We talk a lot about The Customer Journey as marketers. We create maps, outlines, plans, and dissect every step on the path. At the heart of the customer journey however, is a person. An individual person who is trying to weed through the myriad of choices and make a decision in order to solve a problem. Sometimes in our rush to break the journey down and strategize it down in granular detail as professionals we lose sight of the forest for the trees. What is it that is our ULTIMATE goal on this journey? To connect. To connect with this incredibly busy, bombarded-with-marketing-messages individual who has a ton of conflicting distractions around them all the time, from noisy family members to overbearing supervisors and peers to self-talk chitter chatter to literally the noise from traffic out their window.
How do we CONNECT in this busy busy world not only full of distractions but full of solutions and a seemingly endless array of choices in any decision-making process? This is the marketer’s true question to answer when mapping out the customer journey.
What does a customer journey look like?
The customer journey is the process customers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a new product or service. The journey is a four-step process:
- Awareness Stage: The customer realizes they have a problem.
- Consideration Stage: The customer defines their problem and researches options to solve it.
- Decision Stage: The customer chooses a solution.
- Delight Stage: The customer becomes a raving fan.
Ok, so that’s what it looks like….but how do I make connecting along this path actually happen?
the customer talks to their peers, the people around them on the street, to their family members with language that is not marketing-ese. So why, as marketers do we insist on such formality? Clearly, cutting through the marketing noise involves using easy, understandable language that normal people use and can connect to. We don’t have to trump up fancy parallels or metaphors – we can talk straight and even tackle the real nitty-gritty details that the average person deals with on a daily life.
Can you imagine a lawyer trying to attract more legal clients by using contract language and legal jargon that nobody except those who have passed the bar could understand? Just would never work. Marketing is no different. We can’t expect to attract customers with marketing mumbo-jumbo that means nothing to anyone except digital marketing gurus who spend more time preaching to the choir than they do connecting with average customers.
Be Vividly Aware
Get in touch with the challenges and hot buttons your customer has in the real world. Walk a day in their shoes. This is where the power of human empathy really comes into play (in addition, of course, to market research)…if you were inside your ideal customer’s world for a week, what problems are you encountering? Can you see them? Touch them? If their challenges aren’t vivid and detailed and granularly clear to you, you could never get in touch with the language of connection to this individual. You literally just could never authentically speak their language.
Provide Value with No Strings
We all live in a cynical, skeptical, over-political world. We grow up with the notion that nothing is free, nothing is given without something being demanded for on the flip side. What if as marketers mapping a customer’s journey, our goal in connecting was accomplished by feeding them value at every step that they didn’t have to ask for or pay for? What if we flipped the script and just did the real work of providing content that added to their lives in some way?
Our work as marketers is never easy, but seeing ourselves alongside our customers on this journey can help map out a better experience. After all, connecting with our customers may not yield an immediate sale or close the deal, but ultimately if we authentically connect in the midst of all the craziness, that individual will remember you as the sane voice of calm and reason and real-ness in the middle of the noisy marketplace.
The Diamond Group can help you get to the finish line.
The Diamond Group is a strategic growth marketing agency that offers small businesses a proprietary system to create double-digit growth using inbound, content, and digital marketing, website development, and sales enablement tools. Let’s grow better together and have a conversation.