There are more channels and platforms to communicate with customers than ever before. However, studies have found that only 1 in 5 customers feel that the messages they receive are tailored to their needs and wants. There are many companies stuck in the days of mass marketing where one communication is expected to change the behaviour of diverse customers. Some companies have recognised the need for improvement, but often find they lack the expertise or resources to communicate in a more personalised way. This shift from product focussed marketing to a more customer focussed marketing approach, has brought customer journey mapping to the forefront of marketing strategy.
Customer journey mapping follows the consumer throughout their entire experience, from the initial discovery stage of a product or service right through trial / use to becoming a loyal customer. Customer journey mapping has proven popular due to positive outcomes such as improved customer experiences, increased company value, reduced cost and it provides a platform to build competitive advantage. The shift towards a more customer-centric approach encourages an in-depth understanding of what influences consumers’ perceptions, attitudes and motivations.
The following are the steps to developing a customer journey map.
1. Defining customer personas
Defining customer personas should be conducted at the initial stages of developing a customer journey. Customer personas are often used interchangeably with customer segmentation; care must be taken as they are in fact different things. Customer personas reveal insight into a customer’s attitudes, feelings, goals and motivations, whereas, segmentation refers to grouping customers according to similar demographics and characteristics. Defining customer personas may be as simple as using the customer knowledge you currently have, however, conducting customer interviews to gather further understanding and insight is often required.
2. Planning the customer journey
Customer experience is the cumulative impact of many touch points along the customer journey. Customer journey mapping follows the customer throughout their entire decision-making process so it is important that it is as frictionless as possible to help you stand out from the competition. Just as companies have different customer types, it is important to have separate journeys for each of these groups.
3. Building the map
A visual map of the customer journey can be an effective and concise way to share it with employees. When building the map there are five stages to take into consideration.
Stage 1: Capturing customer triggers:
Triggers are the motivators that begin the buying cycle, such as, need fulfilment or problem seeking.
Stage 2: Research:
Customers seek further information to assist with their decision-making process. Some customers are reliant on the web or print media, others ask their social networks. Generally, research is gathered across several different channels, both online and offline to make buying decisions.
Stage 3: Tap into your buyer’s feelings:
Integrating emotions into the customer journey can be used to enhance the relationship.
Stage 4: Buyer channels:
Communicating with your customer on the channels and platforms they prefer is an opportunity to provide the ultimate customer experience.
Stage 5: Foresee the future:
Plan ahead for customer needs and questions to eliminate or address concerns or support issues before they arise.
If you are interested in customer personas and journey mapping, you may like to read this whitepaper from IBM / Silverpop.
At Thrivase, our clients are increasingly interested in tailoring channels and content to provide a more personalised marketing experience. We would love to talk to you about how you can use multi-channel marketing to move towards a more personalised experience for your customers.