Do you have a good understanding of your consumer’s decision journey toward brand engagement? Understanding consumer behavior will help you know where you need to put your brand’s resources.

In the Harvard Business Review article, Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places, David Edelman, co-leader of McKinsey & Company’s Global Digital Marketing Strategy practice, shared insight into the consumer decision journey. “Consumers still want a clear brand promise and offerings they value. What has changed is when—at what touch points—they are most open to influence, and how you can interact with them at those points. Marketers have long used the famous funnel metaphor to think about touch points: Consumers would start at the wide end of the funnel with many brands in mind and narrow them down to a final choice. In the June 2009 issue of McKinsey Quarterly, my colleague David Court and three coauthors introduced a more nuanced view of how consumers engage with brands: the consumer decision journey. The new consumer decision journey is–Consider, Evaluate, Purchase, Enjoy, Advocate.”

This video shares more of David Edelman and McKinsey & Company’s high-level insights into the consumer decision journey.

Here are five steps to defining your consumer decision journey:

  1. Engage customers via online surveys, in-store interviews, focus groups, one-on-one interviews or any number of other research methodologies in order to hear from them.
  2. Use Google analytics for baseline site data on in-bound navigation, visitor click streams throughout the site and many other important key performance indicators.
  3. Dig into social media platforms to monitor and listen to the conversations about customer interactions with your brand.
  4. Step into the shoes of one your customers and experience your brand—and your competitors’ brands—from their perspective.
  5. Define patterns among and within the data.

To know more about the different points along your customer’s decision journey, all you have to do is listen; many of your customers are willing to share their story. With answers and insights from your consumers, you’re now ready to map out a visual platform outlining your brand’s consumer decision journey.