External Influences in the I-Journey

The representation showed in the post “The I-Journey” is much closer to the reality of our purchase-decision process than the tidy ones used until now. Yet, even though we do our best to factor in the human element of choice and randomness, it is still far from a complete picture.

Sometimes, our associations with a product can influence our behaviour even more than the product itself. For better or for worse, one experience may bring another experience along with it.

In addition to that, other external factors like our purchasing power will also shape our decision. If I simply can’t afford a nice wine, then there’s no way in the world I’m going to pick up a bottle or ten, no matter how much I loved it when tasting it at your party.

After all, if our budgets didn’t matter, then we’d probably all have Ferraris parked in our garages. Don’t you want one for yourself? But more importantly, where do you see Ferrari’s Customer Journey starting? How much research would someone that can afford a Ferrari do? What are the key elements that make us want a Ferrari? How do external influences impact our perceptions of those cars?

Yes, there are a mind-boggling number of external factors that can shape our perceptions, reception, and decisions regarding these cars, or a simple glass of wine.

With these considerations in mind, we need to represent the external influences inside our I-Journey. Because these external influences are often key elements of the final decision, let’s add the most common external influences into our I-Journey image and check out how it now looks.

I-Journey - Step 3
I-Journey – Step 3

This looks much better, but as you may have guessed, and as the examples of the wine and the Ferrari shows us, these external influences will vary greatly from industry to industry and, sometimes, even among products in the same category. This means that there is no one-size-fits-all I-Journey and that your I-Journey probably won’t look the same as my I-Journey.

This challenge poses us not with a problem but rather with an incredible opportunity because by identifying those influence points and stakeholders, we will be able to convince our customers without speaking to them.

Influencers, in today’s language, are online figures with a certain, usually large, number of followers. However, in the I-Journey, influencers are those who impact a decision process. Those could be online influencers but also, among others, their numbers include people who are close to our customers, such as their partners or their expert (a.k.a. know-it-all) friend.

Those will help to shape our customer’s decisions and therefore, convincing those influencers about the benefits of our products could help us to tip the balance on our favour.