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Sometime ago now, some friends of mine asked if it was OK to film a short interview piece discussing the future of the shopping experience – aka – the purchasing journey.
I don’t know what happened to the footage (if I find out I’ll see if I can upload it later), but what I do know is that the thoughts from that day still rattle around my head like it was only yesterday:
In today’s super-connected society, how can any one activity (be that marketing, advertising or PR) truly claim to be the sole driver behind product sales?
Let’s take a look. Using the analysis of one of my own purchasing journeys; Split/Second, a new racing game for the Xbox360.
The first part, the very beginning, was when I saw a tweet from a trusted friend saying “This looks awesome!” with a link to a game trailer. It was so long ago now that I forget who it was, it might’ve been Kev or Joe but I’m not sure. Anyway, like I said, that tweet led me to YouTube, where I watched the trailer. Then I watched it again. In HD.
It was a Saturday morning, the girlfriend and I were getting ready to go out and I stopped her to watch it with me. It was that good. Excitement. I am a fan of Burnout, a similar arcade-style racer. I’ve finished both Burnout 1 & 2 for the Gamecube and I’m very close to finishing Burnout: Paradise City on the 360. Split/Second is very similar (but in the same breath very different), so this game spoke to me.
Next, came the research phase. When was it out? What could I do to find out more? My Firefox history tells me that it was May 1st when I saw the video above. At that point, I was in game-buying mode. I tweeted:
A few things came back, but nothing that really grabbed me. I waited. A week later I saw this tweet from Nik Butler:
Nik played it. He liked it. I went to bed thinking about it and, the following morning, I wake up and download the demo. It’s one car, one track, one race. But I like it.
Ultimately, much like a summer movie blockbuster, Split Second offers thrills galore, but there’s a hint of glossy superficiality to it, too. Large-scale explosions distract from a lack of tactical depth for a while, but the game’s lifespan would have been improved, particularly as far as multiplayer is concerned, with a more comprehensively involving strategic element. Yet there are few games in the genre that create quite so many sharp intakes of breath and instances of unintentionally barked profanity as this one, and sometimes that’s what racing gaming is all about.
That quote there, that last sentence even, was what finally clinched it for me. The journey was long but on May 31st, a full month from my first encounter, I bought the game.
It started with a tweet, then a trailer, then trusted referrals, a demo of the game and finally an official games review (in print no less).
The purchasing journey can be long and winding with many different touch-points. I hear conversations about acquisitions, downloads and click-throughs and I despair. The modern day ROI model cannot be put down to just one thing. There are many routes to my wallet and none of them are exclusive. They live and breathe around each other and, it’s only through that understanding will we ever really make an impact.
Points of interest:
Modern technology helped my map the data; Firefox history with viewing the trailer, my Xbox Live account with my demo downloads and of course Twitter, time-stamping my progress. This stuff can be mapped, it’s just knowing where to look.
Also, massive thanks to the cool cats at Edge who, after I managed to lose the copy of their magazine that I wanted to quote from (see above,) kindly emailed me a PDF of the original article I needed. Rockstars.