Marketing during tough times requires deliberation. When the market has been bolstered and cash flow is abundant, customers are happy for you to sell them things. When consumer cash flow is leaned out, however, we must take a more value-focused approach. You can’t simply tell customers what the product does and how valuable that is.
Building A Buyer’s Journey
A Buyer’s journey is the path we lead prospects down to convert them into first-time buyers.
A buyer’s journey, usually referred to as the pre-sale journey, has to outline your prospect’s preferences. It’s common to forget or shy away from entertainment value when you’re building a strategy to hook decision-makers—whether that’s at the household level or in other businesses.
Entertainment is, however, one of the easiest ways to stand out—as people, we all benefit from a good laugh or relatable content that makes us smile, especially when things are tough.
Our job as marketers is to identify our customers’ needs, address their needs meaningfully, and then show them how our products and services can improve their life, boost their quality of living, or alleviate stressors. If we don’t take these steps, we will push our audience away. Some popular examples where companies have dropped the ball here include: Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad campaign and Dove’s 2017 diversity campaign.
You can learn a few things from these examples: Your brand can survive a faux pas, as long as you handle it well. Consumers know precisely what brand values they hold dear, and they know in an instant whether your campaign resonates with them.
If you want to build a solid buyer’s journey, start by asking questions.
Regardless of whether you live in a big city, where local events are currently suspended or a more rural area, electronic communication is the main method of interaction in the modern market.
Organizing digital events that you believe will resonate with your target audience is a great way to build authority and expertise while also aggregating valuable data on your target audience—think webinars, podcasts, AMAs on Reddit, and other online events.
Building A Customer Journey
A customer journey is generally easier to bring together than a buyer’s journey. As the name implies, our demographics have already chosen to buy into a product or service. As a marketer, your job is now to keep relating your brand or project to the customer experience (CX.)
As time passes, the customer loses brain connections with your brand.
Nike and Coca-Cola stay relevant through sheer frequency of presence alongside other factors, including positive experience and memory-driven association. Similarly, brands like Camel were able to weather rough times in the Great Depression, market effectively, and solve a problem for their audience—stress. You too can identify problems and build positive customer journey experiences around them.
By keeping these factors in mind, you can ask even better questions as people interact with your brand. Combine questions with social listening to find out how and where customers are interacting. Once you have these “touchpoints,” you can build a strategy to get in front of their eyes at just the right time.
Do not stop at good enough—you want to make their lives better. If you stop walking forward with customers, someone else will come along and take them in another direction.
What Should You Do With Their Information?
Customers in the modern market expect customized marketing. In the last year, Account-based marketing (ABM) and marketing customization have grown massively in demand. Over the last decade, progressing through ‘social selling’ and other short-term strategies has shown time and again that marketers who forget the basics will quickly fall away.
Look to positive examples such as GE for their #InstaWalk campaign to see how you can use curiosity and entertainment to draw in prospects by the pallet. Using customer data for internal targeting can shatter previous sales and conversion records, but mismanaging it can lead to customer churn and negative feedback.
Your Key Takeaways: Make Interactions Count
Customers want to feel heard and known. Simply throwing the right action—be it a discount code, refund, or free trial—at your customers and prospects cannot convert the way that addressing their needs in addition to providing a solution builds a positive service relationship. Positive relationships are the most likely to yield brand advocates and positive reviews.
If you look at customers like a positive review waiting to happen, they will see the dollar signs behind your eyelids and run the other direction. Reach out to us to learn more about making every customer and prospect interaction a positive, customized, relationship-building experience that drives sales, even while we are all stuck at home.