Three Steps to Make the Consumer Journey Work for You

This is the second blog post within our consumer journey series.  For an introduction to this concept, see our first post “A Better Way to Track the New Consumer Journey.”   

It’s really easy to talk the benefits of changing your purchase path model to the Consumer Decision Journey, but it may be more challenging to actually implement these changes. In this post, we’ll cover three steps that you can take to make the Consumer Decision Journey work for you.  

1. Gather Customer Insights

Before you can focus on the journey, it’s important to understand your ideal consumers. Leverage both quantitative and qualitative research (focus groups, one-on-one discussions with customers) to truly understand customers’ motivations and perspectives and define your buyer personas. Who is your ideal customer? What’s their current situation? What motivates them?  What steps do they take to purchase your product? The answers to these questions will be invaluable in mapping your consumer journey, allocating media spend and determining marketing messaging.  

2. Identify and Map Out Consumer Touch Points

Next, list out all the ways that consumers can engage with your brand. However, this is no longer a simple task. Thanks to the explosion of new tech platforms, consumers have a wide variety of options, both online and offline. Potential touch points will vary by industry, product and service, so make sure to identify the touch points that are specific to your brand.

Once you have created a list of consumer touch points, think about where each point fits in your target audience’s journey.  Leverage your consumer research as well as consumer signals from internal sources (web visits, in-store purchases, in-app events, etc.) and external sources (3rd party data) to help you successfully map out these touch points.

Examples of different signals across the consumer journey:

consumer signals

3. Align your media strategy with the most effective consumer touch points

Unless your marketing budget is infinite, you probably can’t reach your ideal customers at every possible consumer touch point. Instead, use the data and insights from your consumer journey research to narrow down the touch point list to those points that are most likely to help you reach your marketing goals.  

When planning your campaign, make sure that the volume of ideal customers engaging with your brand at each touch point justifies the spend.  While this is a simple concept, it’s easy to forget, but remember that the latest and greatest in technology is only as good as the audience that sees it. CTV and Mobile touch points only work if your target audience is a fan of smartphones and tablets.

Furthermore, the timing of your marketing message should align with the consumer journey: the right message delivered to the right consumer won’t work if the timing is off.  For example, if you’re planning a DR campaign, don’t send your message to a customer who isn’t aware of your brand. Or, if you’re planning a branding campaign, don’t send an introductory branding message to a consumer who’s already purchased your brand. This is where having an accurate consumer journey map is invaluable.  

Weaving the new consumer journey framework into your marketing planning process is not an easy task.  However, by following a few simple steps you can ensure that you get the most bang for your marketing buck.

Stay tuned for the next part of our Consumer Journey blog series, where we kick off our in-depth analysis of the mobile signal groups that marketers need to be aware of to understand their consumer’s journey.