If the universal maxim of personal growth is “know yourself”, the one of marketing should be “know your customers”. The buyer journey or consumer journey is the path that the user takes since a need arises, he knows us and finally decides that we are his best solution. It is also known as a customer journey.
During this trip, it is important to know what the consumer is like, what motivates him, his emotions and other relevant aspects, which may be reflected in the buyer persona.
We will better understand the phases of the buyer journey. Are you accompanying me on this trip? Let’s go there!
What exactly is the buyer journey?
Customer journey is a tool based on storytelling and design thinking that allows us to reflect in the form of a map the journey of our users, from when they hear about a product or service for the first time until they become customers for life. Throughout this journey, we will be able to see the different points of contact between customer and brand and their importance for the result of this relationship.
Although a good consumer journey is supported by objective data (for example, traffic metrics and customer journeys on our website), the important thing is that it reflects an experiential truth. This tells the story of a specific person and reflects their doubts, their emotions and their impressions along the way, which can sometimes be a real “roller coaster” on a personal level.
Phases of the buyer journey:
- Knowledge. The user has a need and wants to find a solution.
- Research. The consumer begins to analyze the different options on the market.
- Decision. After having evaluated all the options and having reduced the possibilities to two or three, the user makes the final purchase decision.
On this basis, we can design different complementary customer maps based on different criteria:
- Global sales trip. It reflects the entire path of a customer, from the first contact until they permanently stop purchasing our products.
- User journey in specific processes. Here we “zoom” in a specific experience to analyze it in more detail, for example, the purchase in our online store through a mobile device.
- Customer journey based on the buyer persona. If we have different customer profiles with different needs, it is necessary to analyze them separately.
- Consumer journey according to the product, service or general category. Here we can see the differences between different options in our catalog and how they affect the overall shopping experience.
Why does your company need to keep the buyer journey in mind?
- Because it allows you to align the external and internal vision. Sometimes it seems that customers are from Mars and marketers are from Venus. Since we see things “from the inside”, sometimes our perceptions are very different and what seems obvious to us is not so obvious. Thanks to the customer journey, you will not only be able to put yourself in the shoes of your customers, but also create a joint vision for your entire marketing team.
- Because it helps to detect dangers and opportunities. By graphically viewing the entire sales journey, we can clearly identify which points in the journey are the most trouble and drop-outs. Likewise, we will also have it easier to recognize possible areas of knowledge that we had not taken advantage of until now.
- P ecause clarifies key contact points. In the midst of all the interactions of a customer along the way, there are a handful of “moments of truth” in which we play the conversion to sales. Having them very clear will help us design better strategies.
- Because it makes marketing personalization much easier. With the buyer journey, we clearly see the different moments in which a user can be found. Each of these moments is associated with different needs and therefore, responds better to some marketing content or others. In this way, we will be able to systematize which impacts are most appropriate in each case and implement an automation strategy that does part of the work for us.
- Because it allows to increase the conversion to sales. By optimizing the consumer journey, we will reduce friction and abandonment and ensure that more users reach the final conversion and even long-term loyalty.
How to design your ideal customer journey
Just as you can design your ideal buyer persona, you can do the same with the customer journey.
When it comes to recreating the ideal customer journey for your clients, the saying that “every teacher has his booklet” is true. There are no magic or unique formulas, but you have to find the best solution for each case according to the particularities and needs of the company and the user. That said, we can see a series of clues that will help us orient ourselves.
The first thing is to identify the four essential elements of a buyer journey:
- The protagonists of the story that we are going to tell, that is, the brand’s potential customers. If we have not done it before, it is convenient to stop and develop a buyer persona to help us clarify who they are and what they need from our brand.
- The timeline: to order the different moments that the consumer goes through in a logical way.
- User experiences: As we have already clarified previously, the user’s journey is above all an emotional journey. The consumer is at the center and we must adopt their point of view to imagine what they think and feel at all times.
- The contact points (touchpoints): that is, the different interactions over time between the consumer and the brand, on which we can act to influence their decisions and stimulate the conversion to sales.
It is also a good idea to work with an orderly customer journey creation process, which includes at least these five phases:
- Define the objectives. Before we get down to work, we have to see what we want to map the consumer journey for and what is the most appropriate approach. It is necessary to define if we are going to develop a global map or a specific process, with which buyer person we will work and on what product, service or category we are going to focus.
- Specify the different stages of the trip. Each brand and each situation is unique, but these situations can help us guide us: first contact or discovery, consideration of the different options, interactions with the brand, final purchase decision, acquisition and long-term loyalty (repeat purchases and recommendations).
- Reflect on needs and motivations. Here we have to become a bit psychologist and very empathetic to see what the client wants and needs at each point of the journey. To reinforce our intuitions, it is important to turn to data and market research: asking real and potential customers directly can be a great help. We can also do the exercise of literally putting ourselves in the role of customers and pretending that we are looking for information about related products or trying to make an online purchase through our systems.
- Search for emotions. How does the user feel about our brand and their personal situation at different times of the trip? Here we can use adjectives such as happy, dissatisfied, frustrated, restless … or even use a graph that combines the intensity of positive and negative emotions with the timeline to see at first glance the ups and downs of the process.
- Clarify the points of contact and key moments. Thanks to all the previous work, we will already be in a position to see which are these “moments of truth” that determine the conversion to sales and how we can influence them. In particular, we must pay attention to the moments identified as important and that have associated negative emotions: based on them, we can develop a work plan aimed at reducing the churn rate and improving the customer experience. Good trip!