Marketers have the specific task of not only predicting customer behavior but influencing it along the way. This means you need to have a deep understanding of the customer journey, which is the path consumers travel from realization of a need all the way to the purchase. With this understanding, you can determine what motivates your customers at each phase of their journey, from first interaction with your business to becoming a loyal customer. Then you’re able to guide them along the process.
This customer journey is something you and I do every day, but marketers are paying specific attention so they can strategically persuade consumers toward their product or to take a specific action. Each phase in the journey has a unique way to catch your potential buyers’ attention and provide the most useful information needed at that phase, so your marketing efforts should react accordingly.
To understand your customers journey, you must know your audience. This helps gauge where they are receiving their information, in light of their demographics and psychographics. Identification of your customer’s persona leads to a clear grasp of their problems, and the need your product can solve.
Knowing that media shapes people and impacts how they make decisions and purchases, you can develop a media strategy combining your media’s influence with the appropriate phase of the journey. Here is a guide to understanding each phase and the tactics that compliment it best. Are you utilizing your messaging and strategy in the most effective ways?
Awareness and Inspiration
At this point, a potential buyer has recognized a need and is trying to solve a problem or find an answer. They will be looking for high-level information to help them arrive at a solution. Because of the early phase, they’re valued as a low lead at this point, but worth the effort of guiding them to the next phase. Branding plays a significant role in this step. What brought about the awareness that they need or want something? Likely, it is from watching the latest news, current events, pop culture, social media, peers, etc. Is your brand among the latest trends?
Now that they know they have a problem that needs to be solved, they’re trying to find the best solution. They’re evaluating their options as the need for a purchase is getting closer. This is where you want to show the buyer why you offer their best solution as you nurture the lead, build a relationship and establish trust. They are currently considering all options and doing the research. With 63% of shopping occasions beginning with search online, is your brand relevant in digital content, videos, news outlets, social media, blogs or among influencers?
Research and Planning
The buyer is evaluating the research to guide their decision. They have narrowed down their consideration set, compared benefits, value, investments, and have added your product to the shopping list. If they’re comparing two options – you and your competitor – why should they select yours? Here is your chance to show reviews, price comparison, availability, discounts, competition’s flaws, details on website, send direct mail/email and more. According to Episerver.com, around half of the online shoppers (46%) have failed to complete a purchase online because there were too many options to choose from. It is a prime time to showcase why your brand is superior to help them make that decision.
The transaction is completed! In today’s world, the transaction is likely to take place online. Is the process simple and streamlined? Can they make reservations, hire your company or take action with ease?
Retention and Evaluation
Just because they purchased does not mean the work is done. Most buyers reflect on the results of his or her decision. Through a solid CRM program and continued outreach, they can become loyal customers and will spread the word. Offer the opportunity to share on social media, blog, give feedback via customer review sites or on your website. Are you utilizing the positive peer reviews to entice future customers?
Having a firm grasp on the journey leads us back to the comment earlier about media shaping behavior and decisions. Are the touchpoints, media or exposure that the consumers witness in line with where they are on the journey? Does the marketing plan and the tactics within bring your product and customers together? If so, is it done at the right phase?
Remember, branding media tactics like TV and video play a larger role earlier in the process. While directional and transactional tactics, like search, dominate near the end. But keep in mind that even the customer journey is not COVID-proof. For example, according to a recent study by GeekWire, in March 2020, 42 percent of the U.S. population purchased their groceries online at least once a week. This shows an increase from 22 percent just two years ago. Daily online grocery sales have also doubled. Is this a temporary boost? Or a mindset shift that could impact the customer journey? Over half of online grocery shoppers say they’re now more likely to continue to shop online even after the pandemic.
If you’re struggling to align your customers’ journey and your media strategy, give us a call. Morgan & Co.’s team specializes pairing paid media with customers in each step of the process, incorporating data-driven tactics to bring ROI.