This is the final post in our series on the customer journey, the ever-evolving model of how consumers navigate their relationships with brands. See more here.
These days, a car buyer might have 900 digital interactions before purchasing, including 139 Google searches; 14 video plays; and 69 interactions with a dealer.
Of course, the antiquated standard – the sales funnel – doesn’t account for the technology disruption over the last few decades and how consumer behavior has fundamentally evolved, complete with stops, false starts and pauses. More brands are finding they have a stake in creating lifelong relationships with customers, and those extended lifecycles, complete with twists and turns, are mapping to the customer journey.
With so many options to browse and research products – and so many devices at consumers’ fingertips – it’s clear that a new understanding of consumer behavior has to be as flexible and dynamic as the modern consumer. So Turn has been taking a closer look at a new data-driven model of the customer journey, an evolving framework of how people are using technology today along three major phases: awareness, buying, and advocacy.
The Customer Path Starts with Awareness
How do you hear about new brands? A few years ago it was probably through TV, a billboard, print ad, or the radio. In 2016, the range of sources includes podcasts, video, and social media.
This variety of options means that brands no longer have to reach everyone, they just need to reach the right people at scale. For example, Blue Apron, a four-year-old company that ships cooking ingredients and recipes to time-crunched gourmands, employed a combination of media, including podcast sponsorships and social networks to build its brand. As a result, the brand’s awareness isn’t high in general, but it’s high with just the type of people who would use the service.
Others can learn from this model. Thanks to data and technology, marketers no longer have to blast messages at people who aren’t likely to be interested in their product or service; they can cherry-pick likely prospects and engage them with messaging that shows they understand them.
The Journey Doesn’t End with ‘Buy’
Once the consumer is aware of your product, what actually pushes them to buy? These days, consumers signal interest via searches. If you are searching for a snowboard, then chances are you are in the market for one.
The best way to move a consumer from interest to action is to keep their purchase intent top of mind, at the right decision moments. That consumer who searched for snowboards, for instance, would be reminded of the product every time he saw a retargeting ad for snowboards on desktop or mobile at the right time in their journey.
By fanning the flames of desire, the consumer will eventually be led to a moment of truth where he either decides to buy, put it off or forget about it. When it’s clear that the consumer is still interested (he might express it by interacting with one of the ads), then it’s time to serve up an ad that offers a coupon, sale or some other incentive to buy now. The progression of messaging is rooted in data and observations of which triggers are most effective.
Creating a Lasting Bond
As reliance on the Net Promoter Score shows, advocacy is at the heart of brand strength. Brands can foster the bond with customers by offering special incentives (like early peeks at new products) or just attention (in the form of retweets or shout outs in social media). Highly vocal “super fans” may be the minority, but they are often key to the consumer decision-making process. In a 2015 Nielsen survey, 66% of respondents said they trusted consumer opinions posted online.
The value of data can’t be overestimated in the advocacy stage. It helps marketers understand the complexity of their audiences, creating better experiences across the customer journey. Nearly half of marketers say data analytics will have a dramatic impact on the customer experience within the next two years, according to a Forbes survey. And with improved experiences comes customer loyalty.
If done right, bonding with the customer will loop back to the beginning of the journey for additional helpful, meaningful brand interactions. With every new device or innovation, customers will adapt, offering new opportunities for marketers to connect and enrich their path to purchase.
For more on digital marketing driven by insights, see the latest blog post from our CEO.
Founded in 2005, Amobee is an advertising platform that understands how people consume content. Our goal is to optimize outcomes for advertisers and media companies, while providing a better consumer experience. Through our platform, we help customers further their audience development, optimize their cross channel performance across all TV, connected TV, and digital media, and drive new customer growth through detailed analytics and reporting. Amobee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singtel, one of the largest communications technology companies in the world.
If you’re curious to learn more, watch the on-demand demo or take a deep dive into our Research & Insights section where you can find recent webinars on-demand, media plan insights & activation templates, and more data-driven content. If you’re ready to take the next step into a sustainable, consumer-first advertising future, contact us today.
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