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.