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Customer journey: what it is and how to define it in your strategy

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Customer journey: what it is and how to define it in your strategy

Have you ever thought that all the purchases we make involve a purchase process prior to the time of the transaction?We call this process the customer journey and it encompasses all the phases a person goes through from the moment they identify that they have a need until they acquire a product or service to solve it.This process can be as short as a few minutes in the case of low-cost products that we buy on impulse (food in a supermarket, for example) as long as it lasts for months or more than a year (for example, when buying a car or hiring a denmark code number telephone management software with a cost of thousands of euros).In this article I will define what the customer journey is, what phases it has and how we can define it in our marketing strategy .list_altIndex of contents
Customer journey: definition and what it is for
Phases of the customer journey
Dimensions of the phases of the customer journey
How to gather the information to map the customer journey
Define the customer journey to achieve better results
Customer journey: definition and what it is for
As I just told you, the customer journey is the same as the purchase process that we have talked about other times on the InboundCycle blog and page. You will find more information about the buying process and its phases in this content or in our free guide The sales cycle vs. the buying cycle .

 

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Therefore, we can define the customer journey as the process that a person goes through to buy a product or service based on a need that arises, and all the research and consideration of alternatives that exist in between .In the past it was understood that the buying cycle or process completely coincided with the sales cycle, but currentlythe Betting Email List investigates and is informed before starting any commercial process . In fact, it is said that 70% of the customer journey has already been completed even before the consumer contacts any salesperson.Do you like what you are reading? Subscribe
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Likewise, defining and mapping this consumer journey allows us to understand the entire purchase process, what are the needs at all times of the buyer persona, how they investigate and what type of information they need in each phase to move forward .All this, in an inbound marketing strategy, helps us to understand the themes of the content that we are going to create, also what content formats we have to create and in which channels we have to distribute it.Therefore, we need to have our buyer personas very well defined before we can build the customer journey . As you may have read, the buyer persona is the ideal client profile on which we base ourselves to create an inbound marketing strategy, since all content and actions revolve around them. If you want more information about the buyer persona, don’t miss this post . I also recommend our customizable template to create buyer personas .In addition, the definition of the customer journey can also help us to better understand our buyer personas and get more out of thm. How?One of the central elements of the buyer persona are pain points, which can be:

Frustrations
Inefficiencies
Needs
Problems
Motivations
Missed opportunities
Excessive costs
It may be that a buyer person has a certain pain point, that several buyer people have it or that everyone in the company has them.Do you want to know more about the buying process and the sales process? Download our ebook!What pushes the buyer persona to start an investigation to obtain information are these pain points. For example, imagine that a young person is concerned about their own image and wants to improve in this regard. You can start an investigation and discover that a possible solution to your pain is to have eye surgery so that you can permanently remove your glasses.Research goes as far as showing you which vendors can help you solve the pain point, and then you decide on a solution and make the final purchase. I’ll tell you more about this later!Horizontal CTA – Online course inbound marketing
Phases of the customer journey
One of the most confusing issues is what is the first phase of the buying cycle.Well, we can say that phase 0 of the customer journey is the awareness phase .In this phase, the consumer realizes that they have latent pain , but they do not know if they should do something about it, what is causing it, how to solve it or how to define it. It may also be that the consumer does not even realize that they have this pain point!The buyer persona who is in this phase is not yet looking for solutions or doing any research, until a moment comes when they start looking for solutions. It may be because the pain has increased, out of curiosity, etc. It is important to mention that we are referring to pain points as “pain” but obviously it does not have to be a physical pain, but a need, a problem or a motivation to satisfy. Remember it!The phases detailed below can correspond to marketing or sales activities, and there is also a part of the customer journey that goes beyond the transaction, such as the implementation of the chosen solution. But this is not the focus of this article, so we will not cover it in this post.

customer journey phases

Marketing phases
Right after the awareness phase come the phases of the customer journey that our marketing actions can influence. They are the discovering and learning phases . Get to know them!

In the first place, in the discovering phase, the consumer is already aware that he or she has a need and seeks information on the subject .

In this research the problem is defined, the causes are understood and how other people have dealt with it, and good practices are learned. It is, therefore, a great opportunity for the marketing department to present educational content that meets this need and creates an urgency to solve it .

And, secondly, we find the learning phase in which the consumer learns what solutions exist to their pain point . The different options that exist are taken into account and a list of them begins to be created. From marketing we can influence this phase with MOFU content , focused on establishing purchasing criteria and identifying business and technical needs.

Sales phases
Immediately after the learning phase, the choosing phase takes place , which requires the active involvement of the sales team. The consumer narrows his list of options and possible solutions to the pain point to a small group and begins to test products and evaluate suppliers , and finally makes a final decision . The company has to demonstrate that it is the best provider thanks to the content, which will validate its experience in the field and demonstrate that the investment will be profitable.

And, finally, we have the purchasing phase , in which the consumer prepares to own and maintain the solution. That’s all!

From here, the later phases already correspond to the departments of customer service, operations, accounts, etc., and are based on maintaining customer satisfaction and implementing the chosen solution successfully . This is why in this post we will not focus on these phases or develop them.

Customer journey: what it is and how to define it in your strategy
Dimensions of the phases of the customer journey
Once we have the phases defined, we must obtain information on each of the phases from our buyers . To do this, we need to capture 4 key dimensions in each of the phases , which will allow us to understand our buyer personas and how they advance in the customer journey.

Understanding these dimensions gives us information on how to inform and influence consumers and craft messages for the right person at the right time. These dimensions are:

Level of participation : refers to the role played by the buyer persona within the decision circle , either within the company in B2B or with friends, family, partner, etc., in the case of B2C. This level of participation can be:
Drivers: direct the process in the current phase.
Participants: take part in activities in the current phase.
Gate-keepers: They do not participate in the current phase, but their approval is required to pass the phase, so we have to consider their needs.
Not involved: they do not participate in the decision,
Needs : what the consumer needs to advance to the next phase of the customer journey. It can be information, budget approvals, alignment with your team, etc.
Activities : this is what the buyer persona does in the current phase of the customer journey to move forward. They can be internal meetings, gathering information, meeting with other team members, etc.
Content preferences : what type of content the buyer person wants to receive in each phase, including the level of depth of the content, the format, etc.
As we saw before, the information of the customer journey perfectly complements the buyer personas . The description of the buyer person tells us who we are addressing, what are their attributes, their psychology, their profile, etc. On the other hand, the customer journey tells us which path this buyer persona follows , what phases he goes through before buying a product or hiring a service, what he needs at all times, etc.

Click here to download the guide “How to launch an Inbound Marketing campaign”If you look closely, both are necessary elements in a marketing strategy. If we only have the buyer persona, we lack a lot of information to adapt our message, our communications, etc., and know how to adapt the content to each case. Obviously, the opposite is not possible either: mapping the customer journey without understanding buyer personas will prevent us from knowing what the profiles that go through those phases are like. Get the idea!

How to gather the information to map the customer journey
Now that we have explained what the customer journey is and what information we need to know about each phase to map it correctly (the dimensions we have just described), we only need to know how to get all this information.

An option that we have already discussed on other occasions to collect this information is to have internal meetings with other people in the organization who have direct contact with our buyer persona :

Commercial team
Customer service department
Account or customer service department
Obviously, each team will have more knowledge of the phases in which they intervene, for example, the commercial team will be experts in the selection and acquisition phases.

On the other hand, a great option is to interview our existing clients . We have to remember that the buyer persona is always going to be our ideal client, which does not have to be all the clients we currently have. In case of not being aligned, we should try to interview the clients that do coincide with our buyer persona to know the customer journey with precision. With a couple of interviews by buyer person we will have enough to be able to collect this information. Test it!

However, at this time we will already have our buyer persona defined, the customer journey mapped with its phases and the dimensions of each phase, and we will have the information in each of the latter. We will only have to integrate everything and build the customer journey map with all the information and start using this powerful tool to create a better content strategy for our company.

Define the customer journey to achieve better results
By putting into practice everything that I tell you in this post, you will be able to create and deliver quality and well-segmented content based on the customer journey map that we will have generated.

In fact, creating content relevant to the buyer’s needs allows you to establish trust and stand out from our competitors. And who doesn’t want it?

In addition, knowing the customer journey also allows us to know how to impact the decision-making of our buyers thanks to this valuable content.

We will also know the thoughts, needs and actions of buyers and we can anticipate to help them in their customer journey to, finally, show them that we are the best solution for their pain points.

Are you ready to identify your customer journey and plan your strategy based on the results obtained? If you still have questions or you want to tell me about your experience, I’m still with you in the comments area!

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