Depending on your product or service, your customer’s journey may be short or drawn out over a long time with many touchpoint opportunities along the way. Understanding your customer’s journey and serving up the right messaging at the right time can help your business gain a competitive advantage.
Defining Your Customer's Journey
Understanding your customer’s journey in real life is important. You may think or desire that your customer take a certain path, but the real journey may look much different.
- Gather what you know. Defining the customer journey requires research, data and testing. Most companies already have at least some information about their customers. Gathering what you have is a good place to start.
- Sketch out a map. Creating a map of what you already know about the customer’s buying journey will serve as a starting framework. While it might seem like a laborious and repetitive act, be sure to start at the beginning with a blank slate. Your objective and thorough approach may uncover new data points (or highlight the need for more data in certain areas) that change the game.
- Understand your data. It is also critical to understand the value and difference between anecdotal and analytical data. Although anecdotal can have much value, it’s important to be able to translate it into a trend to be able to effectively act upon it.
- Always be testing. Now that you gathered your existing data of all kinds you can also begin to test assumptions.
Step-by-step Marketing Tips to Implement Throughout Your Customer’s Journey: Now that you know how your customers are progressing through their buying journey, your job is to provide them what they need, when they need it as well as where they need it. Although each journey is unique to your industry, business and product or service, here are some tips to get you started.
This is the top of the marketing “funnel” and the place where your customer is learning but not overly engaged. Events, online and print advertising or interesting content angles can create top of mind awareness for your brand.
Now is your chance to develop a relationship with the customer by introducing your brand and its value proposition. Marketing efforts such as lead-nurturing email campaigns, targeted newsletter and invite-only groups, product demonstrations or events may fit the bill at this stage.
The customer who moves into this stage is considered a prospective customer and is now provided more in-depth information to help them make the buying decision. He/she may be evaluating multiple brands or vying to get approval from a superior. How-to videos, free trials or targeted case studies may be sent to the customer in this stage. This is a critical time to provide superior personal attention, responsive follow up and possibly an offer to sweeten the deal.
A conversion took place! Now is the chance to deliver the product or service, ask for reviews, referrals and optimize opportunities for repeat purchases or cross-selling.
Today’s consumer has high expectations and seemingly countless options when shopping for the right product or service to meet his or her needs. Attributes like authenticity, personalization and customer service are all things that allow companies to gain an edge over the competition.