How to make the modern customer journey work for you
The customer journey used to be a relatively straightforward one. The destination was clear – a shop on the high street, or a chunky catalogue – and the route was equally as straightforward. Marketers everywhere pictured a funnel. They captured a consumer’s attention in the first instance, and then carefully herded them in the right direction, with clear strategies at every point in the funnel.
Fast forward 20 or 30 years and it couldn’t be more different. There are so many different ways to shop, and so many different paths to purchase; the average UK consumer shifts their attention between their smartphones, tablets and laptops 21 times in one hour. It’s a bit like standing in a huge crowded marketplace in a busy city, shouting ‘GO!’ and expecting to be able to keep track of everybody as they set out on foot, on bikes, in planes, trains and automobiles, to hundreds of destinations at once.
It sounds a bit scary doesn’t it?
It doesn’t have to be.
The key, as with any change, is to embrace it. Get to know it, understand how it works and, more importantly, how you can make it work for you. The days of the classic ‘awareness, interest, desire, action’ path to purchase may be fast becoming obsolete, but for the brands that are prepared to change their traditional way of thinking, the new model offers plenty of opportunities.
The art of discovery
Let’s take the ‘awareness’ stage in the original funnel model.
This still exists, more than ever, but it has shifted, from simply broadcasting key messages about your service or product to enabling consumers to discover you in a way that feels fresh, exciting and personal. The marketplace is a crowded one, for sure, but in a strange way, that makes it easier to stand out.
Take a look at some of your competitors now. Have a look at their Twitter feed or their YouTube channel. Sign up to their mailing list. Chances are that what you see isn’t very inspiring. Yes, there’s a lot of content, but is any of it fun? Does any of it make you feel like you want to find out more about them? Invest just a little bit of time and thought, be just a tiny bit creative, and it’s not difficult to rise to the top.
Don’t be the only one blowing your trumpet
Whereas traditionally, the next stage would be to start narrowing down options, in today’s information saturated society, the quest has only just begun. Once a potential customer becomes aware of your brand, the net widens – they explore alternatives, read reviews, ask friends, and gather their own data, as we try desperately to collect any data we can about them.
Here again is an opportunity – rather than being the sole source of information about your brand, reach out to independent online influencers and make sure that consumers have access to impartial reviews and opinions. Blog write ups, reviews and other editorial coverage is vital, as are the positive relationships you’ve been working so hard to build online. A quick recommendation from an individual over Facebook about a positive interaction they’ve had with you could be what tips the balance.
Let’s go back to that scary stat about how many times we switch between devices in an hour. If you want to capture the attention of this flighty customer, your processes need to be quick, simple, and seamless. Make everything mobile friendly, ensure ordering processes are straightforward – don’t give anyone the excuse to click away.
Because believe me, they will.
 (Source: OMD UK Future of Britain, 2014)
Thinking about how your brand interacts with your audience, individually and across cultures and communities, and the story it tells is paramount in 2016. At DMWF, we’ve dedicated a whole track because of this. In these sessions we explore how you can leverage digital to manage and optimise your CX to drive competitive advantage – see what the world of Customer Experience is saying at #DMWF Amsterdam here
Photo credit: (c)iStock.com/Erik Khalitov