One of the biggest frustrations for marketing leaders within an organization is being able to clearly demonstrating ROI of marketing efforts to upper management (or stakeholders).


  • It can be difficult to clearly demonstrating ROI of marketing efforts to upper management or stakeholders.
  • You wish for an easy and accurate way to measure the impact of marketing strategies on revenue.
  • We all have the fear of investing heavily in a marketing strategy that does not yield measurable returns.



Steps to Calculate ROI (Simple and Straightforward Method):


How to Calculate ROI for Marketing Campaigns as a Marketing Leader

  1. Identify the Costs:
    • Total Investment: Calculate the total cost of the marketing campaign, including all expenses like advertising spend, salaries of the marketing team, costs of tools and software, and any third-party services used.
  2. Track the Revenue Generated:
    • Direct Revenue: Measure the revenue that can be directly attributed to the marketing campaign. This can involve tracking specific metrics such as sales from a campaign-specific landing page or through using promo codes.
    • Lift in Revenue: Consider any increase in overall sales that occurred during the marketing campaign which can reasonably be attributed to the marketing efforts.
  3. Calculate Net Profit:
    • Net Profit = Revenue from Campaign – Cost of Campaign.
    • This step requires accurate data collection and attribution to ensure you’re measuring the true impact of the marketing spend.
  4. Calculate ROI:
    • ROI Formula: (Net Profit/Cost of Campaign)×100
    • This final step will give you the ROI as a percentage, indicating how much profit each dollar of your marketing spend generated.



Example of Calculating ROI on a Marketing Campaign.

Suppose your company spent $10,000 on a marketing campaign. By the end of the campaign, you tracked $30,000 in sales that could be directly attributed to these efforts. Here’s how you would calculate the ROI:


  • Net Profit: $30,000 (revenue) – $10,000 (cost) = $20,000
  • ROI: ($20,000/$10,000)×100=200%


This ROI of 200% means that for every dollar spent on the campaign, your company earned two dollars in profit.



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We’ll prove our worth or end the relationship for  you.

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What Are Category Entry Points, Why Do They Matter for Businesses, And How They Can Aid In The Success of Your Brand?

We all know marketing is crucial in selling products and services. You may have the best product or service available, however understanding category entry points (CEPs) may be the only path to hitting your sales targets. As such, it’s essential to understand the various marketing strategies and how to use them effectively. Let’s explore what CEPs are, their history and origin, and their benefits. And we’ll show you some examples of CEPs you can use in your marketing strategy.


What are Category Entry Points (CEPs)?

Category entry points, or CEPs, as they’re commonly known, are hints that individuals use to access their memories when faced with a buying situation. These entry points (or memory recalls) allow marketers to position and differentiate their product or service from other offerings in the market. They’re used to increase brand recognition, build customer loyalty, and the recall itself encourages customers to purchase your products or services. When you think of purchasing a product or service, the memory that comes to mind is where your search to fulfill your need will start – that’s a category entry point.


History and Origin of CEPs

The concept of category entry points was first introduced by LinkedIn Biz Institute. This platform provides business professionals with the skills and knowledge to help them succeed in their chosen fields. CEPs can be used to understand customer behavior and preferences better so marketers can create more effective marketing strategies.


Benefits of Category Entry Points

There are several benefits to using CEPs in your marketing strategy, including:

  • Increased brand recognition and awareness
  • Encouraging customer loyalty
  • Differentiating a product or service from competitors
  • Enhancing the overall buying experience
  • and more…

As we’ve seen, CEPs can be an effective way to improve your marketing strategy. Here are some examples of CEPs that you can use in your marketing efforts.

Examples of Category Entry Points


You can use this entry point to show customers that your product or service offers a higher quality than the competition. This can include using premium materials, craftsmanship, and technology in the design of your products or services.


With this entry point, you’re showcasing that your product or service is more affordable than comparable offerings in the market. By doing so, you’re appealing to customers looking for value and affordability.


This entry point focuses on offering customers more options when it comes to styles, sizes, and colors. This allows them to find exactly what they’re looking for without going from store to store.


Most of us know how vital customer service is today. This entry point focuses on providing customers with a personalized, friendly, and helpful experience when they purchase your product or service.


Convenience is also essential, especially in today’s digital world. Therefore, this entry point focuses on providing customers with an effortless way to purchase your product or service, such as offering online ordering and delivery options.


This entry point is about showcasing that your product or service offers something unique, such as a revolutionary new design or technology. By doing so, you’re appealing to customers looking for the latest and greatest offerings in the market.

While there are many category entry points that you can use in your marketing strategy, these examples should provide a good starting point. Remember that it’s crucial to understand your target audience before implementing any of these CEPs to ensure you use the most effective ones for your business.


memory association of coffee to starbucks - great brand recognitionHow to Leverage The Power of CEPs

Category entry points effectively differentiate your product or service from the competition, create customer loyalty and boost sales. As marketers, we should work to identify the most effective CEPs for our particular product or service. Doing so will help us create a more effective strategy. It’s that memory association and brand differentiation we want to create.

Take the time to research your target audience and determine which CEPs will be most effective for them. Find the entry point and focus on creating a natural association. For example, the smell of coffee in the morning triggers a trip to Starbucks, wanting a long lasting truck steers you to a toyota dealership, or wanting the latest and greatest technology guides your iphone launch purchases. Leverage the power of CEPs and create a successful marketing strategy that resonates with customers.

Increase brand recognition, improve customer loyalty and drive sales.


Need help?

And as always, we do this all the time. Reach out for guidance defining good category entry points in your marketing strategy.

Definitions of CPM are trending. Why? Not really sure. But here’s a quick overview of CPM in advertising.


CPM = Cost Per Mille (not mile)roman numeral M represents thousand in CPM

Cost Per Mille (or cost per one thousand). M is the roman numeral to represent 1000 and pronounced as “mill” in English, or more like “meal” in French. In advertising, cost per mille represents an advertiser paying a specific dollar amount per 1000 views or impressions.

What is an impression?

An impression represents any time someone views an advertisement; so one view = one impression.


History of CPM

CPM (cost per thousand impressions) was one of the first measurements for ad success. As large firms began launching websites in the mid-to-late 1990’s, they would serve banner advertisements that were paid for by advertisers based on CPM. So everyone was quickly jumping into the online scene and paying a fee to diplay a banner ad per thousand views  – check out a fun article on that details initial banner ads on the internet.


CPM vs. CPA vs. CPC

Speaking of digital ad banners, CPM is a metric used less and less by advertisers in paid advertising. Why? It’s a bit hard to measure the end-of-funnel ROI (or ROAS = Return on Ad Spend). There’s where CPA and CPC come into play.

What is CPA in marketing?

CPA stands for Cost Per Acquisition (or some marketers also refer to this as Cost Per Action). CPA is a broken down cost of the fee it takes to close a client. CPA ad structures are popular in B2B paid advertising. For example, think of a large dump truck from CAT! It might take 250,000 views of an advertisement before one of those views commits to buying just one CAT dump truck. Those dump trucks cost $10million+ each. If those 250,000 views for 1 purchased truck cost $25,000 dollars, your CPA is $25,000 to get one CAT purchased.

What is CPC in marketing?

CPC stands for Cost-Per-Click (also referred to as Pay-Per-Click traffic). If CPM is a cost method of the number of views/impressions, and CPA is a cost method based on how many views eventually lead to a purchase, CPC is in between. CPC is the cost method to the advertiser for the click in between the view and the purchase. The CPC fee model for advertisers is the most common in digital marketing.


CPM for Brand Awareness

CPM is a great fee structure to maximize brand awareness. It’s generally a great way to maximize dollars to build brand awareness with specific, targeted digital publishers. For example, if Intel or AMD want to advertise a new processor, they may run a CPM fee structure for a display campaign that only runs on tech sites like PC Magazine, AnandTech, or Toms Hardware… The goal is to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible, not necessarily push prospects through a funnel.


CPM for Content Creators

bat wing cupcakesWe always pick on mommy blogs. But if you’re a content creator on youtube, tiktok, instagram, or have a more traditional mommy blog, you can earn money by running ads on your content. Google AdSense is probably still considered the most popular ad serving platform for creator’s websites. This allows you to serve other people’s ads on your site (curated by you), thus allowing the creator to make money on a CPM basis for the ads running on your site. So if you’re posting a recipe for Halloween 2022 and your bat wing cupcake recipe goes viral, Google will pay you to run ads on your recipe page (you turn all that viral traffic into an income source). Every one thousand views will pay you a certain amount!


How to calculate CPM (in advertising)

If a company wanted to place an ad on a website and the CPM was $10, it would cost the company $10 to deliver the ad to 1,000 people. If the ad was displayed to 50,000 people, the cost would be $50.

To calculate CPM, divide the total cost of the ad campaign by the number of impressions in thousands, and then multiply by 1,000. For example, if a business pays $500 for an ad campaign that generates 50,000 impressions, its CPM would be calculated as follows:

$500 / (50,000 / 1,000) = $10 CPM


And THAT is what CPM is in the marketing world. It’s not the most used cost method since the early days of the internet, but it still has an important place in the paid advertising ecosystem.


As always, if you need help with a CPM-based, brand awareness campaign, we’re your go-to team; reach out!

This article is a simple guide for those marketers just learning Google Analytics or us veterans who simply haven’t had the time to dive into where things are located within the Google Analytics dashboard. Let’s look at the simple demographics: Age and Gender. Age and Gender tracking is marketing 101. These simple demographics are the building blocks for mature target audiences.



Steps to View Website Audience User Age and Gender using Google Analytics.


Step 1. Sign in to Google Analytics, Select the Audience Demographics.

Sign in to google analytics and select the website and corresponding view. On the left navigation menu, select “Audience,” “Demographics,” and then “Overview.”

how to select demographics in google analytics


Step 2. Select the date range in which you’d like to view demographic information.

Once you’re on the Overview screen, the date range selection will be on the top right of the window. Let’s select Q4 of 2020 as our date range.

change date range google analytics


Step 3. Analyze the data.

By Default, you will see “All Users” selected. If you go back to part 1 – how to select website traffic audience filtering in Google Analytics – we’ll use that same technique here to filter demographics by traffic type.

Click on the name “All Users.” A new dialog window appears. Take a moment to take inventory of all the options. You may want to select different options in the future. For now, uncheck “All Users” and check “Direct Traffic,” “Organic Traffic,” “Paid Traffic,” and “Referral Traffic.” NOTE: 4 options selected at once is the max allowed.

how to use google analytics to view age and gender



Understanding what can be gained from analyzing Simple Demographics in Google Analytics.

Demographics are the base for any good Marketing Strategy. More than likely age and gender are the first thing you’ll look at when building your yearly marketing plans. Why is it important? Compartmentalizing your Demographics by traffic channel can be the first step to understanding your marketing efforts’ dynamics.


Where to go from here with Google Analytics?

In Part 1 of our Google Analytics Guide, we looked at how to view visitor traffic information in Google Analytics based on traffic. Take a look here:

<< Read Part 1 – How to view Organic and Paid Website Traffic.

And if you ever find your demographic information a bit suspect, we can help interpret it and other more advance demographic information. Reach out for help, we won’t bite.


Hello Marketing Community,

We’re having a virtual search marketing session to answer questions we all may have during the covid/corona virus (everyone work from home) time period. We have clients pause their campaigns – as i’m sure you have – and we could a brain share session.

We’re going to start the conversation off be talking about what we’re seeing in the industry as a result of covid-19, the moral/ethical implications, Google’s apparent angst toward WordPress, and then open it up for questions.

Hosts for our event will be:

Jeremy Riley – Managing Partner @ ENDURANCE

Janssen Manno – Search Director @ ENDURANCE

If you’re not a member of our meetup group, please consider joining:

We can have up to 100 participants and guests are welcome.


Take a peak at tour first Case Study of 2020.

We focus on results we were able to achieve by turning around the organic search presence of a leading fitness brand in only 8 short months.


DOWNLOAD THE CASE STUDY  »  |  Contact ENDURANCE to view this client’s ROI »

What can we do for you?

Are outbound marketing techniques still relevant in industries across the world today? Or are they too pushy, salesy, and irrelevant to people who have full access online to nearly anything they could ever want or need?


While outbound marketing tactics are still effective and can provide a decent ROI, some that used to be the standard for marketing have changed significantly over recent years. It’s time to learn what still works and what strategies should make way for modern practices.

What Is Outbound Marketing?

Before we can look at some dying outbound marketing techniques, we need to answer the fundamental question: what is outbound marketing? Currently, many companies still spend up to 90% of their marketing budget on outbound marketing techniques.

Outbound marketing is essentially any form of marketing where the business starts the conversation with its audience. This means things like television commercials, newspaper advertisements, sales calls, email spam, flyers, and radio ads are all considered outbound marketing tactics. Options like these have been the go-to marketing choices for decades or longer.

In comparison, inbound marketing is when customers search you out. Techniques like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and blogging fall into this category.


Irrelevant Outbound Marketing Techniques

Especially in recent years, outbound marketing techniques have become much less effective than they once were. When you use alternate strategies, clients come to you and already want your product. Because of this, many of the outbound marketing examples below offer a worse return on your investment.


1. Print Ads

While print ads might not be dead (yet), they are still one of the most expensive techniques for advertising a product. If you are trying to maximize your marketing budget, print ads are unlikely to be the best choice.

In a study completed last year, researchers found that more than 87,943 brands stopped using print ads as part of their outbound marketing tactics. While an argument was made that only a small portion of these switched to paid digital advertising, it is likely the larger part of them realized the power of organic marketing strategies like content marketing.


2. Newspaper and Magazine Ads

In 2007, magazine circulation peaked at $4.9 trillion. By 2017, this number fell to less than $2 billion, marking a decline of more than 60%.

Part of the problem is consumer behavior as people simply aren’t buying magazines and newspapers like they used to because of cheaper alternatives. Why buy a magazine when you can read the same article for free online?

Many publications are trying to stay relevant by going digital. The 162-year-old  magazine known as The Atlantic managed to thrive by focusing on digital articles with advertisements and online subscriptions. If you consider online newspaper and magazine ads, then there is still some hope for these outbound marketing campaigns as long as they also see what is changing.


3. Cold Calling

According to a study completed by Baylor University, only about 28% of cold calls are answered with about 1% of those answered calls turning into an appointment for a second contact. As you can likely imagine, the number of conversions from this point is a mere fraction. While some consider these numbers to be a relatively strong ROI, you’ll have to decide if it is successful enough.

People already commonly refer to outbound tactics as “interruption marketing.” And there are few techniques more annoying to consumers than cold calling them at all hours of the day. After all of the work it takes to get a qualified lead, those leads convert only 20% of the time.


4. Email Lists

While outbound marketing email lists are less annoying than cold calls, they are growing increasingly less effective as spam filters and other software is becoming increasingly more effective at preventing these notes from ever reaching your target audience’s inbox. Email providers deliberately try to weed out targeted advertisements and emails, so few of your emails will end up getting through the spam filter in the first place.


A large percentage of companies still use outbound marketing emails as a part of their overall marketing efforts. While email lists may be on their way out, there are clearly some areas where they are still in use. But more often than not, these emails are deleted before a potential new client even opens it up.


Outbound Marketing Tactics Still Worth Pursuing

An outbound marketing strategy can help you grow your company, but you have to do it the right way. While some outbound marketing tactics are slowly dying, the following outbound marketing examples will help you breathe new life into your next advertising campaign.


1. Social Media Ads

An estimated 42% of the world’s population currently uses social media. Meanwhile, 68% of Americans get on social media each day. On Twitter, 83% of people who tweeted a company and got a response ended up feeling better about the brand.

Savvy companies go where the consumers are when it comes to marketing their products. Right now, a large portion of your typical consumers is going to be on social media, making it a great place to put at least some of your marketing budget. If you want your outbound marketing strategy to work, you need to place your ads where your audience can find them.


2. Search Engine Ads

As with social media ads, the majority of online markets are flooded with companies who are paying large sums of money to have their advertisements and content show up in the first spot on Google. This is because search engine ads continue to be surprisingly effective.

In a sense, these ads are a type of inbound marketing technique as they typically show up for consumers who have already shown interest in what you’re offering. Unlike a newspaper or television ad, your search engine ads don’t appear indiscriminately before the viewer. Instead, they show up if someone searches for similar terms.


3. Direct Mail

Even with all the digital options available now, a direct mail postcard still gets an average response rate of about 4.25% to 5%. In comparison, digital re-targeting response rates tend to be around only 0.7%, depending on the campaign.

Part of the difference is because of how direct mail works. Like emails, direct mail can be targeted at certain consumer demographics and geographic regions. Unlike email campaigns, direct mailers have to physically get into your audience’s hand.

Someone can delete an email without ever seeing it. They can also ignore search engine ads by quickly scrolling to the next option. If you send a prospective customer a postcard, they have to physically sort through their mail, look at it and carry it inside before they can consider their next step.


4. Cold Calling & Cold Emailing

Nope, this isn’t a moment of déjà vu. Cold calling and cold emailing really can land on both sides of this list. The old cold-calling techniques are dying off, but new outbound marketing campaigns make cold outreach more effective than before. Rather than merely cold calling or emailing prospects, new tactics give you the ability to target your outreach.

Every marketer worth their salt has tried cold calls and cold emails before. Now, you can carry out this outbound marketing strategy more effectively by targeting your audience.

More than 70% of someone’s buying decision occurs before they ever talk to a salesperson. To be effective, you need to do your research and learn about the consumer’s needs before you make a call. Your goal should be to use technology and research to turn your cold calls into warm calls, which involve having some kind of interaction or research involved before you contact someone.

Are You Ready to Shift Your Thinking to New Marketing Tactics?

While there may still be an outbound marketing strategy that will work for you, it is time to start incorporating new tactics. With the right examples, you can learn which outbound marketing techniques are the most effective today, which ones to ignore, as well as fresh ideas to add to your campaigns.

If you’re ready to take the next steps and massively improve your marketing efforts, the crew at Endurance is fully prepared to serve you. Choose us to handle a variety of marketing services for your business as we increase the authority and engagement of your brand.


Contact us today.


header - customer journey vs. buying stages: what's the difference

Lately, I’ve observed many marketers incorrectly discussing the customer journey using buying stage terms. Or visa-versa, describing consumer buying stages using customer journey lingo. And one can understand why there may be blurred lines.

customer journey vs. buying stagesFor example, as a consumer goes through the buying stages, some might call this a journey in decision making. Or as one describes a customer’s purchasing path, they might describe the customer as being involved in a buying stage. The terms can be interchangeable, however let’s clear up any confusion.

The customer journey describes the path a consumer will make toward a purchase, while buying stages describe the consumer decision-making process.


What are the customer buying stages?

The customer buying stages are theoretical framework(s) in marketing designed to describe a consumer’s decision-making process that lead them to a purchase.  
Also known as the ‘consumer buying process,’ or in business to business interactions – the buyer decision process.’

Are you talking about a a marketing funnel?

marketing funnel: the difference between buying stages and customer journeyYou may also hear words like marketing or purchasing funnels to describe this process. I think the visual of a funnel is a great representation for a customer’s purchase intent.

Yes, a marketing funnel, the consumer buying process, customer buying stages, and buyer decision process are all meant to represent the same concept; the decision-making process a customer goes through when procuring a product or service.

I am not talking about a sales funnel. A sales funnel is highly specific to each organization. Sure, there are some similarities, but a sales funnel really captures an operational procedure specific to that organization’s customers and nuance.


To understand the customer buying stages, let’s take a moment to explore what scholars consider to me our normal, human decision-making process.

“Decision making is the process of making choices by identifying a decision, gathering information, and assessing alternative resolutions.”

According to University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, there are seven steps in the decision-making process.

The Decision Making Process as described by Umass Dartmouth

Scholars believe this is the decision-making process we all should go through in order obtain the highest levels of success:

decision making process: buying a carStep 1: Identify the decision

Understand there’s a decision to be made in the first place. Let’s use the example of buying a new (or used car). Your new place of work is 20 miles away from your home, it’s time to stop relying on public transportation and procure a vehicle.

decision making process: optionsStep 2: Gather relevant information

Do your homework and consider your needs vs. wants. Which car(s) satisfy your need? Which dealership treats customers the best? Which car has the best consumer ratings? And more.


decision making process: alternativesStep 3: Identify the alternatives

Alternatives might come in many forms. Instead of a car, will the bus work? Or maybe a motorcycle? What about a bicycle?  The car body type, or level of luxury might be alternatives to consider. Identify them all.


decision making process: weight the evidenceStep 4: Weigh the evidence

Play the “What if…” game. If you got car A, what does that mean to your monthly budget? Does Car ‘B’ mean more funds for travelling vs. Car ‘C’? With a bicycle, will the time lost commuting to work be worth the monetary savings? Make a list, pros and cons, rankings, whatever makes the most sense to you.

Step 5: Choose among alternatives

decision making process: take actionMake a choice.

Step 6: Take action

It’s time to take action on your choice – in our example it’s time to buy a car, bike… or whatever your decision was.

Step 7: Review your decision & its consequences

It’s a day, week, or month later. Was the right choice made?

decision making process: analyze your choice


Now, not all decisions go through such a prescribed process.
If you need to use the restroom or buy a pack of gum, the process is much simpler; have a need or want and satisfy it.

A more involved decision could be anything. Should I get a dog? Do I want to save up for a trip to Fiji? Or should I get married?

[While] In marketing, the buying stages revolve around the decision to transact between parties.

Or put simply… the decision-making process we all go through when we purchase something.


What are the different buying stages’ methodologies?

Well, just like the decision to get a dog, go to the bathroom, or buy a car; there are varying levels in making any decision.

Since marketing’s inception, many folks have put together their own frameworks to try and explain this process – to get inside of the customer’s head. And some methodologies are very much similar to the scholarly definition of the decision-making process.

There are four buying stages’ approaches that generally encompass all the varying frameworks:


1.    ACID – buying stages’ approach

Step 1: Awareness –

Customer is aware they have a new need/want, a decision needs to be made.

Step 2: Consideration –

They are doing their homework, thinking of all the alternatives.

Step 3: Intent –

The customer may have entered the process believing product A was the right choice, and the intent may have stayed or changed during step 2 – either way, they’re ready for a purchase.

Step 4: Decision –

The customer is ready for a purchase and moves down the purchasing path.


Thoughts on ACID:

As you’ll see later, ACID might be the simplest framework. My biggest issue is the lack of follow-up and customer loyalty considerations.


2.    The Loyalty Loop – buying stages’ approach

Step 1: Initialize Consideration Set –

Imagine this as the first two steps of our scholarly decision-making process above.

Step 2: Active Evaluation –

Not only has the homework been done, the customer is actively evaluating the options. What does that mean? In our car example, a customer might test drive each car multiple.

Step 3: Make Purchase –

The customer may have entered the process believing product A was the right choice, and the intent may have stayed or changed during step 2 – either way, they’re ready for a purchase.

Step 4: Loyalty and Post-Purchase Behavior –

The customer is ready for a purchase and moves down the purchasing path.


Thoughts on The Loyalty Loop:

I like the emphasis on post purchase tracking and evaluation; the strong need to keep the customer for life. This considers the entire customer life cycle vs. other frameworks.

I also like the purchase phase is simple – sometimes these methodologies tend to exaggerate the purchase as two or three steps. Even if your buying a house, when it’s time to make the purchase, it’s time. I don’t believe most customers pine over the “intent” stage. NOTE: However, the intent stage is highly relevant in some industries. Think of Boeing’s latest disaster with the 737 Max, in a B2B environment, I might be holding formation in an intent or considering the alternatives phase.


3.    AIDA/R/A (AIDA + AIDARA) – buying stages’ approach

Step 1: Awareness –

Customer is aware they have a new need/want, a decision needs to be made.

Step 2: Interest –

I always liked to think of this step as the initial consideration set for a customer + the homework they’ll complete. E.g. Using our car example, a customer might understand Honda & Toyota vehicles as extremely long-lasting and dependable. Thus, they may do their homework starting with those two automobile manufacturers.

Step 3: Desire –

Similar to our scholarly decision-making process – weighing the evidence, and building a preference toward a purchase.

Step 4: Action –

This step is a combination of the “active evaluation” phase of the loyalty loop combined with the actual purchase. Again, think of the customer taking a test drive. They might fall in love with a Volkswagen and immediately purchase it, or be more patient and write a long list of pros and cons for each (to which a purchase is made after weighing the options).

Step 5: Retention –

AIDA (the first four steps here), are what most marketers learn in school as the classic “marketing funnel.” This step – Retention, was added later as marketers realized it’s cheaper to retain customers than to find new ones. Retention is exactly what it sounds like. The activities that keep customers with a specific product, service or brand. This could be a loyalty program (think of points in the grocery store), or in today’s high-quality-at-a-low-price-point type of market (thinks of Ross/T.J. Maxx/Nordstrom Rack vs. the dying Sears/K-Marts/JC Penney’s) where marketers spending a ton of time with product & place; think Ross tracking it’s customer movements through the store to maximize product layout/exposure.

Step 6: Advocacy –

Another step added to the AIDAR framework is advocacy. If we all agree that retention is extremely important, advocacy is paramount. Not only is it cheaper to keep customers vs. finding new ones, but if that customer turns into a brand ambassador your word-of-mouth marketing soars. A personal example for me is Fruit of the Loom. I wore FoTL boxer briefs for 36 years of my life, growing up I got all my brothers (6) to wear them, and occasionally throughout life the “…which underwear do you wear?” conversation came up and I always responded that Fruit boxer briefs were the best. However, some time ago they changed the product formula and new boxer briefs began falling apart after only a couple weeks. The shape and curvature also changed in the design and the underwear wore very uncomfortably.
I switched to Costco boxer briefs immediately. Advocate disappeared after 36 years.

And advocacy isn’t a simple formula. Whether you subscribe to the 4 marketing Ps (or 5, 6, 7), advocacy involves all stages in marketing to get right.


Thoughts on AIDARA:

I can’t emphasize steps 5 and 6 enough. Win an advocate and your sales can expand exponentially.

AIDARA is my go-to framework when putting together a client’s go-to-market plan or tactical plan.


4.    Job To Be Done (JTBD), aka “consumer buying process” – buying stages’ approach

Step 1: Problem Recognition –

This framework considers decisions and problems that need a solution as one in the same. E.g. I have a problem getting to my new job, a car might be a solution. The customer is aware they have a problem, time to figure it out.

Step 2: Information Search –

Like our scholarly definition, this is the homework phase.

Step 3: Evaluation –

Referencing our Loyalty Loop once again, this is very similar to the Active Evaluation step.

Step 4: Purchase –

The customer is ready for a purchase.

Step 5: Post-Purchase Evaluation –

This is more about understanding the customer’s post-purchase behavior. Did the purchase solve the originally identified problem? If so, and the satisfaction level was high you may have built a return customer (or better yet, an evangelist).


Thoughts on JTBD:

First all, you might not know this framework by the name “Job To Be Done.” Most know it as the sole consumer buying process. However, calling it the “consumer buying process” wouldn’t be 100% correct. Some marketers also add a sixth step to this framework for the purchasing decision (separating the decision from the action).

In the digital marketing world, this framework is used more than the rest. I use it while building client marketing strategies (digital or traditional) as I like the combined advocacy and retention step vs. AIDARA. If you google, “consumer buying process” or “customer buying stages” this framework is 90% of the results.



customer journey: what is it?What is a customer journey?

Now it’s time to talk about the customer journey.

The customer journey is the path (start to finish) the customer traverses to complete a transaction with a business. Think of it like the yellow brick road. Consumer’s travel along a path (whether it’s digital or physical) to purchase a product or service. And just like Dorothy, that path may be riddled with barriers along the way causing major friction or maybe even impeding them from completion.


Let’s start with a simple, retail example in the real world.

A customer needs milk.

They go through a quick decision-making process (the buying stages) and conclude the convenience store is where they should go. The customer grabs their keys and purse, hop in the car, and drive over to the convenience store.

customer journey: path start to finishThe customer gets to the store and soon discovers there are two different brands for a gallon of milk. This individual also makes note that the name brand milk is $2.59 / gallon, the generic brand milk is $1.99 / gallon.

And while the customer really wants a gallon of milk, they come to realize the generic brand, half-gallon milk is on sale for $0.75 / each.

The customer buys two, generic brand, half-gallon milk products and returns home.

If you’re a marketer for the generic brand of milk, this might be one of your customer journeys.


And you may have multiple customer journeys…

Path 1 might be physical, path 2 digital, path 3 word of mouth, etc. Or, they might all be digital with different origination points: direct (straight to a site), from amazon, from a complimentary site, from earned media, etc.

Mapping multiple customer journeys
Mapping multiple customer journeys


Customer Journey vs. Buying stages

Going through all these buying stages’ frameworks and what the customer journey is – you can understand why people combine (or mix) the two up.
customer journey and buying stages combinedAnd combining the customer journey along the decision-making process can be a very advantageous exercise.

As a customer moves through their journey, they may be going through their decision-making process at the exact same time.

E.g. Using our milk example, the customer may have decided it was just too expensive at the convenience store and drove across the street to the grocery store (another journey to consider).



What is customer journey mapping?

Whether you combine the two activities or leave them entirely disparate, mapping the customer journey is exactly as it sounds (and is displayed above).

Customer journey mapping is:

  1. Identifying the path(s) customers travel to purchase your product. This could be various marketing channels, physical routes, digital routes, complimentary routes, etc.
  2. Take each path and document the steps from start to finish. Think of our milk example, the customer needed milk, went to the convenience store, compared products, made purchase, returned home.
  3. Document customer pain points. Be sure to document pain points. Price, friction, anything that might inhibit a clean path to purchase


NOTE: There’s no right or wrong way to do this. One map might focus on the journey from social media to purchase, while another documents production to wholesale.


The Gist? Why do either of these concepts matter in marketing?


Imagine building out buying stages and discovering your product/brand isn’t in the consideration set (due to an issue you found in your research).

Or imagine discovering an entirely new customer journey where 20% of sales are coming from an external complimentary product (think of peanut butter and jelly).

Whether you combine the two activities into one or leave them disparate, these activities can save and/or make your organization a lot of money.


Tips for defining consumer buying stages.

  • Write the stages down on a piece of paper or whiteboard and just start filling them out – go off of your experience and intuition first. Map our what you think the customer is thinking and how deep that decision-making goes. Then objectively try to prove or disprove what is in front of you.
  • Use visual queues if you need to. If funnel imagery works for your brain, use that. If bullet lists work, go for it. There’s no right or wrong way.
  • Should I combine this with my customer journey(s)?
    1. I like to keep these two activities separate. Why? While I do find value occasionally in the combination of the two, 9 times out of 10 you’ll have multiple customer journeys to consider. Defining a customer’s decision-making process for your product doesn’t usually change depending on the avenue of consumption. You may end up with 3 distinct customer journeys and they all went through the same buying stages. It’s redundant to document the stages over and over again.

Tips for documenting the customer journey.

  1. Keep it simple stupid (KISS). E.g. Don’t document the 800 micro steps that a potential customer takes to get into their car and drive to your location. Just state “consumer drives from home to store,” I think everyone understands this statement.
  2. Any point of friction needs extra work. Really try to understand where the friction is and why it’s happening (then you and/or your team can work to fix).



Q&A: Customer Journey vs. Buying Stages


1. How can businesses use data analytics to optimize each stage of the customer journey?

Businesses can use data analytics to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior at every stage of the purchasing process. 

Companies can identify patterns and trends that inform decision-making by analyzing data from various touchpoints.

Some examples: 

A) During the awareness stage, businesses can analyze website traffic data to understand what content attracts visitors. 

B) In the consideration stage, tracking engagement metrics on product pages can reveal which features are most appealing to potential customers. 

C) And in the decision stage, examining conversion rates can help optimize the checkout process.

Use Google Analytics to monitor your website performance and customer interactions. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems such as Hubspot or Salesforce can track customer interactions and sales data, providing a holistic view of the customer’s path. Advanced analytics techniques, including predictive modeling and machine learning, can forecast customer behavior and preferences, enabling more personalized marketing strategies.

According to a McKinsey report, companies that leverage customer behavior insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin.


2. What are some successful case studies of companies mapping and improving their customer journeys?

Several companies have successfully mapped and improved their customer experiences, leading to significant business benefits. 

A) One notable example is Amazon. Amazon continually refines its customer engagement strategies by utilizing advanced data analytics and customer feedback. Their recommendation engine, which suggests products based on past purchases and browsing history, significantly enhances the buying experience and boosts sales.

B) Another example is Disney, which has perfected its customer engagement strategies across its parks and resorts. By employing data analytics and mobile technology, Disney created the MagicBand system, a wearable device streamlining park access, ride reservations, and payment methods. This innovation improved operational efficiency and enhanced the overall visitor experience.

These case studies illustrate the importance of continuously gathering and analyzing customer data to refine and improve engagement strategies. 

According to a Forrester report, companies that prioritize customer experience see x1.6 times higher brand awareness and 1.4 times higher customer satisfaction rates.


3. How does customer journey mapping differ in B2B versus B2C markets?

Customer experience mapping in B2B markets is typically more complex than in B2C markets due to the longer sales cycles and the involvement of multiple decision-makers. 

In B2B scenarios, the process often involves several stakeholders, including procurement, management, and end-users, each with different needs and pain points. Consequently, B2B companies must create detailed maps for various touchpoints and interactions throughout the sales process.

In contrast, B2C customer mapping is generally more straightforward, focusing on individual consumer behavior. B2C mapping emphasizes quick, seamless transactions and immediate satisfaction. The stages typically include awareness, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase, emphasizing emotional engagement and brand loyalty.

According to a study by Gartner, B2B buying cycles have increased by 22% over the past five years due to the growing number of stakeholders involved. This underscores the need for B2B companies to adopt a more nuanced approach to mapping and managing customer experiences.


4. How do emerging technologies like AI and machine learning impact customer journey mapping?

Emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning transform how businesses map and manage customer experiences. AI can process vast amounts of data quickly, accurately identifying patterns and predicting future behaviors. Machine learning algorithms can analyze customer interactions in real time, providing personalized recommendations and offers based on individual preferences and behaviors.

For example, AI-powered chatbots can enhance customer service by providing instant responses to queries, improving customer satisfaction. 

Machine learning can also more effectively segment customers, tailoring marketing efforts to specific groups based on predicted needs and behaviors.

According to a report by Deloitte, companies using AI for customer analytics can complete up to x10 times faster decision-making processes. This rapid analysis and response capability allows businesses to adapt quickly to changing customer needs, enhancing overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.




  1. McKinsey. (2020). “The Power of Insights: How Analytics Drives Customer-Centric Growth.”
  2. Forrester. (2019). “The Business Impact of Customer Experience, 2019.”
  3. Gartner. (2021). “The Growing Complexity of B2B Buying Cycles.”
  4. Deloitte. (2021). “AI and Machine Learning in Customer Analytics: Accelerating Decision-Making and Improving Outcomes.”