life stage
and accelerates this stage of perhaps using gaming elements
the Journey Localized comparison:
Video prominently connect fit and
Cross-category opportunities, experience elements to local
especially in Travel content dealers, helping influence
hunt and deal, and making
the path smoother

Projection Enrichment
Current state Current state
Not served Served via autos sites,
Needs & Opportunities primarily comparison
Virtual test drives and Needs & Opportunities
360 degree viewsmakes General fit and experience
eliminating options by how well comparison: incorporating
they fit, relatively hassle-free factors of lifestyle, life stage
and accelerates this stage of perhaps using gaming elements
the Journey Localized comparison:
Video prominently connect fit and
Cross-category opportunities, experience elements to local
especially in Travel content dealers, helping influence
hunt and deal, and making
the path smoother
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: the terrain

The Terrain: Compare

I
n the Compare step, the real work begins: Clarity and confidence is no higher here than
comparing the options. This is a compare- in previous stagesnot until they come to a
and-contrast task based on more detailed decision, at least. Consumers want a detailed
auto specs, consumer and expert reviews, the understanding of the cars they are comparing,
experience of seeing the vehicle in person, adding to their knowledge and ultimately building
andfor a fewa test drive. But confidence the confidence to make the final decision.
dips slightly as a result of diving deep into so
many choices. In Brazil, there is a marked contrast with the
US: influencers are still clustered on the more
UK consumers are still enmeshed in The Fog of emotional side of the ecosystem. As with the
Consideration at this point and risk backtracking Eliminate step, a lack of trust, knowledge and
to earlier stages if they dont start to build authority add to the vortex of doubt. Most
enrichment and confidence. As consumers start consumers have no choice but to compare a larger
feeling more organized, however, inspiration and number of options at a detailed level without first
confidence starts to build. filtering them down to a manageable list.

In the US, consumers compare detailed specs The opinions of family members guide Indian
for all models in their consideration set. This is consumers through the onset of confusion,
more serious, fact-based research, as we see from and this support continues into test drives. Its
the influencers clustered at functional side of the common to drive four to five carsand to do
ecosystem. There can be a slight dip in emotions so with family. Theres plenty of information to
and mindset here; as the search becomes more consume too, including content from car review,
intense and detailed, people are searching for a comparison and manufacturer sites.
right answer.

What car will


fit me best?
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: the terrain

The Terrain: Compare


Needs and opportunities
How consumers navigate the journey

Discovery Enrichment &


Current state Confidence
Served via travel and cars Current state
in street Served via partner, friends and
Needs & Opportunities review sites
This behavior should really be Needs & Opportunities
pushed earlier in the Journey. Focus on communication: as
By encouraging Eliminate people make comparisons they
behavior, the confusion that want to reach out to the people
new discovery causes at this they know and trust
stage can be removed
Goal is reaching confidence,
hence important to link their
enrichment information to
thoughts of family and friends
Consumer reviews need
triangulationor approval
by inner circle

Enrichment & Needs & Opportunities


Confidence Localized comparison:
Current state prominently connect fit and
experience elements to local
Overlaps between the two roles dealers, helping influence
Served with expert reviews, hunt and deal, and making
manufacturer and dealer sites the path smoother
pulling toward enrichment A focus on communication: as
Buyer and partner opinions people make comparisons, they
pull toward confidence want to reach out to the people
they know and trust
The goal is reaching confidence:
its important to link their
enrichment information to
thoughts of family and friends
Consumer reviews need
triangulationor approval
by inner circle
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: the terrain

The Terrain: Compare


Needs and opportunities
How consumers navigate the journey

Projection Enrichment
Current state Current state
Served via travel Served via autos sites,
Needs & Opportunities primarily comparison
Virtual test drives and Needs & Opportunities
360 degree viewsmakes Triangulate authoritative
eliminating options by how well information with
they fit relatively hassle-free customer reviews
and accelerates this stage of
the Journey
Video
Cross-category opportunities,
especially in Travel content

Projection Enrichment
Current state Current state
Served via Dad Not served
Needs & Opportunities Needs & Opportunities
Virtual test drives and General fit and experience
360 degree viewsmakes comparison: incorporating
eliminating options by how well factors of lifestyle, life stage
they fit, relatively hassle-free perhaps using gaming elements
and accelerates this stage of Localized comparison:
the Journey prominently connect fit and
Video experience elements to local
Cross-category opportunities, dealers, helping influence
especially in Travel content hunt and deal, and making
the path smoother
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: The car & The deal

The Car & The Deal

B
y the time they reach the midway point In Brazil, however, the Shopping stage is yet
of the Shopping stage, auto-buyers have another where consumers dont have all the pieces
finally zeroed in on the one. They they need to feel good about their decision. A
know the specs and options they wantand Brazilian auto-buyer can become focused on one
how much theyre willing to pay for them. particular make and model, but if it doesnt feel
For some consumers, this stage is focused right, hes pushed back several stages, to the messy
on planning negotiation tactics and knowing process again. But if a consumer successfully
where to give in. For others, its about finding settles into this phase, confidence starts to build,
a specific car at exactly the right price and with commitment (at least partially) to a car.
hunting it down remorselessly. Six out of ten consumers in Brazil will revert to
earlier stage behavior here.
Once consumers in the UK have finished
their comparison work, they take one last look With test drives complete, consumers in India
before they leaptheres a pause to reflect on need confirmation from their families that their
the purchase and plan the negotiation phase. intended decision is the right one. Again, its
Confidence is rising and relief starts to kick in. a matter of keeping up the confidence in their
preferred car, while seeking to get a better sense of
For US auto-buyers, confidence and clarity are it and understanding all the options. As in Brazil,
at an all-time high at this point. But maintaining six out of ten Indian consumers will revert to the
confidence in their decision is key. Consumers Compare and Eliminate steps here.
seek the final details they need to achieve full
understanding of what they are getting into, as
they think about how the car will fit into their
daily lives.
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: The car & The deal

Needs and opportunities


How consumers navigate the journey

Projection Confidence
Current state Current state
Served via partner Not served
Needs & Opportunities Needs & Opportunities
Lending Tree for cars/sharing Local reviews of dealers
data with dealers to reach out to build confidence going
with deals into deal
Link between MSN Autos and Maintain confidence in the car
MSN Money content throughout deal and delivery
Location-based links to dealers, via communication of features
combined with easy lifestyle and driver testimony
data-sharing
Price comparisons and deal
location via smartphone
barcode scan

Projection & Interesting partnership


Comprehension opportunitiesand great link
between MSN Autos and MSN
Current state Money content
Not served Location-based links to dealers,
Needs & Opportunities combined with easy data
Lending Tree for cars/sharing sharing (less personal data,
data with dealers so they can more needs/lifestyle/fit data)
reach out with deals: exists but Price comparison and deal
is not well known location via smartphone
barcode scan
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: The car & The deal

Needs and opportunities


How consumers navigate the journey

Projection & Needs & Opportunities


Comprehension Authoritative content from car
Current state experts would better serve the
comprehension need-state
Served only by car review sites

Projection & Interesting partnership


Comprehension opportunitiesand great
link between Autos and
Current state Money content
Not served Location-based links to dealers,
Needs & Opportunities combined with easy data
Lending Tree for cars/sharing sharing (less personal data,
data with dealers so they can more needs/lifestyle/fit data)
reach out with deals: exists but Price comparisons and deal
is not well known location via smartphone
barcode scan
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
04 shopping: The car & The deal

DealERS

M
ost consumers go to the dealer with the When it comes to the actual purchase, consumers
intention of buying a specific car, armed tend to buy from dealers they like. Our research
with all the facts they need to get to the showed that 49% of purchasers globally liked the
best price possibleand then get out as fast as dealer they bought from a lot. Consumers who
they can. They typically begin relying on mobile are less confident generally are less positive about
technology to locate dealerships and get on-the- dealers overall.
fly information. Once there, consumers may be
lucky enough to have a favored and friendly
dealer; otherwise the dealership experience is
somewhere between a game and a battle.

On a scale of 1-5 with 5 as liked a lot, how did you like the dealer you bought from
compared to other dealers?
120

100

80
1

2
60
3

4
40
5

20

Dealer Bought From Other Dealers

My smartphone is my rock, my life.


Its portable and discreet.
Female, US
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
05 experiencing

Ownership

A
t an average of just over five months into From filtering through unhelpful information to
the journey globally, consumers have their securing the financing, navigating the journey for
vehicle. Now, the focus is on the car: how Brazilians is not easy. At this point, consumers
it performs and how others react to it. Consumers tend to feel relief that the process is over. Most
personalize cars just as they would a new mobile cant help making a few checks though, just to
phone. Theres a period of discovery, where be sure they made the right choice. They are still
people explore unexpected features. Typically, the seeking to understand the car better, but this time,
honeymoon period isnt long-lasting, though. The they only have one vehicle to research
amount of ongoing dealer contact and warranty and explore.
activity required by consumers helps validate their
decisionor fill them with regret. Car-buyers in India tend to expect an easy post-
purchase relationship with the dealer, but this
In the UK, new owners try to work out how to phase is primarily about the family reconfirming
make the most of their purchase, and this often the choice and fully experiencing the new car.
results in quick checks against review sites to Consumers will subsequently get comfortable
make sure they got the best deal on the ideal with the technical elements and show off their
car. Theyll also seek the opinion and judge the new purchase on their social networks.
reaction of their partner.

US auto-buyers tend to swing back over to the


emotion side of the ecosystem. Clear, confident,
relieved and proud of their decision, they tend to
trust the way they made the decision and the end
result. They might even love their new purchase
so much that they give their new car a name.
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
05 experiencing

Needs and opportunities


How consumers navigate the journey

Projection Confidence
Current state Current state
Not served Not served
Needs & Opportunities
Validation & Advocacy
Later ownership stage to be
Needs & Opportunities
served through portable autos
content and videoas covered Encourage greater linkage
in Worldview stage between validation
and advocacy
Comprehension Reviews easily linked or co-
Needs & Opportunities published on social networks
Facilitate contact between More sharing of decision
manufacturer and consumer process (e.g. Pinterest for cars)
Encourage driver testimony
to validate choices and inspire
usage of newly purchased car

Projection Validation
Current state Needs & Opportunities
Served only via partner Encourage greater linkage
Needs & Opportunities between validation
and advocacy
Later ownership stage to be
served through portable autos Enable reviews on MSN Autos
content and video to be easily linked or co-
published on social networks
Comprehension Allow for greater sharing of
Current state decision process (e.g. Pinterest
Not served for cars)
Needs & Opportunities
Facilitate contact between
manufacturer and consumer
influencers and
mindsets along
the journey
05 experiencing

Needs and opportunities


How consumers navigate the journey

Projection Validation (& Advocacy)


Current state Needs & Opportunities
Served via dealer sites Encourage greater linkage
Needs & Opportunities between popular validation and
less common advocacy
Show how the new purchase fits
into his/her life via customized Enable reviews on MSN Autos
mobile content to be easily linked or co-
published on social networks
Allow for greater sharing of
decision process (e.g. Pinterest
for cars)

Projection Validation (& Advocacy)


Current state Needs & Opportunities
Only served via partner Encourage greater linkage
Needs & Opportunities between popular validation and
less common advocacy
Later ownership stage to be
served through portable autos Enable reviews to be easily
content and video linked or co-published on
social networks
Comprehension Allow for greater sharing of
Current state decision process (e.g. Pinterest
Not served for cars)
Needs & Opportunities
Facilitate contact between
manufacturer and consumer
Reach and engage
consumers at
every step
HOW MICROSOFT advertising CAN HELP

At Microsoft, were developing new ways to bring marketers and consumers closer
together along the path to purchase. Heres just one example:

T DECISION TO CHANGE
he study The Consumer Journey: Auto-
Buyers demonstrates that marketers no
longer have a captive audience reached
through a select few points of influence. As a Motivation
result, its difficult to know and understand where Consumers are usually motivated to make a
you should invest marketing dollars along the change because of personal circumstances. But
path to purchase for optimal impact. some consumers admit they simply buy a new
car because they want one. Microsoft enables
Both consumers and marketers find themselves consumers to investigate something that catches
in a challenging new environment, where too their eye, without doing any hard work, via
many choices and complexity can often obfuscate Kinects integration with Bing.
the right solution or purchase decision at any
given time. But knowing how to harness digital EVALUATING
channels can help start to close that divide,
reaching and inspiring consumers at the right
place and time, clarifying their choices and Worldview
enabling easier decision-making. In the Evaluating stage, the Worldview phase
provides consumers with a route into their early
research using lifestyle content. MSN Autos in
OPEN TO POSSIBILITY the USwith 5.5 million unique usersprovides
top ten lists and other helpful ways to start
Current state researching in a way that helps establish early fit.
While consumer brand associations run deep in
the US and UK, theyre more open in emerging
markets. Xbox LIVE drives high brand lift when
consumers are paying attention in a lean-forward
gaming environment. Ad effectiveness research
on more than 20 campaigns shows double-digit
lifts across key brand metrics (Microsoft Internal,
2012). And in fact, in the Consumer Journey:
Auto-Buyers study, 30% of consumers in the
US and UK said they would be interested in
experiencing a test drive through a
gaming environment.
Reach and engage
consumers at
every step
HOW MICROSOFT advertising CAN HELP

SHOPPING EXPERIENCING
The Terrain Ownership
As consumers begin the heavy job of eliminating Windows 8 apps on Microsofts new Surface
and comparing options, MSN Autos provides a tablet are an ideal way for consumers to continue
single location for reviews, professional ratings interaction with the car manufacturer throughout
and compelling video, bringing to life a consumers the ownership process. Now, the brand becomes an
consideration set. information sourceand helps drive validation.

The Car
The easy integration of MSN Autos and
MSN Money makes it easy for consumers to
feel confident before entering negotiations with
the dealerships.

The Deal
Local dealership listings on the MSN Autos mobile
app enable consumers to leave a dealership they
dont like, and easily find one nearby that they do.
About Microsoft
Advertising
Global Insights
& Analytics

Natasha Hritzuk Kelly Jones


Senior Director of Global Insights Head of Marketing Insights
natashah@microsoft.com kellyjon@microsoft.com
New York, NY New York, NY

W
hile many tech and media companies conduct market research that
describes what consumers are doing, the Microsoft Advertising
Global Insights & Analytics team believes innovation stems from
getting at the why. As a result, we go beyond behavior to focus on why consumers
do what they dowhether thats choosing one brand over another, or exhibiting
a preference for a specific platform. Our goal is to create more robust, insights-
driven narratives that put a human face on our audience, making it easier for
customers to tell creative, relevant and connected stories across platforms.

2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This document is provided as-is. Information and views expressed in this document,
including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. You bear the risk of using it.

Some examples are for illustration only and are fictitious. No real association is intended or inferred.

This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product. You may copy and use
this document for your internal, reference purposes.

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