Customer Journey: what it is and how to leverage it5 September 2023
Marketing has evolved significantly in recent years, thanks to new digital tools and the ever-changing landscape of both the market and consumers. One of the areas most affected by this evolution is the so-called “Customer Journey,” a topic as complex as it is crucial, and we will provide some basic insights into it.
Let’s begin by defining it more precisely. The term Customer Journey refers to the path that characterizes the interaction between the consumer and the brand, starting from the need for a product/service and leading to the purchase.
Understanding the Customer Journey is immensely valuable for brands. It enables a deep understanding of both potential and existing customers, allowing for tailored communications based on the behaviors and preferences of buyers in B2C, B2B, and e-commerce settings. Consequently, it contributes to converting more contacts into customers and overall customer satisfaction, becoming a key element in the loyalty strategy.
Like customers and the market, the Customer Journey is continuously evolving. Compared to the past, it is no longer linear but rather multifaceted. This is because consumers are no longer passive in the market; they have increased their awareness and have a variety of tools (e.g. smartphones, PCs, tablets) and channels at their disposal to make purchase decisions. Think about someone who buys in a physical store after making their choice online (or vice versa), someone who exclusively researches and shops online, someone who makes online purchases but picks up the product in-store, or someone influenced by reviews and comments in online communities, and so on.
The touchpoints between the customer and the company are now more numerous: they can be offline (such as physical stores, print, TV) and online (like websites, social networks, live chats, corporate blogs); direct (such as advertising campaigns) or indirect (like word-of-mouth).
Now that we understand what the Customer Journey is, we cannot omit mentioning the Customer Journey Map, which is the mapping of the stages of the Consumer’s Journey in relation to a brand and its products. This analysis is unique for each company and is not static; it must be regularly reviewed to ensure that it remains relevant and up-to-date. This tool is fundamental in every corporate marketing strategy and serves to:
- analyze touchpoints, identify weaknesses, and determine where to intervene to enhance the customer experience and, consequently, convert more users into customers;
- gain a better understanding of consumers and improve relationships with customers;
- understand the journey of your products/services, thereby understanding what makes them desirable and what needs improvement;
Analytics of your website, social engagement metrics, customer feedback, and various marketing automation tools can support the mapping process. However, this should be structured in stages:
- Define your business objectives, i.e., decide what you want to achieve. For example, creating new opportunities, improving post-sales service, enhancing the customer experience;
- Create your buyer personas, which are generalized descriptions of your typical customers: their characteristics, motivations, preferred channels, and the content that engages them the most. Each buyer persona will have its own Customer Journey;
- Touchpoints: list the direct and indirect touchpoints that customers have to interact with the brand, including the missing ones, in order to activate targeted strategies.
- Collect and analyze the collected data: this is a collaborative effort.
- Optimize the journey. The ultimate goal is to maximize the customer experience to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. However, keep in mind that optimization must be an ongoing process, and success may not come immediately.
Oscar Giacomin / General Manager, Facto Edizioni
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