Imagine – you’re a fast-growing brand, you have a killer marketing technology stack in place, a talented group of marketing gurus on your team, and an unlimited budget to expand your marketing strategies beyond where they stand today. Basically, you’re in the driver’s seat and have the tools you need to implement all the cutting-edge programs you’ve always wanted. How amazing, right!? Totally! Every marketer’s dream – it just doesn’t get any better.
Except, where was the part about your customers? In today’s world, it’s becoming increasingly paramount that brands prioritize the customer experience, focusing on each and every phase of the customer journey. We are in the evolving era of the customer; shifting attention and resources to this reality is key to positively impacting retention, satisfaction, and sales.
To genuinely make a lasting impact on your customers, you must understand their purchase journey and how they experience your brand at every turn – from source to close. Although all of the variables in an ideal world (described in the beginning of this post!) would allow for delivering a wow-worthy marketing campaign, it’s impossible to justly do that without a realistic perception of your customer journey.
Continue reading to discover three steps to send you on your way to mapping your organization’s customer journey and applying it to where the rubber meets the road.
1. Gather the data you have about your customers
The information you need to effectively put together an accurate depiction of your customer journey could include both anecdotal data as well as scientific (historical) data. For example, gathering anecdotal data could include surveying your current customers (or past customers) and/or speaking to your internal sales team about their interactions and conversations with customers.
Anecdotal data gathering could include getting answers to questions like:
- How did the customer hear about you?
- What made them choose you?
- What key pieces were they looking for when evaluating you against your competitors?
From here, you’re better able to make educated decisions when mapping out the phases you believe your customers go through. Historical data, on the other hand, could include behavior of your website traffic or engagement on your social media channels.
Historical data gathering could include the review of the following:
- Which pages on your website are most highly viewed?
- Is there any seasonality to your website traffic?
- Which posts have seen the highest number of likes and shares on your Facebook page?
This data can be super helpful in providing context to how your current audience is interacting with your brand and understanding the key information your customers are seeking in their effort to make a purchase.
2. Align your sales and marketing teams to the journey
The most effective sales and marketing engines deeply consider the needs of their target customer. Rather than centering the sales message on a scripted product-focused sequence, enlightened businesses focus first on guiding their customers along the purchase journey by delivering tailored, thoughtful touch points.
A real-world example:
Your business is in the adventure travel industry offering amazing excursions in New Zealand for individuals and families. Your average customer is a high-income household with discretionary income to spend on a vacation, searching for a bit of adventure mixed with leisure (they want it all), and based in the U.S. Through the assessment of anecdotal data (step #1, above) you realize that most all of these customers are asking your sales team about the experience of your tour guides before they book. Travelers want peace of mind that they’ll be safe and with a cultured guide through the duration of their trip.
Marketing’s role & objective in this situation: to craft a micro-campaign around this topic highlighting the bios of your most experienced tour guides and what a “day in the life” might look like for a traveler on one of your trips. As part of this initiative the marketing team will create content in the form of a landing page where the tour guides’ bios will be published and an infographic of a sample itinerary. They will send these assets out utilizing a tailored email automation.
Sales’ role & objective in this situation: to personally follow-up with any lead who downloads the infographic. The talk track that they will use to answer questions regarding safety and security will be crafted ahead of time and will position the sales team as experienced resources for travelers. All messages will complement the marketing campaign and sufficiently answer the customer’s questions around this topic.
The customer experience must be the framework that dictates all internal sales and marketing processes. Realized alignment between the two teams is attainable when the mission is shared; to positively impact the customer journey at every stage.
3. Publish your customer journey for all team members
A key step in ensuring a successful infusion of a customer-driven strategy is transparency. By internally publishing your customer journey for everyone to see, you empower each and every team member to understand their individual impact on it. Collectively, all teams will shape their internal processes to roll up to the customer journey. Anything that isn’t positively compelling customers through their purchase journey should be cut from the plan!
We recommend organization-wide meetings, quarterly (or monthly, if you can), upon rolling out your journey document. Your sales and marketing teams, especially, will likely have immediate, market-validated feedback and recommendations on whether or not revisions to any internal processes will correspond to the journey.
For a visualization of this process and a sample customer journey exercise that you can apply to your business, contact us. In your message, check the block for “Strategic Planning” and reference how it’s time your business becomes customer-centric. We’ll send you what you need to get started right away!