In the past, when consumers made the decision to purchase any new product or service, they would generally follow a certain path or thought process that would allow them to complete their purchase.
But in recent years, consumers have been changing the way they make purchases, breaking away from the traditional customer buyer’s journey, allowing today’s marketing professionals to reinvent the wheel in order to find new ways in which to attract customers and prospects.
Here’s why the traditional buying process has changed and what consumers are now bankrolling on to make informed purchases.
The Traditional Customer Journey Map
The traditional customer journey of yesteryear followed a certain track: awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase and loyalty. Consumers made decisions based on researching potential brands and then narrowed down their options until they found the one that best matched their needs.
But those days are gone, as the way customers learn, interact and buy online has dramatically changed over the last 10 years, primarily due to the proliferation of social media and smartphones. Where this process used to be much less formal, it’s now more personal — and informal — because you can essentially now have a two-way conversation on social media with a major brand, follow them and see all of their posts.
Talk about creating mass customer engagement. To that end, brands are now tweeting, posting Instagram stories and becoming part of the spaces consumers occupy on a large scale to meet where they’re at.
The New Customer Journey Map
The goal of today’s buyer’s journey is for marketers to understand how and when to reach customers when they’re considering a purchase; in other words, at a time when their decision is most easily influenced. By observing this journey and determining where to direct resources and spending, marketers can reach consumers at the moment of maximum influence. That means you’re more likely to land the sale — and the customer’s loyalty — if the right methods are implemented at the right time.
But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, the traditional customer journey map of yesteryear is dead, as consumers have changed the way they make purchasing decisions. Rather than starting with intent to purchase, consumers now come into contact with brands much earlier through ads, conversations with family and friends, news reports and product experiences.
These days, customers don’t need to be in the “purchasing” stage of the buyer’s journey in order to be invested in a certain product or service. Instead, brands have smartened up and figured out a way to trigger the impulse to buy. Case in point: Marketers have begun taking into account the power of smartphones and social media. Both these advancements in the digital marketing age have helped change the way businesses interact with potential customers.
The new decision-making journey is more of a loop than a set of stages, according to McKinsey & Co., and includes the following:
Consumer considers an initial set of brands, based on brand perceptions and exposure to recent touch points.
Consumer adds or eliminates options as they evaluate what they want.
Consumer chooses a brand at the moment of purchase.
After the purchase, the consumer builds expectations based on past experiences to inform their next decision.
While this new decision-making journey may work for many of your customers, you have to remember there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to any of this. Treating your customers like equals will only work against you. Instead, think about coming up with more than one customer decision-making journey to suit the needs of all your customer; after all, we don’t all shop the same, learn the same or make decisions the same way.
Different customers have different journeys, so you’ll likely be making a customer journey map for every buyer persona. Each journey will provoke different emotions and have different effects on each of your customers, so keep that in mind when crafting yours.
The Mobile Landscape
These days, consumers are always glued to their smartphones, albeit to check email, watch videos, pay bills and connect with friends via social media, among other things. More and more, companies are learning the importance of factoring these new advancements into their customer journey maps.
According to Forbes, only 35 percent of organizations investing in digital transformation have studied the modern customer journey, a significant decline from prior years. This means marketing professionals are realizing how outdated the old model has become.
The landscape is changing, and companies are starting to see the value in incorporating these new advancements in technology to create a new and improved customer journey map. The idea is to capture what the modern consumer values, as well as how and why they do the following:
Learn new things
Like to be engaged online
Become and remain loyal customers
Social Media Explosion
Today, the average person spends 1.72 hours per day on social media sites, according to AdWeek. That’s why it’s worth studying consumer behavior online, because consumers aren’t just forwarding memes and watching videos on social media.
Companies that have discovered this are influencing these consumers every day by exploring new ways to delight and engage them in unique and innovative ways via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr.
Managing all these communication channels can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be with the help of a cloud call center.
What’s a Cloud Call Center?
A cloud call center is an online platform that allows you to handle customer calls and exchanges. Additionally, it can help make two-way conversation between your business and prospects easier and more successful. Controlling all interactions with prospects via text, email, phone, chat, and social media is now streamlined into a single software program.
Moreover, the traditional marketing funnel took prospects from initial product awareness to point of purchase. However, since people these days generally spend more time online, they’re making purchasing decisions earlier in the customer journey, sometimes without even being aware they’re going to make a purchase.
Consumers are also able to interact directly with companies online now, which has a huge impact on how they view that brand, which leads to increased customer loyalty and higher potential for a sale, among other things.
Target Your Prospects Accordingly
The traditional customer journey map no longer works — and big brands know it. That’s why many brands rely on social media in their marketing campaigns and are ready to make further adjustments based on their prospects’ online behavior.
So take the time to think about and observe what your potential customers are doing online and tailor your approach accordingly. With a deeper understanding of how and why they do the things they do, you can target your prospects at the right time with the right content and keep everything organized with the help of a cloud call center.