Snakes and ladders, desires and needs

If the purchase process isn’t linear, what is it then? Mark Earls, Alex Bentley and Stephen Phillips all talked about the concept of Snakes and Ladders at the WARC Influence Conference Thursday (03.07).

Snakes and Ladders is an analogy to a kids board game where the goal of the game is to get from start to finish. But along the route there are ladders, jumping you ahead in the game, and snakes, setting you back in the game

Using this analogy is meant to symbolize that even though there is some form of linearity in every sales/purchase process, it is not constant. Sometimes you jump far ahead, but suddenly something affects the process and you are taken back again to a previous state.

I have personally referenced this “linearity” to an accordion earlier, but the Snakes and Ladder analogy is much stronger

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Stephen Phillips made the biggest point concerning this, saying that this is valid for categories where consumers have desires not needs. The difference is that many categories people don’t compare a range of suppliers (needs) before choosing one – they pick one brand and investigate that brand (desire). Phillips used an example concerning the purchase of a car to make us understand.

What happens is that the customer focuses on of supplier and investigates the product. After x amount of investigation they are either turned of or turned on. In the Snakes and ladder example customers get turned off and start over again at a previous part of the process at a later date (the whole process takes 18 months).

This slide is from Stephen Phillips of Sprint Research presentation.


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