Getting there is half the fun. That's a saying we all know and probably most of us believe it to be absolutely true - even if sometimes (after six hours in a car with the kids) we say it with rueful smiles.
For humans, the journey is an important element in dictating how much we enjoy the objective. The buying journey is something that many marketers are realizing the importance of today. In B2B marketing the customer or buying journey has existed for a long time and in times of a multi-channel and non-lineair shopping behaviour, it is used in B2C marketing increasingly as well.
Can shopping be more fun than a trip to the zoo?
Retail giants understand that the experience is every bit as important as the price point. Their stores are destinations which provide an experience above and beyond just finding the right fishing pole or camping gear. These super stores are filled with features such as aquariums and activities aimed at the family designed to enrich the shopping experience. For many consumers, going to one of these stores is almost the same as a trip to the zoo.
The journey does not have to be physical of course. It increasingly takes place in a virtual environment if that environment is structured in such a way as to be a positive one.
What makes a journey positive to people in a digital world?
Convenience and control lead to conversion
Allowing the consumer to choose his or her time and channel to start, continue or end their journey. Marketers no longer control when and where the interactions between brands and people will take place. That control now lies with the consumer and brands must be accessible when and where the consumer chooses to interact. The web, email, mobile and social are all territories which a consumer may traverse in their journey and brands must be prepared to share the road the consumer chooses to take. Responding to the need of convenience and control through multi-channel strategies with a high degree of personalization and interactive CRM as the centre of a marketing strategy leads to conversion.
Education and not just salesmanship
Consumers no longer want to be told what to think and they are alienated by brands which insist on regarding them as ignorant or naïve. What they want are good answers to valid questions and they want them when they ask them. Just as some stores add value to a real life shopping experience, online retailers can add value to their customer's experience by providing them with information which enhances their brand experience and life in general. Don't tell me what your product does! Tell me what I can do with it! Better yet, show me!
Walk with your customers along their buying journey
Social, the web, email and mobile offer brands the opportunity to accompany consumers in their buying journey. Having the right mix of active consumer-centric corporate culture and an effective marketing automation and integrated interactive CRM approach which facilitates a positive consumer journey will lead to results both you and your customers will be happy with. For your customers it's about the experience, for you about the resulting conversion. Today's customer wants a companion on the journey who they trust is there to help them in their quest and not one who limits the paths they may choose.
Marketers must begin to think as companions on the journey and have a strategy and solution in place so they are there when expected to be by the consumer.
Regardless of the path (channel) the prospect is on, the touch points must be there so whenever a customer reaches out, your hand is there for the grasping. It's the job of a marketer to know the multi-channel preferences of the consumer in a closed loop of interactive CRM and cross-channel campaigns, leading to a continuous improvement of conversion.
Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.
Discover why your business should move to an integrated marketing approach step by step and how.