We have already started a few publications to review some of the issues associated with developing a presence in the market.
We started with the "Sales Funnel", now let's go to the Customer Journey or "Journey of the Customer, or of the Consumer".
In a market with an increasing need for an "omnichannel" presence for brands and organizations, where the digital presence has a high preponderance, knowing our customers or consumers is increasingly an obligation, since it is also necessary to optimize resources.
Particularly in a complex phase like the one we are going through.
But what is the "Consumer Journey" and what is it for?
The Consumer Journey makes it possible to know all the points of contact of customers, or potential customers, with the product, organization or brand.
Journey, as the name suggests, is the "path" that a customer takes and all the points of contact.
It can be larger or smaller, depending normally on the type of product under consideration.
How does it affect us? Not knowing consumer touchpoints will result in some wasted resources and lost contact and business opportunities with potential and current consumers. Therefore, it affects performance, profitability and the management of resources linked to the acquisition of new customers and the maintenance of current ones.
How is the journey?
Typically there are always 4 phases:
Knowledge and discovery - of the problem or need
Search - for solutions that satisfy the need
Consideration of the solution
Purchase decision - acquisition and delivery (subsequent after-sales solutions)
No entanto, Philip Kotler introduziu, no seu livro Marketing 4.0, os 5 A's.
"Awareness, Appeal, Ask, Act and Advocacy".
This approach, which follows the previous steps, adds a step in which it is possible to gain a customer who "defends" the brand/product and suggests it to third parties.
This stage is based on the consumer's experience, which can take different forms, depending on the purchase process to be undertaken.
For each of these phases, it is necessary to direct and use the appropriate tools, in order to guarantee that the consumer passes each of the phases and has a satisfactory experience.
At all stages it is also necessary to measure and assess the results. To know, information is needed.
Which cannot fail to create value and influence the purchase decision, at all stages and with each action taken.
The degree of involvement will have to grow with each passing step.
Knowledge and Discovery
For the consumer who is in the first phase, the information will have to be presented in an "informative" way. Never commercial.
Any presentation of information should be subtle and in order to make known the solutions.
This is not the time to "throw" everything on the product and "beg" them to buy the product or interact with the organization/brand.
Normally, this information will appear at the stage when the potential client circulates in search engines or circulates in social networks.
Where only clues will be given. Let the consumer gain curiosity and go on a search for more information.
We shouldn't talk about the product, the company or the brand. All content should be complementary to the problem that can be solved by the solution.
Recognizing the need and becoming aware that it has to be resolved, it will start a process of resolving it.
Based on the information and content that you have been receiving, and that you have "discovered" on your own, there is a problem that you can resolve and remedy.
The initial attitude will be to try to solve the problem "by yourself", but understanding that you cannot solve it alone, you accept that you need help from the product/brand or organization.
Right now content is king.
This is where you can start by providing information (content) namely by exchanging customer information.
This provides the possibility of better knowing the intentions of the client, who knows his problem and asserts himself as someone with authority on the subject.
It gets you closer to the next step on the path to purchase.
But keep calm, this is not the time to talk about sales yet!
This is the point at which the consumer considers the need to purchase the product and matures this idea.
In this way, you will be able to solve the identified problem.
It will be at this stage that you can start applying more aggressive solutions by presenting answers to the problem.
As he is already aware of the problem, the consumer starts an active evaluation process of solutions.
Actions that create a sense of urgency so that there is interest in quickly solving the problem. So that you do not abandon the need.
As a general rule, the human brain likes order and solving processes that generate anxiety. Stimulating action will be able to guarantee the choice of the solution it provides.
In terms of solutions to be undertaken, it always depends on the type of product/business that we are promoting.
Providing tutorials and other types of solutions about your solution, provides the opportunity to demonstrate how it is an option to solve the problem that exists.
Here, your product/brand or organization can take the lead in the "conversation" with the customer. The positioning of these becomes very relevant in order to ensure that you have the answers to what is sought as a solution.
In this last phase, and after having recognized the problem, having researched and compared solutions, and defined which provides you with a solution, it is time to make clear its advantages.
The consumer is predisposed to do business.
At this stage, positioning becomes very important to guarantee its space in the mental space and in the "share of wallet" of these consumers.
Positioning is associated with the differentiating characteristics that your solution represents and the advantages.
Mainly compared to its direct competitors.
Sharing information about the product/solution, such as demonstrations or "case studies", will allow you to substantiate how your proposal has advantages over other market players.
Confirm its advantages and which is better than the rest.
Here make direct contact with the customer. Take advantage of the contacts raised in the previous phases and side with the client and their "pains".
Build the opportunity to make him feel comfortable and willing to close the sale. After all, he is the one who has to make the decision.
And mental triggers are a help in the purchase decision process.
What gains do you have with the Customer Journey?
Several, as we have already had the opportunity to mention.
But personalization is one of the most relevant nowadays.
Some of the challenges and benefits we can get:
Knowing the customer's perception
All the communication that we've been addressing has to suit the prospects' needs and be in tune with their perceptions.
And in this way we will be more in tune with how they develop their reasoning and what their preferences are.
With this information, a more personalized contact is achieved, even adjusting the channels and the type of information that best serves the needs.
In this way, you have a better customer experience.
The way to know and optimize activities is to Map the Customer's Journey.
Thus, it is possible to understand and improve the way of interacting with potential customers, as well as identifying the optimizations to be implemented.
In current and future actions.
It will thus be possible to analyze the most efficient tactics and communication channels.
It can also improve customer loyalty and boost advocacy.
Control Costs and Investments
Mapping this route allows, as we mentioned, to identify trends and channels.
Thus it is possible to improve strategy, tactics and planning.
This planning and study will provide the possibility, in addition to savings, to identify which solutions best suit the developed personas, reducing acquisition and maintenance costs for current and potential customers.
Thus it is possible to improve strategy, tactics and planning. In addition to, of course, streamlining solutions that represent value for different channels and audiences.
With the optimization of solutions, channels and tactics, we will have a better adaptation of communication to the different stages of the journey, boosting sales.
In this way, an increase in the average purchase price is achieved.
With more personalized solutions, investments in communication and marketing, and sales, can have a very favorable evolution.
With satisfaction comes advocacy and repeat purchase.
This will be a way, along with the development of communities or their monitoring, to conquer free channels that favor the recommendation, for new consumers, of the presented solutions.
A way that, nowadays, can prove to be more effective than some channels.
How to create a Buyer's Journey Map
As solutions tend to vary from organization to organization (or even product to product), there is no single or typified solution.
You can find some templates online that can help you.
Let's try to enunciate some good practices that are consensual among the various specialists.
Getting to know your customers by developing their personas is always the first step.
More than a segmentation, it is all a process of knowing your behaviors and habits. But this topic is for another post.
But this information is essential to understand how your audiences behave. Variations between regions or age groups, for example, can often arise.
With this information, you will be able to optimize the resources and channels to be used in the different phases of the journey.
This optimization provides, as we saw before, a rationalization and savings in terms of investment, simultaneously obtaining better results.
Duration of the Journey
The definition of journey time comes from studying consumer behavior and understanding the time between different phases.
Like the factors mentioned above, this does not have a fixed duration, so much so that it can vary according to the type of product/business.
There are processes that are relatively short, and others, such as sales to companies, where they can be longer.
To a large extent, they are conditioned by the degree of involvement in the purchase, as well as the investment volumes to be considered.
This among other factors.
Which Channels to choose?
How he developed the study of personas before analyzing the journey, there is no doubt.
The channels will have to be those associated with the preferred ones for the identified consumers/personas. As well as the different stages of the journey.
It is necessary that in this work developed for the knowledge of its potential interested parties, which are the best ways to be contacted.
This is to ensure that your targets receive and interact with your content at different stages.
Prepare the Contact Points
Identify the points of contact you may have with your customers in order to prepare assertive forms of communication, namely between phases and in a way that helps in moving to the next phase of the journey.
Always bear in mind that any interaction cannot be aggressive or imposing.
It has to proceed in a normal and natural way. The process has to be controlled by the consumer, it cannot be "forced".
Otherwise, instead of leading you along the journey, it will put you off course.
Interactions from start to finish
How does a potential customer come into contact with your solutions for the first time?
Having defined the way, where and how, it enters the journey, it allows planning how all actions will be developed throughout the journey.
Planning here is essential, as in all company activities.
Prepare ways to involve him and, indirectly, help and encourage him to go through the journey with you.
Delivering to the customer what he wants most, when he needs it most, so that he can follow the path in a "natural" way and without interfering with his control.
Did you complete the journey? Did the sale take place?
So from here it is necessary to develop after-sales actions.
You can choose from several solutions according to the market in which you are operating.
From satisfaction surveys to other types of incentives, such as product evaluation, these are tools that can be used to obtain more information about the customer.
Here it also enters the field of customer loyalty, where the options are diverse.
Keep customer satisfaction and retention on the horizon.
Deep down, the journey ends up having a beginning, a starting point, but it doesn't have a goal.
Creating reasons for repeat purchase and recommendation of your product/brand are always the following objectives.
Retaining a customer is always cheaper than acquiring a new one. Don't waste the investment you've made to get to this point.
The sooner you start getting to know your audiences, the better.
Know, study, obtain the necessary information to trace all developments and find the best solutions to monitor and maintain contact with your current and potential customers.
Understanding the way you interact with them allows you to optimize solutions (and even the technological solutions to go along with it). And so correct and improve the contact.
Committing to understanding and developing each of the phases, as well as the expectations and desires of the personas, the better the results obtained.
Accompanying and monitoring the journey, demonstrating its solutions, clarifying issues, and guiding you towards the best decision-making for both of you.
So "how does it affect us"?
It affects more and more. In a space where investments in contact and recruitment have grown, it allows optimizing them.
When markets are increasingly global, despite their local characteristics, knowing your consumers (current and potential) are precious sources of information to make acquiring a customer more fluid and economical.
Depending on generations, locations and a myriad of other factors, contact and interaction with these actors is increasingly complex. Therefore, planning, knowing and optimizing solutions, channels and discourse will always bring competitive advantages.
Also if you have difficulties, no problem, we are here ;)