Customer Journey – The Real Process That Matters

customerjourney

Everyone has their funnel sales steps, their sales process, their lead follow up system.  If you have read my book on marketing metrics,  you get an outline for how to measure the marketing process from driving traffic, converting the traffic, nurturing, passing leads to sales and into the sales funnel.

But what all these processes and metrics system miss is the actual view of what the customer is doing as they consider your product. The customer is going through their own journey that may or may not include you.  The customer is deciding which brands they even want to engage with, is evaluating multiple products and is ultimately purchasing only one.When viewed from a customer centric journey perspective,  marketing and the company starts to shift the metrics and processes used to determine how well they are doing with the customer.

This customer centric orientation also means that the journey doesn’t end with purchase, but rather continues on to successful product adoption and ultimately advocacy for your brand.

Let’s take a consumer example.  I want to purchase a smart watch.  Why? I read about them in the press since some marketer is out trying to engage with me with really early stage content. A smart marketer is measuring the amount of this content and early journey material they are mentioned in.

Next, I decide to evaluate.  There are multiple brands of watches. Off the top of my head – Apple, Samsung, Fitbit. I can name three without searching.  I know there are more, I just can’t recall.  I am likely to restrict my evaluation to these three.  I am now also likely to do high level passes through each company’s website to learn the basics about each product to evaluate. A marketer should be measuring this mid-level evaluation traffic to try to measure their effectiveness  getting customers to actually evaluate the product.

Now I am getting serious about purchasing and I have narrowed my choice down to one.  At this point, I start  to spend more time looking at pricing, configuration, how to buy, and maybe even support.  Let’s say I am looking at the Apple Watch, a smart marketer will notice that my conversion from one type of content to lower stage content is high.  The marketer at Samsung should notice I have gone away and am no longer returning.  An analysis of conversions from one stage to the next for Samsung should yield a TO DO list of what to do different.  Customers are considering the brand, but dropping. Why?

Right now today at SmartBear, I have an issue with one of our products. Compared to other products, the conversion to trial rate based on traffic hitting the product section of the website if way lower than other products.   There are a bunch of possible issues here, but the net of it is that customers are relating to our brand, researching the product, but not committing to evaluate it in the customer journey.

Don’t have a defined customer journey?  Probably time to get one. Viewing the world through the customer’s journey changes much of what is required in marketing and sales.

Below are some links on customer journey from HBR that I recommend:

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