Follow Your Customer Experience Journey to Improve Your ROI

Mapping the customer experience journey will let you visualize and gain insights about the steps customers take when they interact with your business.

As an online business marketer, you can think of a customer experience journey as a description of each person’s behavior as they interact with your website. As a typical map helps you visualize a journey, consumer journey mapping will let you visualize and gain insights about the steps customers take when they interact with your business. In turn, you uncover consumer motivations and those aspects of their experience that you could improve upon in order to increase customer satisfaction and of course, revenues and profits.

What is a user journey map?

Harvard Business Review defined a user journey map as a diagram used to illustrate the steps your customers take to interact with your company. More complex maps may attempt to describe every step in the customer’s journey but some may just focus on a specific path for some product or site feature.

For example, you might include initial brand awareness, from ads or social media. You can even extend the map to contain possible offline interactions with your business. Harvard Business Review mentioned that including more touchpoints could make the document more complex but in some cases, more useful. If you’re mostly focused on just your website, you might only include online actions.

In any case, you create a timeline of a customer journey. You might draw points on the timeline that begin with customer awareness and research and end with a purchase and the after-purchase experience. For each stage, you can use this framework:

  • Action: This refers to the actions the consumer took at the time to move along to the next step. In the awareness phase, the customer might have viewed one of your social or YouTube videos or found your site via search.
  • Motivations: What motivated the consumer to take the next step in their journey. Perhaps your social video suggested a solution to some problem the consumer had or offered a cheaper alternative.
  • Questions: Which uncertainties might prevent the customer from advancing along your funnel to the next stage? Perhaps the potential customer needs more information to understand why your brand offers the best choice in a complex or crowded market.
  • Barriers: Besides a lack of information, are there any other obstacles that work against the consumer’s motivations? Some examples could include the cost or the buying process.

Gathering information to map the customer decision journey

To begin mapping out an online consumer decision journey, you should gather two kinds of information:

  • Website analytics: You should have a fairly easy time figuring out how you customers used your website. For instance, the website analytics will tell you were visitors came from, which features they used, and how long they stayed. If you have trouble sorting out all the information you can gather from your analytics, a customer journey agency may prove a helpful resource.
  • Consumer research: While it’s fairly easy to learn what your website visitors do, it’s a little tougher to understand why they behave the way they do. For instance, a high percentage of visitors might abandon shopping carts before they buy. Maybe they think you charge too much for shipping or don’t offer the right payment options, but sometimes, you can’t know for sure. To make the most of your consumer journey mapping, you might monitor social media or gather surveys or other kinds of feedback.

Again, almost every marketer has a much easier time observing the decisions consumers make than knowing exactly why they make them. That’s another reason why creating your customer experience journey map will give you a fantastic chance to understand customers better. For example, let’s say many customers do abandon shopping carts, and you’re not certain if they’re turned off by shipping charges, payment options, or something else.

Certainly, you can check social media, surveys, and other feedback to see if you can find any helpful trends. Even better, you might use split tests to let changes in behavior suggest motives. If adding free shipping with a minimum order or reducing all shipping helps improve sales, you will know that shipping charges matter to your market. As with deciphering complex analytics, a customer journey agency may help you find the best ways to sort out complex behaviors.

Buyer personas

The Shopify Blog suggests using buyer personas as another tool that can help you develop better maps and gain more understanding of your customers.

For instance:

  • In the best case, you could encourage recent customers to answer survey questions that can tell you exactly what they did and did not like about the process of interacting with your business.
  • You can ask them why they researched products, what motivated them to choose your business, and of course, if they have any suggestions for improvement.

Since understanding motivations can provide you with such valuable insights in order to attract new customers and retain old ones, you might encourage people to complete your surveys with a discount code, extra points in your loyalty club, a free shipping offer.

The importance of consumer journey mapping

These days, businesses live and die by the experience that they offer customers. Brian Solis, the author of “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design,” says that customer experience now exceeds product in importance. Consumers do search for facts when they research brands, products, and marketplaces. But mostly, they remember how you make them feel. Consumer journey mapping will help you understand the customer’s experience from their own point-of-view, and that’s how you can create a successful, customer-focused company.

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Why perfecting the retail marketing mix is important

Contemporary retail marketing is a brave new world. While some basic principles remain when it comes to implementing effective retail marketing strategies, others have evolved to acknowledge and appeal to the new breed of consumer. Does your business have what it takes to succeed in today’s dynamic landscape? Let’s take a closer look at three critical components of the 21st century retail marketing mix.

1. It’s not you, it’s them

And by “them,” we mean your customers. While the retail marketing mix involves a number of elements — those trusty, oft-cited “six P’s.”  People, product, price, place, promotion and performance should all be focused in one clear direction: your customers.

It goes without saying that your customers are your business’ most important constituents, but a shocking number of retail enterprises fail to put them front and center when it comes to developing and implementing retail strategies. Here’s the cold hard truth: the more customer-focused you can make your retail business, the more success you can expect to achieve.

Lucky for us, we have more access than ever toward understanding our customers. From tracking in-store footfalls to online conversation rates, the ability to known and learn from customer behavior yields actionable insights into their wants and needs so you can stop wasting your resources on what doesn’t work and instead focus on results.

We’re living in an era of “YOU-tility,” and retail organizations are not exempt when it comes to satisfying the contemporary consumer. One common goal shared by today’s successful retail enterprises? To add value across all of the P’s.  This can mean anything from implementing point of sale solutions for on-the-go customers to targeting promotions to reach a particular demographic via their preferred means of communication, all without bothering the rest with irrelevant promotional materials.

2. Consistency is key

We can all agree that a retail organization which only emphasizes sales is destined to fail. Why? Because retail success also relies upon providing extraordinary customer service every step of the way. Want to gain an inside edge on the competition? Don’t settle for delivering what your customers expect. Instead, strive to exceed their expectations. After all, the ultimate goal is not to make a single sale, but to develop lasting customer loyalty, along with the potential for a lifetime of sales.

Because consumer shopping habits have changed, so must your marketing efforts. This means incorporating a complete range of omnichannel marketing methods in order to leverage technology into sales. To maximize your efforts and ensure that your message reaches your target audience in the most meaningful way, your business needs a compelling online and offline presence.

Today’s consumers expect the businesses they support to be transparent, accountable and responsive. While these may sound like trendy buzzwords, they’re a very real part of any successful retail marketing mix. This means every communication you send — whether in-store or via digital methods  — is aimed at reinforcing your brand sensibility across all touch points.

And don’t forget about email. While most people think social media and apps have overtaken email as the ideal means of communicating with consumers, email is still an important way to cultivate and engage consumers. In fact, a recent Inc. article decreed email marketing to be “vital for businesses of all sizes,” for a variety of reasons including its low cost, mobile reach, and impact upon both online and in-store sales.

Consistency also means establishing expectations for your staff and reinforcing these expectations so that organization-wide operations are coordinated, streamlined, and cohesive. Every team member should be working toward the common goal of satisfying customers through a well-communicated strategic plan.

3. A new kind of location, location, location

The traditional marketing mix has always emphasized location. After all, you’re not going to make any sales if access to your storefront is limited by a poor, inconvenient or incongruent location in terms of your brand and target consumers. And while your physical storefront remains an important concern today, it’s far from the only concern. Why? Because not only are today’s customers more mobile in terms of where they shop, but they also have access to endless e-commerce options. Shopping is no longer about geography. In fact, today’s consumers can get nearly everything they need without stepping foot inside a brick-and-mortar location. In order to keep up with the evolving retail mix, your e-commerce site is as important as your physical storefront when attracting paying customers.

Forrester Research’s report, U.S. Cross-Channel Retail Forecast, 2012-2017, predicts that by the year 2017, 60 percent of the country’s total retail sales will involve the web, and a full 10.3 percent will be online purchases. Unless you’re willing to forgo your 10 percent, creating an inviting, accessible, compelling and brand-centric new “location” — ie. your online storefront — is a must-do.

While finding the correct retail marketing mix takes some time and effort, it can serve as the difference between standing out from your competition and blending in with the rest. Keeping these three things in mind can help you maximize your retail marketing mix efforts in order to enjoy optimal results across your business, brand, and bottom line.

Are you a retailer in search of ways to set your brand apart in a bustling industry? Contact our team of strategists to schedule time to “talk shop” with us today!

Assessing Ello and Emerging Social Media Sites For the New Year

Recently, tech blogs and trendsetters alike have been talking about Ello, a new social media site designed to serve as an alternative to Facebook. In many ways, it seems preposterous that a company would try to challenge – or even potentially replace – Facebook, which is by far one of the largest technology companies in the world. What you might find fascinating, however, is that Facebook’s key target demographics tell a bit of a different story – one that leaves us pondering whether or not the site may eventually be headed in the same direction as Friendster, or a quite possibly, a “pre-Justin Timberlake” MySpace.

When I joined Facebook, which by now was approximately eight years ago, it was the quintessential online social media destination for users in their 20’s and early 30’s to communicate with one another. Rarely would you find a parent with a Facebook account of their own, and, in terms of other social networking options, there were a few, but none were so communal. Facebook served as a landing place for all my friends – including those from many different social circles – no matter how I knew them. Times have most certainly changed with emerging social media, and with the rise of Ello, who knows? We might just end up seeing an exciting new shift in the way people access this type of online networking.

Most bonafide marketers understand that today’s “young people” aren’t as present on Facebook, and given the host of other options, they’re more likely to spend a bulk of their time visiting Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat. It doesn’t take a seasoned marketing professional to know that it takes a lot of bandwidth to be everywhere at once. This is one of the key reasons why these days, my peers are generally only active on social networks in which they associate meaning to their daily lives – and, they remain active on forums where people with similar interests tend to gravitate.

Personally, I follow a lot of comedians and comedic actors and actresses on Twitter, which is the perfect venue for crafting short, funny “witticisms.” On the flip side, Facebook is relegated to keeping in contact with a wide circle of friends, while LinkedIn assists me in maintaining professional connections, and growing my network. I access Instagram and Pinterest daily, but other accounts such as YouTube, Foursquare, Google+ and Vine tend to go virtually untouched and oftentimes, unmaintained.

As a digital strategist, my Orlando advertising agency’s social media team and I truly don’t envision that Ello will succeed in becoming the new “Facebook alternative.” As recourse however, I am placing a pretty firm bet on that notion that it may eventually attract communities of its own – communities made up of Facebook users who may feel as though Facebook is not the best social media site to serve their varying needs. This might be as a result of its use of data manipulation, or perhaps, the addition of an advertising component, or simply, that users may find their personal news feeds to be disinteresting. Whatever the reasons – and there are many – we’re seeing something much larger at play here.

[quote]In creating and maintaining a social network, it’s important to know where your audience spends a majority of its time.[/quote] If you look closely enough, you will see that users practically canvas the web – they’re accessing sites of all types. There are entire social networking sites that are geared specifically to peoples’ interests and ideologies. Often times, it may simply consist of a message board of people who are interested in topics deemed otherwise obscure, such as “hula hooping culture” or “18th century songwriting.” Topics that might not resonate with most of us, but as the moniker goes, “if you build it, they will come.”

In a similar vain, crafting and maintaining these social networks has a great deal to do with formulating a community, and marketers can utilize this lesson in helping to propagate such communities around their products. Specific audiences may be on Facebook because there’s nothing better, but I’m certain that if you attempt to present them with a dedicated forum – one that speaks directly to their area of interest – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to watch as the population of that social networking community flourishes. As a result, members have the opportunity to create connections both online and off. One such example is Fitocracy, an online forum for self-proclaimed “fitness geeks.”

I’m a firm believer that Facebook is here to stay, although with many of the above concepts in mind, the site’s following may have the potential to shrink. This is particularly true as its users find more specialized social networks where they can connect with like-minded people (and not necessarily individuals that they know personally in the real “offline” world). By keeping in mind that a successful social media strategy isn’t limited to the most popular social networks, brands can essentially begin to seek audiences in these not-so-mainstream avenues – which, in turn, might allow them to develop more authentic connections to their own customers.

Looking for digital expertise on how to best navigate the social media landscape? Contact us today to form a partnership to chart your course!

Know The Top Tips for Financial Institution Marketing

With so many tools, webinars and publications available for marketers within the financial services industry, it’s often difficult to sift through the clutter to figure out the most “essential” strategies for bank marketing success. However, some strategies do stand above others, and these tried-and-tested outreach methodologies can create sizable success within your financial institution. That’s why BIGEYE’s Florida marketing agency is offering a few highly effective tips to help increase your bank or other financial service’s ROI.

Develop a Strategy Prioritization Matrix

The first step to success in the financial realm is prioritization. A Strategy Prioritization Matrix can help you to determine the most strategic projects to help your business get the most “bang for its buck.” Create the matrix by listing the impact on the X axis (high or low) and the ease of implementation on the Y axis (hard or easy). Then, within the matrix, classify potential projects in one of four buckets: Quick Wins (High Impact, Low Effort), Must Haves (High Impact, High Effort), Low-Hanging Fruit (Low Impact, Low Effort) and Money Pits (Low Impact, High Effort). Your matrix might look something like this:

Strategy Prioritization Matrix

This will help clarify those areas requiring the greatest focus. For most banks and credit unions, the Quick Wins will be of highest priority, as the ROI impact is highest, and the strategy is easy to implement.

Implement a “New Mover” Customer Acquisition Strategy

Prospective clients that may be relocating to your area will likely be in search of a local bank. Depending on a potential customer’s degree of wealth, he or she may also need other financial planning services such as estate planning or wealth management. Creating a strategy to deliver your message into prospect’s inbox will assist in the growth of your audience. Of course a direct mail customer outreach campaign is only portion of the process. It’s important to have a strategy in place to ensure that yours is the first financial services company to reach these potential clients, including the development of efficient on-boarding processes. For many financial service providers, these outreach efforts can prove to be “Quick Win,” as outlined in the matrix above.

Invest in Digital Retargeting

According to Wagner dos Santos, BIGEYE’s senior director of marketing and strategic planning, retargeting is often the most effective and efficient acquisition strategy on a cost-per-account basis. It’s also a good way to capitalize on a person’s interest, as retargeting is only triggered after a person visits your site or clicks on your content.

In many ways, digital retargeting can successfully work in tandem with direct mail efforts, as one banking business achieved a lift of 40% after pairing digital retargeting efforts with a direct mail campaign.

Collect Insights for Iterative Improvement

[quote]Email marketing is still one of the leading ways to reach people, even in spite of significant levels of email glut.[/quote]

When your business can tailor communications to send the right message to the right individuals through segmentation, it significantly improves the chances that the prospect will convert (as compared to a general email blast). Be sure that in all financial services relationships, you’re not only collecting email addresses, but also analyzing customer profiles so that you can provide information that is relevant to their individual banking and financial needs. Through surveys and new account processing, you can grab significant information about your customers that you can then use for future marketing and outreach efforts. And, through iteration, you can continue evolving your campaigns and strategies for optimal growth.

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Need more ideas for effective ways to reach potential audiences with your bank or financial services marketing? Contact us at our Orlando ad agency, and we can help you tailor your customer acquisition strategies to help generate the most ROI for your business.

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How You Can Better Understand the Customer Journey

I’m always baffled when I learn about marketers who don’t have a full understanding of their customers’ behaviors. To me, the customer’s journey is the first place marketers should turn when trying to analyze ways they can improve their business. From a theoretical perspective, understanding the journey helps the marketer understand the business itself. Oftentimes, marketers who instinctively look to the customer journey don’t have a specific name for it; at our Florida marketing agency, we think clarifying why customer’s take a certain journey is a huge step in growing a business.

Analyzing a customer journey offers an opportunity for marketers to learn about how awareness leads to a purchase or other action. Assessing the customer journey helps determine whether, for example, the client should spend more money on awareness efforts or should stick to optimizing a website.

[quote]The customer journey first involves looking at where people get most of their information about a company’s products or services.[/quote]Years ago, marketers could create conversions after connecting with a customer approximately seven times, typically though print or television advertising. However, because of the rise of social media, these various touches don’t always create as much impact, and now marketers suggest that it requires between 20-30 touch points to gain a new customer.

In the digital space, social media steers these touch points, driving the first step in the customer journey: awareness. Be it paid or owned social media, this is often the first line of contact. However, it can also come from paid or organic search. Understanding where customers are finding out about your product or service helps target your advertising efforts to where you’re more likely to drive traffic to your website.

Next comes consideration. This is where it becomes important for a marketer to convince a person that a product or service is right for them. This requires having a strong understanding of your target demographic, complete with user personas. Having a firm understanding of your target customer can help guide all brand decisions, and the results of these decisions should be able to push people into the next phase of the customer journey: intent.

While good UX should always be a strong consideration when building a website or virtual shopping cart, it’s most important in the intent phase. Think of Amazon.com’s shopping cart feature. Sometimes, people who drop off at this point may have intent to purchase, but forget or drop off for some other reason. This is where strategies such as ad retargeting can be helpful, reminding the user of their intent to purchase.

Citing Amazon again, think of “1-Click” ordering. A person can choose to purchase in a single click, making the user experience as flawless as possible… and giving people fewer chances to change their minds between the intent phase and the next phase: the purchase.

Finally, the customer will make a purchase, resulting in a sale for the business. However, this is not necessarily the end of the customer journey; some marketers link this back to advocacy, such as when a person writes a glowing product review or shares it with friends.

Understanding your customer’s journey can help marketers find ways to simplify the process by cutting out friction in the purchasing or conversion phases. For more information on ways to simplify the customer journey, contact our Florida marketing agency for a consultation.

Multi-screen generations & how to properly market to them

In a world where children aren’t being taught cursive (because, frankly, who needs it when you have a tablet?), it’s getting harder and harder for marketers to stay in touch with the younger generation.  Back in our day, we didn’t have to worry about chargers and crashing devices – in fact, we could just tell our teachers that the dog ate our homework.

The digital age marks a time where children are growing up with Facebook and using electronic devices to learn through interactive games.  Remember the years that parents spent questioning whether it was appropriate to sit our children down in front of the television for hours on end?  Looking toward the future, we’ll have the same questions about the tablet, in addition to things we never had to worry about such as cyberbullying, internet predators and other as of yet unknown cyber threats.

But, there are also a lot of positives – children who are learning how to use devices at a young age are also testing higher in certain academic subjects, at least in part due to the fact that their parents are treating their devices as tools in the education process.

So, how can this information help a marketer who is trying to reach a multi-screen generation?

First of all, it is important to remember that things are much different than they were back then.  As much as we were dazzled by cereal commercials and Smoky the Bear, children are living in a different world than we did.  Technology has changed everything; even the idea of a smartphone would have been a fantasy when I was ten years old.

A marketer who is trying to reach a multi-screen generation can work to do so by creating interactive games that create an engaging experience for a child.  Obviously, there are privacy restrictions, particularly when it comes to collecting information about children and advertising to them.  But games are typically a safety net – a company-sponsored game using augmented reality or other features helps reach a child with its high levels of stimulation.  You can also reach them by having a fun and interactive website.

[quote]Though I mostly focus on the use of technology in the digital space, hand-to-hand marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach children.  [/quote]At our Orlando marketing agency, we often advise clients to market at events catered to children and teens, and to tie it in with a digital strategy.  If children have smartphones, there may be ways for a child to directly engage with your brand through the use of social media.  Perhaps they can unlock rewards with their Facebook check-ins, or by offering testimonials as to your product that you can post on YouTube and other media outlets.  Because our adolescents and teens have grown up in a digital world, they are practically socialized to do these things, which is why they are of special interest to marketers.

If you do engage in good old-fashioned television advertising, it may be beneficial to integrate your campaign with an interactive digital component.  Nokia’s recent Work for Will campaign, featuring  Up All Night’s Will Arnett (also of Arrested Development fame), invited people to log online to create a digital product, in order to be given the chance be Will Arnett’s personal assistant for a day.

Marketing to a multi-screen generation means thinking like someone with multitude of screens.  If your advertising and marketing campaign doesn’t reach your younger audience on all screens, then allow our Florida advertising agency to design one for you that will!