In a perfect world, the journey someone takes to become your customer would be a simple straight line: Someone sees your product. They buy your product. They use and enjoy your product…and then they do it all over again. In reality, the customer journey is a little more complicated and understanding how a consumer arrives at a decision is crucial to optimizing your advertising, maximizing engagement and creating a loyal customer.
Historically, the customer journey has been shown as a funnel with five distinct stages.
- Awareness – recognition of a need or problem
- Consideration – research solutions to solve a need or problem
- Purchase – decide on a product or service to solve a need or problem
- Advocacy – spread the word about the greatness of a product or service
- Loyalty – repurchase product or service because of initial satisfaction
Today’s customer journey is more fluid than ever, as customers have many different ways to engage with a brand. The linear model has now become a more multi-dimensional process. With digital and social media, consumers now have more control over their ad preferences, what they engage with and which brands they follow. To keep up with this ever changing digital world, new models of the customer journey have emerged. Some of these models suggest the experience does not always begin with awareness and end with a purchase. Rather the journey is depicted as infinite with multiple stages along the way, and customers can enter the pathway at several different points depending on their needs.
Because every customer’s journey is different, it’s important to know your audience and visually map out all of the touchpoints along the way. These touchpoints are about understanding a customer’s daily activities. Consumers may see a commercial on TV or hear a radio spot while driving. While surfing the web, they get served a digital ad. At this point they may click to learn more, but not complete a purchase until several days later.
The number of touchpoints can vary greatly based on the consumer and the product or service. It’s important to utilize data mining to determine where and when decisions are made. You can then use that data to help expedite the conversion-to-purchase cycle.
Understanding where consumers encounter and respond to marketing tactics all along the way is vital to optimizing your campaign and ultimately achieving long-lasting engagement between your customer and brand. Once a sale is complete, the journey is not over. A brand’s goal should be to keep customers coming back for repeat business, spreading positive word of mouth and sending new customers to discover the brand.
The Fridge can help you track your customer journey, analyze your data and create a more profitable path to conversion.
Laurie Mayeux, Digital Media Buyer