A touchpoint can be defined as any way consumers can interact with a business organization, whether it be person-to-person, through a website, an app or any form of communication). When consumers come in contact with these touchpoints it gives them the opportunity to compare their prior perceptions of the business and form an opinion..
Touchpoints in marketing communications are the varying ways that a brand interacts and displays information to prospective customers and current customers. Touchpoints allow customers to have experiences every time they “touch’ any part of the product, service, brand or organization, across multiple channels and various points in time. Customers’ opinions and perceptions are largely influenced by the contact that is made with these touchpoints, which can be positive or negative depending wholly on the individual person. Touchpoints have the ability to influence a consumers buying or intent to purchase, all throughout the five stages of the buyer purchasing decision-making process: Problem recognition, information search, the evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behaviour. Touchpoints can happen in both a Business-to-Business setting and a Business-to-Consumer setting. A touchpoint is a message or way a brand reaches out to their target market providing engagement as it allows the brand to be seen by the prospective customer in a favorable way. The goal of effective touchpoints is that it will create an opportunity for the purchaser to choose their brand over another competitor.
Touchpoints are an element in the IMC (integrated marketing communications), which portray the willingness on behalf of the brand communicators to use specific communication motives to reach the appropriate target audience. This is used to engage customers in the pre- and post-purchase experience when they purchase a good or service. Touchpoints allow prospective customers to become knowledgeable on the brand and the benefits offered and allow them to make a decision to whether they will buy the product or service. An example of a brand using effective touchpoints in their marketing communications is Toyota selling the Yaris car model to the youth segment. The way in which Toyota did this was firstly advertising the Yaris in television programs such as Prison Break, whose viewers are typically in the age bracket they were targeting. Toyota hosted an Internet contest where consumers could create their own three-minute television commercials. This method engaged the youth segment as it was interactive and let the prospect consumers experience the brand. Toyota also knew that the youth age group were social and would likely attend social functions; this meant that Yaris cars were featured in many sponsored events. They were also integrated into television comedy programs, which attracted their target segmentation during adverts.