May 10, 2016 Jen Maltby

The All-Important Customer Journey

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You want some totally unsurprising news? Ok, since you asked for it: The way that we talk to and connect with customers is changing. Every day. Nearly every minute. Did you hear that? It just changed again, because a new app or update in Facebook standards or mobile technology just launched.

So we can hardly blame marketers when they say that not only are they overwhelmed by the ever changing digital world but they are working so hard to keep up, sometimes they lose sight of their actual strategy.

ONLY 18% OF CLIENTS AGREE THAT THEIR CUSTOMER JOURNEY IS CAPTURED IN ONLINE AND OFFLINE TOUCH POINTS. ~ 4A’s Webinar

Enter the customer journey.

Customer journey research is not new. If you have worked in brand strategy you have certainly done your share of it, especially if your product or service is managed solely in the digital world. However, I have been consistently surprised by the fact that understanding the customer’s journey is not necessarily standard protocol for all brand managers. Without that essential upfront step, it is near impossible to connect the dots for consumers in both the online and offline worlds.

“The world is now like a continually sounding tribal drum where everybody gets the message all of the time.” ~ Marshall McLuhan

That said, understanding the customer journey is also getting more complicated. When considering the journey of your unique customer base, it’s critical to explore:

  • All the different touch points customer’s have with your brand, and the kinds of information they want from you at those various touch points.
  • The competition and if they can interact with customers in different ways that you don’t offer (do they have an app you don’t have? A more robust mobile platform?).
  • NEW ways that your customer may want to interact with you. Should you be using Snapchat or Periscope to extend the customer conversation? And if so, what strategic need is it filling in the customer journey? Does it replace any other touch points?

No matter where you end up, mapping the journey in an easy to understand and share way is a critical final step. The actual physical mapping of the touch points with customer information needs and the appropriate/differentiating tools to answer those needs is key. Armed with this, you’d be able to successfully deliver a unified brand message regardless of what medium a customer is using to interact with your brand.

Marshall McLuhan told us over 50 years ago that, “The medium is the message.” In my opinion, that’s never been more true than today, at a time when what you say and how you say it is so integrally tied to the medium itself. But, let’s not forget that we can’t just choose mediums for mediums sake (read: because they are the cool new thing out there). We always have to keep the customer and their journey top of mind. If we can marry the medium, the message and the customer in their journey than it doesn’t really matter what new Snapapp or Peripinterest they come up with next, you’ll be ready.

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