April 23rd 2018

Why the Customer Journey Matters

Image Dylan Touhey

The purchase funnel is no longer linear. Today's customer journey—from consideration to caring—is circular and chalked full of micro-interactions.

Consumers require at least 8 interactions before making a purchase decision. No single content piece or advert is enough to propel a prospective buyer to action. While B2C products require 8 interactions, B2B products require upwards of 12. This means companies need to invest heavily in omnichannel content, and design ad campaigns, to align with all 4 stages of the customer journey.

  1. Consideration
  2. Evaluation
  3. Purchase
  4. Caring

The sum of each micro-interaction creates emotional association and rational which your prospects use to evaluate your offering against the alternative.

Top brands generate 17 positive (green) micro-interactions for every negative (red) one. To achieve top status, and beat the competition, brands must deliver positive emotion and help help the prospect rationalize their decision at all points of the customer journey. This is achieved by mastering bot pull and push interactions.

Pull interactions draw potential customers towards your site or app. These interactions leverage search engines, social media, videos, blogs, reviews, emails, podcasts, curated content feeds and ad campaigns. Pull interactions drive the prospect to the consideration (1), evaluation (2) and purchase (3) points in the customer journey.

Push interactions are performed by happy customers who share their experiences with your brand at the caring (4) point of the customer journey. Put simply, caring is a term used to describe advocacy. Satisfied customers push their experiences with your product and brand to their social networks, leave positive reviews, and refer friends. Caring decreases churn while simultaneously increasing lifetime value.

To drive prospects to purchase, your content and ad campaigns must work in harmony to communicate a consistent message across multiple channels, interactions and devices.

We are seeing a shift away from quantity to quality. Within the next five years, we anticipate investment in ad impressions going down. Instead, marketing budgets will go towards brand experiences.

Shar Van Boskirk, Principal Analyst, Forrester

According to Google:

  • 51% of smartphone users have purchased from a company or brand other than the one they intended to because the information provided was useful.

  • 73% of consumers say that regularly getting useful information from an advertiser is the most important attribute when selecting a brand.

  • 69% of online consumers agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.

  • 66% of consumers who have a bad experience will take a negative action against a brand.

The good news is that 90% of consumers actually welcome useful and entertaining content from brands that can establish credibility and trust throughout the journey. This is welcome news for digital marketers in a world where 50% of US adults actively avoid unsolicited ads on websites and the average click-through rate is less than 0.35%.

Google understand the importance of relevant and timely information and rewards websites with higher position on the search results if it’s content meets the the users query, proximity and intent. This is especially true for mobile searches where consideration (1) typically begins.

On the social side, where consumers turn for evaluation (2), Facebook and LinkedIn are no different. Videos, photos and updates that generate higher views, clicks and shares receive disproportionately more exposure. In short, search engines and social media sites and constantly adapting their algorithms to surface the most relevant content for the user.

The next wave of persistent personal assistants like Alexa and Google Home will follow suit. Brands who can design and position meaningful and engaging content will be rewarded.

The end result is a more organic (free) traffic which reduces customer acquisition costs. It’s no wonder the #1 focus for CMOs in 2018 will be interactive content and visual storytelling.

Differentiate your brand and win new customers by owning the customer journey.

Categories: ALL, Marketing

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