At this point, we all “know” that creating and distributing content that is compelling and engaging to our contacts is vitally critical to success in our digital world. What has not always been equally clear is that the content must fit the need of our visitor at that moment in time, and that different stages of our sale and customer relationship process requires different content.
According Marketing AI , the following stages exist in the customer journey:
This is not really new thinking to anyone in marketing, especially a marketer who also has a strong sales background. The B2B world has typically understood this better than the B2C world since they needed better awareness of the customer life cycle than many B2C marketers. They understood that at each stage of the customer experience cycle, a brand needs to:
- Understand customer expectations
- Provide appropriate solutions or information at each stage
- Deliver on the customer’s expectation
- Understand changes over time in those expectations
The last one, even in these days of predictive analytics, is the one that has proved most challenging. But is a paradigm that we must all be aware of now.
The good news is that the ability to measure this behavior on the web and in all of our digital communications is unprecedented. Marketing, web and social analytics can help us track offline actions as well if set up and thought through properly. So, although analytics and tracking cannot always bridge all attribution and offline gaps, they are nonetheless important.
On the web, visit/usage duration, frequency and depth are all important factors to consider as a starting point in the analysis process. Beyond that, every organization must examine their business model and audience and develop their own important metrics and KPIs.
Google has posited that that with the emergence of mobile you must win the micro moments, and that this is where many purchase decisions are won or lost. With this statement, they do not necessarily mean that purchases are impulsive. Quite the opposite in some cases. Rather, many people will use some micro-moments to plan out steps of more involved possible purchases or to further research expected purchases. At this point, you must also have the information that they need. That is the “Be There” micro-moment.
There is also the “Be Useful”, “Be Quick” and “Connect the Dots” moments. But this is not a discussion on Google micro-moments, as important as they are especially to a mobile marketer (for the entire presentation, go here for the download: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/research-studies/micromoments-guide-pdf-download.html )
What is necessary to understand as a marketer and brand owner are the important drivers of your consumer actions and decision points, and when, why and how they occur. You also need to understand the customer cues that are signaling their intent and their likely options. Analysis, hypothesizing, research and testing are all required to make this happen. A “set it and forget it” mindset where we do our homework once and move on to other things will no longer work. The process must be ongoing and evolving.
Once you understand your position and the steps in the customer journey, you absolutely need to be sure that you have developed the ability to deliver on those expectations with the appropriate content when customers do raise their hand and ask a question, and also offer to help the customer tie it all together.
This need is not just linked to mobile…it is the need in a seamless communication world in all digital channels, but is also a necessary fact of life no matter where then engagement occurs… you need to be able to deliver on the web, in the app and in the analog world with human interactions: live in person, on the phone or in chat. Be there, solve interaction issues customers face and make the process easier and quicker…that is the mandate.
Control of the engagement has returned for those brands able to satisfy the full cycle of the customer experience by managing the customer lifecycle of communications. In the words of David Edelman of McKinsey “companies can actually shape customer experience journeys, not just react to them.” Those who take on the challenge will prosper while those who abdicate the experience will not. It is really that simple.