Maybe the purchase funnel exists with beer, dental floss, toothpaste and a bottle of floor cleaner, where the conversation ends at purchase.
But arguably, the more expensive and complex the item, the truer it is that the real paradigm is maybe something like a Klein bottle because social media has made the consumer awareness-to-purchase process a continuum: one consumer's auto purchase begins another consumer’s consideration. The first thing you and I are going to do after we roll off the lot is begin broadcasting our opinions.
A new study by media agency Starcom MediaVest led by Big Fuel and executed by New York-based social media market research firm Mashwork finds that people in the U.S. talk about their auto purchases on average 30,000 times per day, 1,250 times per hour and 21 times per minute on social media, and that Twitter alone generates 184 million potential impressions per day.
The firms say that 19% of total conversation is from people extolling the virtues of -- or perhaps denigrating and kicking themselves for buying -- a given vehicle. The study says that when declaring car purchases, new owners are 2.4 times more likely to attach a photo of their new car to add visual appeal to the excitement than to check-in or self-identify as being at a dealership.
The firms suggest social direct marketing is important during the “declaration of purchase” phase, because automakers can connect with other potential buyers and offer relevant added-value benefits and "amplify the joy generated by the purchase."
Surprisingly, “post-purchase satisfaction” conversation occurs three times more often than “post-purchase dissatisfaction” conversation. But dissatisfaction conversation tends to be more passionate.
The study says continuing the relationship and “post-purchase satisfaction” conversations with buyers can keep loyalty strong by leading consumers through to their next purchase. "The balance of emotional statements suggests the relationship gets stronger and can be optimized via extended conversation and relationship marketing."
In addition to new ways of delivering messages and digital "brand experiences," notes the firm, marketers also need to brand ambassadors or customer service representatives whose job it is to watch and respond to post-purchase dissatisfaction. "Social data, including listening and measurement, should be used to amplify the impact of all marketing activity," say the study authors.