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Innovation & Growth

# Industry Themes

Innovation & Growth

A big part of driving marketing-led growth is getting into, and remaining part of, consumers’ initial consideration set of brands to shop. Companies can give themselves a leg up by making that a priority.


One part of the consumer decision journey (CDJ) turns out to be critical to driving the growth of a business: the initial consideration set of brands from which customers shop. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, McKinsey’s Barr Seitz speaks with partner Dave Elzinga and partner Bo Finneman about this most important battleground for companies trying to win over customers and drive growth. Because about 70 percent of brands that are eventually chosen for a purchase come from that initial consideration set, it’s where companies must focus their energy and resources.

Driving business growth by zeroing in on the consumer decision journey

Podcast transcript

Barr Seitz: Hello, and welcome to the McKinsey Podcast. I am Barr Seitz, global publishing lead for McKinsey’s Marketing and Sales and Digital practices. And I’m very happy to be joined by Dave Elzinga, a partner based in McKinsey’s Chicago office, and Bo Finneman, a partner based in our Miami office.


Dave and Bo have been leading McKinsey’s research into shifting behaviors of the consumer decision journey, which they presented in a recent article titled “The new battleground for marketing-led growth.” In today’s conversation, we’ll be exploring one of the key findings of their research: that for most brands, initial consideration is the important battleground for companies to win if they want to drive growth. We’ll also be discussing the implications of these findings and what marketers and business leaders can do.


All right, so let’s start. Dave, you’ve been looking at the evolution of the consumer decision journey for years now. In fact, you coauthored the first piece on that topic, in 2009, and since then we’ve published numerous pieces looking at various aspects of the journey, from the impact of digital to how marketers have adjusted their strategies and responses. Can you tell us what’s new about your latest research and why it’s such a change from how brands have been thinking about consumer behavior?


Dave Elzinga: Thanks, Barr; happy to do that. As you mentioned, we’ve been looking at consumer decision journeys for about ten years now. And in looking back over those past years, we really wanted to dig into what was changing about consumer decision making and how the world is changing and consumers are adapting to that world. In digging in, we looked at data from more than 125,000 consumers, across 350 brands in about 30 categories. What we learned was really astounding. Of the 30 categories that we looked at, only three of those categories were what we call loyalty driven.


What we mean is that a loyalty-driven category is a category where, when you have a purchase occasion, you repurchase the same brand without really shopping for others. As a former brand manager and a marketer, for me the fact that only three categories out of 30 were dominated by loyalty-driven behavior was really interesting and a scary proposition for marketers.

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