The purchase funnel has gone – replaced by so-called ‘surround sound purchase opportunities’ (there’s a buzz-phrase that probably won’t stick) where the power lies entirely with the consumer. They decide how, when, and where they discover, learn about and purchase products and services.
To cope with this, marketers need to design unique customer journeys for individuals… But how do you do that? The answer is flexible frameworks that can cope with a customer at any stage of their journey and help progress the conversation – all the while staying relevant.
This involves creating and optimising the experience at every touchpoint, regardless of channel, understanding where that customer has been and what they might do next to tailor the contact and keep that customer on your brand journey.
The traditional funnel isn’t flexible enough to deal with the modern consumer path-to-purchase. Instead, flexibility within a one-off touchpoint context is required (right).
STEP 1: WRITE OUT YOUR CUSTOMER STORY
One thing you need before starting this process is personas that fit your customer segments. If you don’t have any – or they’re not particularly robust – invest in this now. Marketers best understand people, not segments. A set of personas that reflect your consumer attitudes and behaviours (which you update regularly) will unlock productivity in your marketing department and align it with creativity.
STEP 2: CHOP YOUR STORY INTO CHUNKS
Read through your story and chop it into manageable chunks, a chunk can span multiple channels and consecutive chunks may be all in the same channel. Each step should have a trigger (beginning) and goal (end).
STEP 3: IDENTIFY TRIGGERS AND GOALS
Now make a note of the trigger or triggers for each step and the resulting goals. It’s also a good idea to use primary research (e.g. web analytics) to mark up your current success rate at each step. Identifying goals and triggers should help you to understand any blockage or breakage in your journey.
STEP 4: ADD AN EMPATHY MAP AT EACH CONTACT
Now we apply a light version of empathy mapping to each step. An empathy map is a great way to get into the mind of your target customer. Forcing yourself to think like she does will expose blockages in your journey but also give you the opportunity to delight at the most tedious or frustrating stages. At a minimum, note what the customer sees, feels and does – not just your next step.
STEP 5: CREATE YOUR CONTENT
Now you have the bones of your story, the beginning (trigger) middle (empathy map) and end (goal), it’s time to design the content that you need to make each step successful. If you feel that 2-3 steps are intrinsically linked, it’s a good idea to design those elements together. Remember that few real-world customer journeys are the same but that many different customers will step through part of your journey on their way to a purchase. With this in mind, think about how you can document and reuse journey elements. We call these “micro-experiences”, you can think of them as part completed jigsaw puzzles.
STEP 6: DEPLOY I
You now have a schematic which you can transfer to your suite of tools and software. Obviously everyone’s is different but in essence you should be lo king for a single CRM platform which aggregates all your channels so you can operate across those channels and communicate with your customers effectively regardless of channel, time or device.
Dan recently presented a webinar on Efficient and effective customer-centric experience design in a cross-channel world. You can view the recording here.
Experian Marketing Services is a leading global provider of consumer insights, targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing. Through The Experian Marketing Suite’s Identity Manager, Intelligence Manager and Interactions.
By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services’ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.