Gartner predicts by 2018, those organizations that excel in personalization will outsell companies that don’t by 20%.
In today’s information age where the Internet rules, marketers are scrambling to keep up with ways consumers can now engage with a brand. Consumers are investigating new products online, they are reading reviews in real time and are actively engaging with the brand well before making the actual purchase. To a marketing professional, these are customer touch-points. Each point is simply a step along a path that a customer will make before the purchase of something, be it a product or service.
If the brand is notable and already established, brands like McDonalds, Best Buy, Microsoft, to name a few, then consumers already have preconceived notions of what the experience should be before making the purchase. Companies competing in today’s marketplace must acknowledge expectations and introduce delightful experiences into the buyer’s journey if they want to remain competitive.
How do we start?
It starts with a persona. Understanding who your buyer is and then personifying them. Personas give the company a much richer picture of their customers so that they may be able to tailor a memorable and effective experience. Personas are usually derived from a combination of the following types of data:
- Demographic – Defined by population based on geography, income, level of education and other attributes.
- Psychographic – Focused on values, opinions, interests, aspirations, attitudes and lifestyles.
- Ethnographic – Information gleaned from surveys and studies conducted by watching subjects in their daily routines and capturing what isn’t explicitly reported.
- Transactional – Insight from a customer’s history with the brand, including first and third-party purchase histories and post-sale service records.
- Behavioral – Captured data through engagement with websites, mobile devices and other media outlets.
Once you have your persona(s) defined, take the time to carefully identify all key business moments your persona must take when interacting with your brand. List each key moment including buying decisions and begin to prioritize them. Fully flesh out any opportunities that may not exist today but could be implemented to enhance the experience. Start to design your buyer experience by mapping each moment along a timeline.
It may be helpful at this stage to create stories. Stories help paint the picture of what the persona wants. Stories can be used to find missing business moments along the way. I find it’s always insightful to share your stories with someone outside of your circle as it offers up different perspectives and could encourage innovation in your process.
In the end, your customer journey will be defined by your personas (the profile of your customer), their stories (a picture of what the customer truly wants), and a map of business moments (points where your brand will delight).
Once your journey has been defined, evangelize it to the rest of the business. This offers the awareness and transparency of customer motives. This also is a vital step in the continued success of the customer journey. Success can be achieved short term but cannot be maintained unless the customer journey grows and evolves.