Are You Using the Wrong Map? 

Conceptualizing the customer journey

Mapping out the customer journey is a basic building block for marketing strategies. But what happens if your company is using the wrong map to navigate the marketplace? Although it’s easy to visualize the customer journey as a simple and linear progression from learning about your product or service to finalizing a transaction, the reality can be rather more complicated.

Writing in Forbes, Kimberly A. Whitler reports on research suggests that the decision-making process for potential customers isn’t quite as straightforward as assumed:

Rather than being a linear process, it is a concurrent process of searching for information, validating, and aligning key stakeholders across time. … Rather than being linear, which suggests a rational, pre-ordained set of knowable steps, the reality is that most buyers are not clear about how to get from problem to solution. The customer’s journey is more of a maze than linear path.

No One-Way Journeys

Writing in “Three Principles for Navigating and Mapping the ‘Connected’ Customer Journey,” Shama Hyder emphasizes the need to move beyond linear models of the customer experience:

With the traditional model, it’s easy to think in silos and see the customer journey as a linear, one-directional experience. Unfortunately, that mindset and approach is out of sync with today’s customer. The connected consumer has many options, and the research, interaction, and evaluation of a brand can span multiple devices and both physical and digital reference points.

Marketing strategies have to take all touchpoints of the customer journey into account — from a potential customer exploring initial options, through their gathering evidence and validating solutions, and finally to creating consensus among all the stakeholders in a household or organization. In a B2B environment, especially, there might not be one, single decision-maker to convince about your product or service. There can be multiple stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. 

So, ultimately, the best marketing is about identifying the right decision-makers and communicating your message at the right times during the customer journey. Using the wrong map means aiming at the wrong targets.  

Marketing Insights

No matter how convoluted the customer journey may be, the experts at LMS can help businesses identify and target your right audiences in the right way. Contact us by phone at 800.257.5902 or via email at [email protected] to learn about our comprehensive, personalized marketing services.

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